Thursday, March 14, 2013

Week Ninety-nine - Scaffolding......

"I need to buy some scaffolding."

I have noticed that when a middle-aged woman in a pink coat addresses such a comment to a man in an Orange Apron, the first thing he does is look around for The Hubby.  When I am with The Hubby, all further conversation is addressed to him.  When The Hubby makes the request, no one even looks at the middle-aged woman.  But, hey, I needed scaffolding, and a little overt sexism is not going to ruin my day. 

Some time ago a tenant damaged the wall in the stairwell and patched it - badly.  The walls there are none too pretty anyway - someone else put textured paint on the ceiling and the opposite wall, but left the inside wall flat, likely because the banister is in the way of such a project on that side.  The patch is nearly 15 inches across, and very bumpy.  I assumed that they punched a sizable hole in the wall moving something up or down the stairs.  Since we are painting, I decided to flatten out the bump.

Ah, you say, THAT's why you need scaffolding.  Painting a stairwell is very, very difficult. 

True.  But you are clearly unaware of my ninja-level skills with a paintbrush duct taped to a broomstick.  I've done this before with my feet firmly on the ground. 

No, the problem arose from the bad patch job.  I tried to sand the bad plaster, but it turned out NOT to be plaster, but rather something like bathtub caulk that seriously refused to be sanded.  Turning to my handy-dandy scraper, I discovered that this large collection of whatever-the-heck it was was attached to about four layers of painted wallpaper. It peeled off rather easily.  And then I made the odd discovery that there was NO hole in the wall. 

I'll be darned if I can figure out why, exactly, there was a 15 inch lump of bathtub caulk attached to the wall.  And I'll be double-darned if I'll leave what is now a 20 inch low spot with ragged edges where there used to be wallpaper 1/8th of an inch thick.  So I kept scraping until my arms were tired, as far up as I could reach.  And then I realized that I have a POWER tool for this.

A couple of years ago I bought myself (yes, and that got the guy in the Orange Apron a little disconcerted also)  a saw.  And not just any saw.  It's an oscillating saw.  They're little, but they are mighty.  I've been the envy of many a teammate on our mission trips because this baby can cut into corners, it can sand, it can cut ceramic tile - it generally rocks.  And it has a scraper blade!  But the saw cannot make me taller, and it can't be attached to a broomstick like a paintbrush can.

So I needed scaffolding.  I thought maybe renting would be good, but the Orange Apron guys don't do tool rental.  So I looked at some ladders that are designed to be used on uneven surfaces like stairs, and bought one. 

Then I realized something.  I no longer have a minivan, and although I have a lot of respect for the roominess of the Accord's trunk, I wasn't sure that a 24 foot ladder (collapsed to about six feet) would in any wise fit into the vehicle.  But by this time the Orange Apron guy is on board.  He's a little psyched to be helping the lady in the pink coat get a spare scraper blade for her way-cool saw, and he's up for figuring out how to make this all work.  And he's the one who discovered what I would have already known if I had glanced at the owner's manual - the rear seat folds down and extends the trunk space into the cab.  A seven-footer wouldn't have made it, but the trunk closed, no problem, over the six foot ladder.

Hubby was impressed.  He likes a good tool, and this ladder is a great tool.  The wall is scraped to the ceiling, save a bit of dry paper that needs to be sprayed with water and scraped by hand.  We'll be ready to paint a smooth wall by Saturday.  Provided, of course, that I can still lift my arms.

This is what I can accomplish when CHOP cancels a test.


1 comment:

  1. This might be a new career for you if you ever need one!!! I would like to hear more about that neat tool you have.