Monday, June 25, 2007

A Sunday on high

Sunday dawned grey: not the best news for roof-painting plans. Still, we blindly pushed ahead. Maybe we just couldn't wait to hang out on the chicken ladder. Plus there was the fact that after power-washing, you're supposed to start priming as soon as possible.

Once all the supplies were handed up onto the roof and the ladders were in place, we got down to it: first sweeping dust and debris off the metal (power-washing left some loose bits floating around), then brushing red primer onto the extreme upper-right corner of the rear part of the roof. John took this first shift on the chicken ladder--one of the scarier ones since it was near the edge and the peak. We realized that it would be tough to bring a can of primer up onto that ladder, so we settled on handing the brush back and forth and letting the person at the bottom be the one to load up the brush. Time-consuming, but better than plummeting.

After that I became the chicken-ladder specialist and John worked on the lower sections. We soon settled into a rhythm; primed the seams with the brush and used rollers on the "pans"--I think that's the right term. Yep, it's red all right! We worked our way from right to left, around obstacles of chimney and roof patch. The chicken ladder was tough to move side to side--has to be slid and worked over gradually, since there's no way you can lift it from the bottom with no leverage. I watched John get better at this trick as the day wore on.

The rain held off and we realized the clouds were actually a blessing since when the sun did occasionally peek out, the tin roof becomes blinding! John slopped a ton of primer onto where the metal roof meets the shingles on the screen porch: a leaky transition that will not last too much longer since we want to rip that porch off at the first opportunity.

Four hours and a two and quarter cans of primer later, the back side was done! We had some water, cleaned off our brushes and rollers, and ate some lunch. "Yeah, it looks pretty silly with the blue house," we agreed. Just in time for July 4, our house looks like a flag! (IMPORTANT NOTE! WE ARE GOING TO PAINT THE HOUSE YELLOW!) But taking the red roof on its own terms, it's quite nice.

Just before eating John checked for the fourth and fifth cans of primer we'd need. Here's the fourth...where's the fifth? Uh-oh. We don't have a fifth. We're not gonna finish today.

Well, we'll use up what we have and see how far we get. The front side of the house is the scary side: bigger drop, longer slope, concrete steps for a landing pad. Again, John took the most dangerous part--I chicken-laddered out, ha ha--and then I took it from there. Being on top of the dormer was fun, and that part was really rusty so it felt very good to put a nice coat of latex on there. A few drops of rain; nothing much.

We ended up getting most of this side done too, but we were scraping the bottom of the can and there were still several panels left undone. Tomorrow, tomorrow...

We were beat. Cleaned up the stuff, took a shower, and headed downtown for margaritas and burritos. Came home to lay around and look through all our photos of the renovation so far. (They're not all on the blog, folks--maybe someday we'll publish a "never-before-released" edition.) It's so crazy to look back to when the bathroom was a filthy pit and the trees were bare and our supply room was relatively empty. Things have changed! As we got toward the end of the photos I started to nod off and every time I did, I'd get an adrenaline-laced vision of being at the top of the chicken ladder or right on the edge of the roof. Strange, because I didn't feel nervous when I was actually up there.

It rained hard most of the night. Not optimal for the primer. But the roof is still red.

- Erika

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