Scrape scrape paint paint

Pick up the scraper, paint bucket, caulk gun, ladder. Walk up the driveway. Caulk is quick: push out, drag down, wipe. Let it dry, move on to the window sills. Pick up scraper and start to knock the paint, loosened by rain from a leaking gutter, from the sill.

And I’m back at the farm. I’m about ten or twelve, with my dad and my Pop-pop. We’re doing a workday on the 1857 farmhouse. There’s a porch that needs painting, and fifteen or so cousins and grandkids are there to do it. Gotta get the old cracked paint off first. Scrape, scrape. And when it doesn’t come loose, the heat gun loosens it up. Too close at first: brown mark on 1857 wood. Then the layers come off and the paint can come on.

I’m four sills over and the paint comes loose easily. I prime, paint an already primed frame, then come back and start painting the newly primed wood. 

And I’m on the roof of my dad’s garage. I’m sixteen. It’s summer, probably 95° and so humid you could wring the air. The house is mostly brick but the upper part is white painted vertical boards. I’m working on a section between the garage roofline and the gable. The attic on the other side of the boards is cooled by a fan on a thermostat but still hotter than the outside air. I’ve never been up there. Now I’m on the hot asphalt shingles dripping sweat into my eyes painting, painting. Hard white granules embed themselves into my knees.

In Massachusetts. My hand is sore from holding the brush; I change my grip. The shingles on the siding are old, maybe dating back to 1941. They can last one more winter.

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