Home Improvement


As you may (or may not) remember, a big part of our summer was spent scraping, sanding, repairing, shingling, and (finally) painting our house and garage.

Actually, we’re still not done.  The project took much longer than we naively anticipated.  Maybe we should have known better. 

The summer before – actually the spring and summer before – we’d completely redone the second floor, which included dividing the larger bedroom into two smaller rooms so the kids could each have a room of their own.  We’d never done anything like that before, so of course we had no clue how long it would actually take.  And it took a while.  A long while.  Months.  But, finally, it was finished, and we’re all happy.

This year, back in, oh, March or April, when we were planning this new project, we figured we’d have a crew come in and power wash the house and do some carpentry that needed doing (replacing bits of trim here and there), and then the day after they finished (they anticipated a day and a half of work), we’d start priming and painting.

We figured we’d be done in two weeks.

I’ll wait while you laugh so hard your stomach hurts for the next year. 



We didn’t count on a lot of things.  Like all the other work that would need to be done before we cracked open our first can of primer.  Butt scraping (scraping the bottom of EACH AND EVERY SHINGLE, sanding, LOTS of replacing of bad shingles, not to mention our removing all the clapboards on the front of the house and replacing them with shingles.  There was a lot of work. 

And then there was the weather.  We didn’t take into account that the weather would do whatever it wanted to do, regardless of our desire for moderate, dry temperatures for the duration of our renovation and painting.  And so we got rain, we got horrible heat and humidity.  And the people in the know (in this case, the very knowledgeable men and women at our local Sherwin-Williams store) don’t recommend priming or painting in really humid weather.  Things won’t dry as quickly or as well.  So our plans to prime a side of the house in one day and then slap on two coats of paint (you can put the second coat on after only 4 hours!) the next day were soon scrapped.

Plus, there was that whole going-to-Seattle-for-a-week-and-a-half frivolity we’d planned for early August.  We thought, once we saw that we wouldn’t have things finished by mid-July, that we would CERTAINLY have it all done before hopping on the plane.

Um, no.

Before school starts?


But here we are, nearing the end of September and, finally, nearing the end of this mammoth project.

Paint-wise, I have one last coat of paint to put on the trim in front of the house, and one more coat of paint around the driveway door windows, and then just the two doors.  And then we’ll go around the house touching up the spots here and there where some white dripped on the blue, or vice versa, or something scraped the paint, or whatever. 

It will be so nice to be done.

One of the post-painting projects waiting for us is the rebuilding of the wood pile along one side of the garage.  It was pretty well cleaned out before we started painting, which was nice because otherwise we’d have had to move all the logs out of the way.  So now (soon) we’ll be clearing out the remaining small pieces of wood, leveling off that area, and building a new platform for all the new wood we need to stack and season. 

New wood, you say?  Yes.  Some came from a friend who needed to cut down a dying maple – Bill brought his chainsaw and the truck and brought home some massive chunks of eventual firewood for us.  Right now that’s in the driveway.

And the rest came – just the other day – from the silver maple behind our garage.  Bill had been meaning to cut it down for the past several years, but what with one thing and another, it didn’t happen.  This year, the tree was just too big for Bill and a friend to deal with safely.

So we called in the experts.

They arrived late Thursday afternoon.  Five guys and a cherry picker and some other truck that made a lot of noise but wasn’t needed.  We’d asked them to cut the tree down, remove the thinner leafy branches and leave us the bigger stuff.  The guys backed the cherry picker in, all the way to the driveway, and got to work.

I went upstairs to watch and take pictures.

It was so cool!  And amazingly quick.  I think they were here and gone within 45 minutes.  Really.


This guy was incredible to watch.


He’d swoop in and out of the tree, cleanly slicing through branches with his chainsaw and dropping them to the guys waiting in the yard below.

IMG_6542  IMG_6544

There was a kind of grace to the whole process.  A fluidity and economy of movement.



Julia was impressed, too.


She came into our room to watch. 




I know, this is probably not as exciting to you as it was to me.

And to Julia.

IMG_6552 She went a little bit nutty.


Got the giggles and couldn’t stop laughing.


She didn’t know why, either.

IMG_6555 It made me laugh, and it made her laugh more.

Not a bad thing.

Maybe it was the sound of the chainsaw.










Eventually Bill and both kids (Alex had been doing his homework during most of the excitement) moved to the yard to watch the final cuts to the tree trunk.


And here’s the new, wider, less shady look behind our garage.  Now we don’t have to worry this winter about branches from that tree falling on our neighbor’s shed or our garage.


So here is some of next year’s fire wood.  Bill will saw the logs down and we’ll stack everything along this side of the garage.

And hey, look!  The painting is done here!  Finally!  Well, except for a couple little white areas where Bill had to putty.  We’ll paint those soon. Don’t you worry.



And, finally, the view behind our garage.  All that remains is the stump, and The Guy Who Grinds the Stumps (apparently he wasn’t part of Thursday’s crew) will be back within a few days to do that part.  And then it will all be DONE. 


Well, apart from the sawing.  And stacking.

Oh, it never ends, does it?

One thought on “Timberrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  1. House looks great. Love that blue.

    Good that you used a guy with a lift to do the tree. We had a guy around here do volunteer work for a low income family that fell 10 feet. He was very lucky with just massive pain and bruising.

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