For the past week, I have spent a lot of time in the company of these fine fellows. You see, I am wrapping up my summer with a gala event called painting the house.
Yes. The exterior. Of my two-story home. By hand.
This is a job best left to fathers, college boys, or paid professionals. Sadly, none of the above are on hand to do the job, so it falls to me to make sure it gets done.
Getting a fresh coat of paint on the outside of a house is a lot of work. Involved are lots of big rattly ladders; six-foot extension rollers with massively heavy, paint-soaked rollers; odds and ends of painting paraphernalia lying here, there, and everywhere; and shocking amounts of paint. For my particular home, the task also requires coaxing several massive climbing plants to kindly step away from the wall so I can paint underneath, clearing all the potted plants and patio gear back from the house, and keeping four pets away from the work site. None of this is easy or pretty to manage.
On the plus side, I enjoy painting outside because I have a fair amount of freedom to let the drips fly. It's easy enough to hose down a splattered patio, and at this time of the summer, my plants are too tuckered out from their growing season to be bothered by a few flecks of tan paint. Compared to painting interior walls, where every stray drop is the enemy, painting the exterior of my house is low stress.
This evening, as the setting sun cast a pink glow over my fresh paint, I thought of the mud masons, thatch weavers and brick makers of the world, and realized that we are all in the business of creating protection from the elements. On a cold and rainy afternoon this fall, when I am curled up warm and snug on the couch watching a movie after school, I will be very grateful for that fine exterior latex and the solid layer of protection it creates between my cedar siding and the forces of nature.
And I wished upon a yellow evening star that everyone in this world could have a safe, warm place to call home.