Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Painting a house with others is a unique experience.  

Richie and I went to the Cities to help Sam and Gretchen paint the outside of their 2-story home this past weekend. God could not have created a more perfect 3 days of sun and clouds and 70 degrees, no wind. Excellent painting weather.

We were all on different sides much of the time, sometimes two of us for a time on one side. (Richie’s fearlessness on the 16-foot extension ladder painting the high peaks saved the whole project…..the rest of us were not “height” people)

What I enjoyed was the solitary nature of the work in what was definitely a group project. There was a gentle peace about the painting. It was you and your thoughts for most of the time. There wasn’t a lot of talking when we shared a side….there didn’t need to be. You have your own paint and brush and designated area and we were all concentrating on getting this job done.

Yet, the camaraderie was tight. If someone yelled “help with the ladder,” someone else immediately got down from his ladder to help. If someone yelled, “help pouring paint,” an aide appeared immediately.  Occasionally, the silence was broken with things like:

“Can you do this tighter space with your smaller hands?”
“Who needs water? I’ll go in for everyone.”
“Can someone turn the Twins Game up on the radio?”

They were wonderful easy-going help-each-other-out kind of days. We were able to finish all but part of the south side and the back side under the deck (the worst job for whoever gets it)!

I had not painted a house since we painted our cabin when Sam was a tyke of about 5 or 6. I had forgotten that it is a true test of muscle strength (which I do not have). Every muscle in my body ached including my feet from ladder standing, but I did what I thought I would never do again. I stood on the third rung of a ladder with no hanging on and balanced my body. That was a victory for my body, whose muscles are ruined by steroids.

We were honored that the kids thought we were both up to the task of two-story painting. Maybe their confidence in us is what made it all so very worthwhile and satisfying.

It was good practice for this summer's job of cabin painting. I was hoping we could put that off for another 20 years or so.

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