Tuesday, July 3, 2007


This weekend was our biggest work party ever. We kicked it off with a lovely Friday dinner of tortellini soup and two kinds of pie, courtesy of my mom. Saturday morning we leapt out of bed, took a group outing to the farmers market, and buckled down to it. While John, his dad, my dad and my brother Seth worked on the ditch and heat line project, the rest of us chickens were up to a different task: scraping all the window and door trim around the house. Both our moms, John's sister Sarah and Seth's girlfriend Tammy made like ants--an army, crawling over the house with scrapers and pliers.

It was no small job, but with so many people it went fast. There were tons of staples to be pulled out of the trim on the back porch--looks like someone was trying to keep plastic sheeting up on those windows, which we know from experience is basically futile. Saturday morning, John's mom started worked on them with pliers and Sarah and I scraped. I hated to spend too much time scraping that back porch since we'd like to tear the whole thing off anyway, but of course that will not happen this year. And the bank says: paint the trim.

As we worked on this, my mom fired up the weed-whacker (am I spelling that right?) and trimmed up our whole yard. She's a pro at this and has a whole suit that she wears: ear protection, goggles, long pants. She even trimmed up the path from our yard down to the creek, which is currently lined with wineberry bushes that produce a scandalous amount of berries. Then she got out the loppers and cut down some of our more egregious volunteer trees near the house. I warned her away from the yellowjacket nest I discovered last week with the mower. (Just one sting.)

Scraping, scraping, scraping: we kept at it. Paint chips flew. Sarah and her mom were total troopers with the tedious job. Honestly, much of Saturday is a blur for me, until the part where we stopped working and had margaritas.

My dad arrived in time for dinner: chicken grilled on the fire pit, pasta salad. We ate at our picnic table--must have been 10:30 at least--and laughed and finished off with more pie. These are good times. We sat around the fire and wondered when Seth and Tammy would get in (they had to leave late from Pittsburgh) and eventually staggered off to bed.

Sunday: eggs, toast, fruit on the picnic table. Nice clear weather. Tammy's car in the driveway, she and Seth ensconced in the tent and probably having trouble sleeping through all our morning chatter. We heard they'd gotten in at 2:30 and then sat up for a while around the fire. After a while they crawled out, I forced a house tour on them, and then they bravely volunteered to help.

All the women scraped and scraped and scraped: more scraping: we kept scraping. And finally we also started painting! Just the primer, but it made a big difference in looks. Ladders and paint poured into empty cat-food cans and various brushes and gnats flying around some of the windows. My mom and I worked together on the south side of the house while Sarah and Tammy did the porch ceiling, leaving a corner untouched where the phoebes are currently raising a family. (Of phoeblets, of course.)

Got all the windows on the first floor scraped and painted except for two near where the ditch project was underway. Wow! What a beautiful illustration of "many hands make short work," or however that saying goes. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the hardworking Ladies of Trim.

That night's dinner was an absolute feast, made by John's mom, of stuffed mushrooms, chicken and eggplant parmesan, spaghetti with homemade sauce, salad and bread, plus champagne. Beautiful. And, for dessert we had a mesmerizing fire-spinning show from Tammy! Seth stood by with an asbestos blanket just in case, but she gave a flawless performance and impressed the pants off everybody.

Dish-doing, fire-sitting, moon-looking.

- Erika

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