Our 33 year old home needed a complete repaint. We had painters out over the years to paint south and east side. I’d tackled the bits in the front around the brick facia. But a color change and some wood repair were in order.
This wasn’t the first year the birds had hollowed out one of the old knots in the cedar siding to nestle in a hatch of their young. The downy woodpeckers had interrupted my work day last fall and would only fly away to the nearest branches when I leaned out the window and banged on the wood.
This spring brought new visitors. Squirrels leapt from our ash tree to the roof and pried open a bit of the bargeboard to let themselves in. “That’s it!” I declared to my husband, “there are more critters living in our siding than people under this roof.” Finally, I had won the argument.
Diligently I called out three painting contractors, walked the perimeter of the home with them discussing color change, no color change and all that is paint related. The bids came in and, as often is true, there was a fair span in the numbers. The one we chose was the most economical but, perhaps more importantly, they were the only ones who did wood repair in house.
After a bit of a wait (three months- there is a shortage of workers in our fair metropolitan area) Miguel appears as a one man show. He has an extensive collection of aluminum ladders. His supplies and tools are neatly laid out on tarps. And he’s got a little paint splattered radio that belts out classic rock.
Now our house is two story on the street side dropping to two and a half in the back. I’ve been up on a ladder only three quarters of the way up, feeling sway of the rungs as I progress upward, the earie nothingness of being up in the air. Not Miguel. He’s moving up and down those metallic stepper machines. There’s at least three of them leaning against the house at any one time.
It was not always peace and Orlando and Dawn, however. One morning he I could hear the ladder knocking the side of our home as I imagine he was struggling to get the draw cord to extend it upward. “Puta!” he yelled at it more than once. Did I mention he was from Costa Rica?
Much of the time the tunes were drowned out by the pressure washer or the power saw cutting up repair pieces, or the shop vac as he vacuumed up the paint chips from off the landscape rock. The paint sprayer droned away as it coated the whole caulked up, primed over, cedar clapboard encasement. “Twenty-Seven gallons,” he bragged to me, “the wood just kept soaking in the paint!”
The guy was amazing. He was so focused on the task at hand I thought if I interrupted him it might throw his momentum. When he had pretty well wrapped things up he stood back a house away, arms folded, and took in his work from the sidewalk. It did look fantastic.
My brother stopped in from out of town the following week. As he came to the front door, he touched the siding and said, “this is what we need to do, get new siding.” Yes– Miguel had made the whole exterior feel new again.