That’s the question I ask myself every time Andy or I find ourselves working on something that we paid to have done. I know most everyone who builds a house has this same story, but it’s like a healed-over splinter that spontaneously dislodges and brings you a little more pain and anguish to make the day brighter.
A loose faucet here, a missed nail there, hundreds of feet of unsealed porch…
We were in such a time crunch to close on our house, that we basically stood over the contractors shoulders making sure they hit the deadline and as we slid through the finish line, we screamed over our shoulders “Thanks, now get out!”.
Apparently they took us seriously ’cause they haven’t finished the little things they promised to get to.
Like sealing hundreds of feet of South American hardwood on the porches surrounding our house.
I did my homework, researched the products available and even did a test for drying time on a scrap piece of wood. I settled on a tinted sealer, and rummaged through the hastily unpacked painting supply cabinet for all my wares.
I unpacked the power washer and spent 15 minutes hooking all the hoses in the right holes. I attached the deck cleaner to the supply line and began my first pass.
Soapy bubbles, check.
Second and third passes with clean water to rinse off the soap, check.
Two-days drying time, check.
Twenty minutes to sweep off the dirt that dogs and kids tracked onto the clean porch, check.
Forty-five minutes to tape off the house and posts from the deck surface, check.
Ten more minutes replacing tape the dogs jauntily pulled off the house, check.
Sign warning all approaching subjects that the porch was wet, check.
Dogs placed in garage, check.
Dressed in grubbies, roller and brush in hand, sealer stirred and ready, go!
Spring Break is a great time to do this right? Right? I wouldn’t have to take and pick up the kids from school, they could bring me drinks…
I rolled on a little bit of stain with the wool roller suggested by the manufacturer.
How come it isn’t soaking in?
South American hardwood is impervious to most things. Sealer is apparently one of them…
OK…so rolling is out.
I suddenly realize that I will have to hand-brush every board to ensure that the least amount of sealer is used and will dry. I’m pretty sure the builder never thought of this. There is no way he would have ever paid someone to hand-seal the porches.
Which is probably why I’m the schmuck with the brush in my hand.
After one hour, I’m about an eighth of the way done. I want to cry, but I muster on and force myself to focus on one board at a time.
Somewhere between a quarter and a third of the way through, I am painfully reminded that I decided to do this while six kids and four dogs are at my house. I sacrifice the right side of my body to the sealer as I dive in to capture loose dogs. Screaming for the kids at the top of my lungs, I now realize that gigantic tape X’s across the door handle and porch entrance just cause curiosity rather than hindrance in a child’s mind, as all six narrowly miss walking across the newly stained floorboards in an attempt to grab the dogs.
All I can think about in this moment is that my life is like a sitcom.
A show that employs the kind of humor that is only funny because it’s happening to someone else.
After a few more run-ins with dogs, kids, and spontaneous wind gusts…oh, and did I mention 9 1/2 hours of painting on my hands and knees, I finish the job.
So when people ask why I haven’t blogged in awhile, my answer is an honest one.
“I just regained the use of my hands.”
Two hours later…ugh.
7 1/2 hours after that…
If you are interested in a little pain to call your own, I used Cabot’s Australian Timber Oil in Jarrah Brown and a china bristle brush.