A Job Well Done
My husband, Jim, is a wonder. He spent last summer and this summer painting the soffit, fascia, windows & trim on our house.
What’s the big deal, right? Break out the step ladder, a bit of paint, a bit of caulking, and you’re done. Easy-peasy.
You’re probably wondering what took him so long.
Perhaps I should be more specific. Jim spent his time high in the air in the basket of a JLG lift — scraping, repairing, priming, caulking, and painting the acres of soffit, fascia, corbels, windows & trim on our 1879 brick house. Did I mention that there are FIVE colors of paint?
And now he can spread his arms, smile, and say, “TA-DA!!!”
Last summer he worked on the house from Memorial Day until late autumn. He worked on the west side of the house in last summer’s 90+ degree days. He battled rogue pine branches. He was constantly berated by angry squirrels who did not welcome him as a guest in their trees. He battled wasps and hornets. He definitely battled discomfort. After spending a hot day wearing a respirator while scraping flaking paint, he would come down from his aerie covered in paint chips, looking like some sort of abstract mosaic of sweaty art. It must have been discouraging to know he’d have to do it all again the next day… and the next. I’m sure there were times he felt like Sysiphus, pushing that rock up the hill every day only to face the same challenge the next morning.
But he kept at it.
Once the repairs were finished in a section, he began laying in the colors.
Sherwin Williams Travertine (neutral) for the base. Sherwin Williams Rookwood Red for the corbels and window frames, Rookwood Shutter Green and Rookwood Sash Green for contrast to offset the Travertine, and Rookwood Terra Cotta for the accents. He painted everything as if it were at ground level where folks could see how crisp and clean his lines were. He used countless tubes of caulking to seal any gaps, and more than 20 gallons of paint and primer to make it beautiful. The painting was all done with a brush. No rollers, no sprayers. All by hand.
Our neighbors who have watched the transformation slowly take place are quite excited to see Jim coming to the end of this project. Not because they’re tired of the mess, but because they are genuinely happy to see the house blossom under his hand. One friend told Jim, “You’ve turned it from a house into a landmark.” I can’t think of any finer compliment than that.
I’m sure they are also happy the job was Jim’s and not theirs. I know I am. I was responsible for encouragement, lots and lots of encouragement. And keeping the fridge stocked with Gatorade. And Freezepops.
When we bought this house the trim was all one color. We understand why. The last time it had been painted was 1993, and that poor guy did a lot of ladder climbing with his buckets of Sherwin Williams paint. I’m sure no one expected that paint to last as long as it did. It certainly outlasted its warranty.
Jim is encouraged that the previous paint lasted 23 years. He figures he’ll only have to do this one time. If this paint lasts 20 years or more, someone else will be responsible for going up & painting it the next time. He’ll be more than happy to hand over the painting supplies to the next guy.
They’ll have to provide their own lift, though.
And — before you ask — the answer is a resounding “NO!”
No, he is not available to paint your house. Or your neighbor’s house. Or anyone’s house. He’s hanging up his paint brush after this one.
He already has a new project in the wings. No paint brush required. Maybe just a bit of gasoline and the open road… and the Brick House on Main Bed & Breakfast logo to replace the old graphics on the door of his new baby…
A postscript to the story... I asked a friend what it would cost to rent her extra garage so Jim's new baby would have a winter home. After thinking about it she approached Jim and told him she knew what she wanted to charge. "As long as it's not painting, it's okay with me!" was Jim's reply. She laughed & began walking away. The rent? She wanted him to paint her garage doors & trim. A few weeks and a couple of gallons of paint, and her doors look like new.
Okay. NOW he's hanging up his paint brush.