Tuesday, 29 October 2013

On Painting a House...

I can remember my father painting the house when I was a little girl.  Back then, it was considered pretty normal to take care of that kind of maintenance yourself if you had an able bodied guy about the house.  It would never have entered either of my parents minds that my mother would also be out there paint brush in hand - the painting of the house was serious men's business.   I remember climbing fearlessly up the trestles to bring him drinks and sitting up there dangling my legs over the edge keeping him company sometimes, but mostly I remember Dad being irritated about the drudgery and scale of the task and grumbling about the heat as he plodded outside every day...and now many many years later as we paint our own house I can completely understand how he felt.

We have been working on it for 4 months now.  When we started, it was the beginning of an unseasonably wet winter which resulted in wasted equipment hire and precious days of leave lost.  Now it is the middle of a record breaking hot Spring, we don't have the luxury of trestles or cool weather and we are far from finished.  When we began we were flush with misguided enthusiasm.  We actually believed that we would have it done in a month or two.  Oh how I laugh to read that now!  We still have so much more to do and it's the really time consuming fiddly stuff complete with lots of irritating but necessary little repairs.  When we first began we would give ourselves goals - "We'll have this wall done by this afternoon" and "By Monday this will be ready for painting".  Now, we just wearily try to get as much done as we can, when we can - in between running our daughter around to extra curricular activities, social commitments and bad weather.  We have learned that an unexpected repair, a change in the weather, the heat or just being too sore to continue can put paid to any goal that we might come up with.

Progress the last month or so has been especially slow and it is somewhat disheartening at the end of a weekend painting session to realise that all you have managed to achieve is paint a small section of guttering!  Also throwing a spanner in the works is the fact that everything we touch seems to need to be repaired in someway first, and we have had spectacularly bad luck in terms of availability of replacement materials.  Our home is not all that old, but it would seem that it was made of an assortment of oddly sized timbers that simply are not available any more.  If something is needs replacing (and lots of things seem to), we can't just nip out to Bunnings and pick up a replacement board/post/slat.  This makes for lots of swearing at timber yards and difficult and costly decisions that I'd rather we didn't have to make.

People look at us like we are crazy when we tell them how we spent our weekend (usually up a ladder, covered in paint) and I can understand their reasoning.  It is a VERY big job and more labour intensive than I had ever imagined, but at the same time everyone but the very wealthy or the infirm used to do this themselves once.  Perhaps we have become a bit lazy in recent years and so used to outsourcing every unpleasant task that it's unthinkable to do otherwise.

To be perfectly truthful, our reasoning behind tackling this ourselves is not through choice, but  financial necessity.  Our house is not large by modern standards but it is very high.  We would need to pay for scaffolding to have it painted by someone else.  Also it has a lot of fiddly bits - verandahs, gables, finials and battens that take a surprisingly amount of time to paint.  It would cost an absolute bomb to pay a professional to paint it.  The money we save will go a long way towards updating other parts of the house that need some TLC.

All the same though, I cannot wait until this task is done!  It feels as though we have been painting the house forever.

No comments:

Post a Comment