Sunday, October 26, 2014

Check. Mark it off the list.

I do ladders.
I don't do ladders.
I do ladders as high as my parents let me.

Winter hands are here.

All it took was a blustery day spent blasting away at the north side of the house with a power washer. Just in time for Halloween, our 1830s farmhouse no longer looks haunted. The faux shutters still look dingy and faded, but the grim algal bloom covering the siding is gone.

Since I don't "do"tall ladders, Jared made the ascent with the washer. Thankfully, the two wasp nests that had been there in the summer were inactive. Now, there's just one active nest, down from a high of six active nests on the house alone (that's excluding the nests discovered in the yard).

I had scrub brush duties, ladder-stabilizing duties, and child duties. Beren immediately wanted the lighter weight but better performing scrub brush. After a few passes with the inferior brush, I offered to trade back. "Mine has a soft handle with a red stripe. Want this one, Beren?" He agreed, but quickly found his new tool unworkable. "It's too heavy!"

I left Jared attached to the ladder, and went inside to find a squeegee and a small scrubber. Beren accepted the squeegee, and I went back to scrubbing. Working in the shadow of the house was chilly and then warm and then hot and then cool in that autumn sort of way.

Beren was happy to climb the 6' ladder right behind me, as I tried scour higher areas. He must have forgotten yesterday's hike when he fell off a rocky bluff and landed squarely on the top of Jared's head. I blame the apple that slipped out of my backpack. As Jared bent to retrieve it, Beren slipped. I screamed, and Jared braced himself, thinking that I was about to fall on his head. Our mountaineering antics were not to be repeated today. "Maybe you could work down lower," I suggested to Beren.

On the job, I alternated between the attitude of "good enough" and "one more spot". Since I dare not go up a ladder more than 6' or 7' tall, I felt it most tactful to tell Jared, "Great job. The house looks great," each time he climbed another rung. The dark smudges by the attic window, well, "we" would get them next time.

"OK, I'm cold, wet, and tired," Jared stated. I replied, "C'mon down. The house looks great. Thanks so much." He descended until I could reach the power washer wand. Jared turned to me. His safety glasses were covered in water. His windbreaker jacket was soaked. His face was red and dripping. "Got it," I said as I grabbed the wand. "Go inside, get changed."

The next time I drive up the mountainside to my house, I will no longer think, "We really have to take care of that siding." Instead, I'll think, "Check. Mark it off the list," and then I'll immediately find another project to take its place.

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