Last month I began again on my never-ending quest to paint Our Olde House; my plan was to finish painting the ceiling of our carport and the front peak of the house before it got too cold to paint this year. I have been tisking about how to do this for many months since both of these areas are very high off the ground.
I thought about using a ladder, but being sixteen feet up on a ladder over concrete in the carport did not make me enthusiastic about tackling that job. So I looked at the front peak of the house, which is about twenty-five feet off the ground at the top and being guarded by a five foot high azalea hedge across the front of the house. Maybe a ladder would work, and maybe the ladder would toss me into the azaleas.
Next I decided a cherry picker would do nicely, you know one of those hydraulic buckets you can safely stand in and move it where you want to paint next, just like those Entergy guys have that are so handy and safe. I realized that my budget was less than any public utility so I went to see what was available to rent. The rental unit trailers are much less flexible than the Entergy trucks; they do not allow side to side movement so I would have to reposition the bucket thing frequently as I painted to the sides. Not perfect.
The rental place also had assemble-yourself scaffolding, similar to an erector set for those of you who remember what that was. All I could picture was a pile of collapsed scaffolding with me in the middle of it, so no. Still not liking the ladder option, I thought maybe I could paint the sixteen foot high carport ceiling by standing in the back of the pickup truck and using an extension stick with a roller. This actually worked quite well, and I had to move the truck only three times. I have not yet finished the few inches of trim around the edges but I will take a 98% finished job for this year.
The azalea hedge was definitely in the way of any ladder option for the front of the house even though I had already cut the hedge away from the house a couple of feet so I could paint up to about ten feet high using a six-foot step ladder. I could not use my extension ladder for the higher parts, even if I wanted to which I did not, because the hedge would have required the base of the ladder to be either too close or too far from the house, something I learned from the three Bears. As luck and God would have it, a large portion of the azalea hedge died, for no apparent reason and no help from me, so Miss Sherry and I took that as a sign to remove the dead part of the hedge and the rest of it at the same time.
I used some of the $50,000 I saved by not buying a cherry picker to buy myself a shiny, new, really long configurable extension ladder. I made the ladder twenty feet long, leaned it against the front of the house and climbed up. Not bad, much more stable than my old extension ladder, but I noticed a red wasp out of the corner of my eye staring intently at me. That was a surprise, not the good kind, so down the ladder I went.
I thought, incorrectly, that I must be smarter than a wasp, or wasps as it turned out, and that I could encourage them to move. I tried plugging their access hole with foam, spraying them with wasp spray which just caused them to fly away and return later I think, and some other measures that were ineffective and too embarrassing to put in writing. So I decided to wait a week or two until it got cold outside, which makes them leave or hibernate or at least stop flying around, and then I would wait for the next warm day to finish painting.
Wrong again. It was cold earlier this month, and I did not see any wasps flying around the front of the house, and it did get warm on the next Saturday, so I decided to climb the ladder and finally finish painting the front peak of the house. As I started to paint on the side of the house farthest from where the wasps were, all was well as I painted both the trim and the house moving up and down the ladder to reach every spot. I repositioned the ladder to the middle of the peak and started back up the ladder confident that I was smarter than a wasp, until I was halfway up and saw a wasp staring at me. I stared back for an instant and he indicated that I was very close to crossing the red wasp line in the sand; enough said.
Back down the ladder. My new plan is that Spring will be here soon, and I can finish painting the peak of the house before the wasps start flying around again next year. I did finish the carport ceiling and I did start to paint the peak of the house, but most importantly I did not fall off the ladder and I did not get stung by a wasp.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (without wasps for a bit) to All y’all.