Archive for Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Cat’s Eye: Working on a weather deadline

November 1, 2006

I have a recurring dream.

Men in a large truck turn in my driveway. They greet me with a big smile when I open the door and say, "Ma'am, we at the Last Forever Siding Company want to use your sorry looking house for our next promotion. We will reduce our usual price of a bajillion and two dollars to a mere 50 and some change. That's right, Ma'am, your entire house sided by us for only 50 bucks."

And that's when I do back flips across the lawn singing the "Hallelujah" chorus until I get a pain in my neck that wakes me up.

And that's when I realize that the pain in my neck (and shoulder and arm) is not from an outdoor gymnastic routine, but from the tedium of scraping paint on the side of my house. It's a task that never seems to end.

I've been convinced two or three times that I was all finished with the scraping part and could move on to priming. But then I see a spot that seems to scream, "Scrape me! Scrape me!"

So I lift my scraper to the spot and peel off a piece the size of quarter.

But it doesn't end there. Oh no, that's just the beginning. Two and a half hours later, my eyes are crossing, my arm feels like a noodle, and I'm mumbling, "Just walk away. Just turn and walk away."

What makes this task particularly annoying is that I already did this just a few short years ago. One gets the idea that the paint companies have been hired by the vinyl siding companies to do their advertising for them. And believe me there isn't any better advertising for vinyl siding than doing your own paint scraping, priming, and painting. And if I had a bajillion and two dollars, I'd have the Last Forever Siding Company out here in a heartbeat. But since I barely have a spare fifty, it's scrape, scrape, scrape.

Maybe the problem is that I didn't scrape it well enough the first time I painted. I thought I only needed to scrape off what would come off easily, but the other sides of the house were scraped by teens that powered all the old paint off with sheer testosterone. And their sides aren't peeling.

But this then is the dilemma -- how much is enough? If I have to power it all off, I'll be scraping way past my before-it-freezes deadline. And if I force myself to stop, will I be doing it all again in four years?

I'm probably being punished for the peeling paint on the study hall wall that I just couldn't resist picking at. A spot that started out the size of a nickel, ended up the size of a dinner plate by the end of seventh grade. I'm sorry, Mr. Jones--please let me out of paint-scraping hell!

I suppose another way to look at it is that I'm out in the sunshine enjoying the last of the year's nice weather. At least that's what people tell me when I complain. However, I'm pretty sure I could come up with other things to do outside to enjoy the weather.

Let's see, there's the branches that need to be hauled to the wood pile and the fence that needs fixed because it was broken by said branches when they came down in a wind storm. There's the manure pile that needs spread and last year's hay that needs moved to make room for new. There's the trees that need cut out of the windbreak and -- Who am I kidding? With alternatives like that, I may as well be scraping paint!

Well, at least I'm keeping my biceps, triceps or whatever-ceps in shape. Of course, my right arm is going to look like Popeye and my left like Betty Spaghetti. I guess I'll have to move those hay bales with just my left.

I'll get right on it after this infernal paint job is done. Scrape, scrape, scrape.

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