Thirty seven. That’s how many wet painted boards I can stack on the makeshift shelves Clark nailed up for me in the garage.
Priming: that thankless task of applying a layer of paint that will never be seen but will hold tight to the wood and grip the pretty top color too. I’d been instructed that the primer needed to be worked into the wood. So, no spraying. Roll evenly, brush with some scrubbing, repeat endlessly.
My first priming weekend was a torture. Temperatures hovered in the single digits. My small space heater could make it slightly but only within four feet of it’s little grille. I could see my breath as I worked, bundled in grungy layers and old garden gloves. The next day, the quick-dry primer was still tacky so all I would accomplish for the weekend was one side of one set of boards. So half of thirty seven, with hundreds to go.
The next weekend, Clark left me his kerosene heater. It’s like a giant log on wheels that blows masses of warmed air into the room. So much better! But it malfunctioned after about an hour and went out in a cloud of black smoke. I reeked of fumes in my hair, my clothes. That night, soap and water never smelled so good.
Oner the last few weeks, the pile of primed siding has gotten respectably higher. My left arm has been rewarded with tendonitis for all my efforts, but it’s satisfying to see the pile growing steadily. While I work at the repetitive task, I have time to reflect, dream about warmer weather, and ask myself again: what the heck am I doing?