Fourteen years ago, my wife and I were looking to buy a new home. We were both 48-years-old at the time and our two sons had moved out several years previous. After having already done the “house and yard” thing for 22 years, I was contemplating moving into a condo and putting my feet up on weekends. But my wife went out looking at houses with her realtor sister and called me excitedly at work saying I had to come see the house they had found. I pulled into the driveway and gulped at the big yard with many oak trees. In addition, the house had wooden shingles that would need painting unlike our first house, which was aluminum sided. Argh!
My wife’s enthusiasm for the the house was overwhelming (see postscript below) so I reluctantly agreed that we buy the property, figuring that I still had plenty of gas in the tank at 48 to take care of the house and yard.
I’ve already whined about the huge volume of leaves I must contend with every November because of the oak trees (see here), so today I’ll focus on the chore of painting the house.
The previous owners had the house painted right before we bought it, so it was good to go for several years. I originally planned on painting the house seven years after we moved in, but I procrastinated and after nine years the ol’ shingles were starting to look pretty shabby. As a result, I had to do A LOT of prep work and the very weathered shingles needed two coats of paint. Ach! I painted the front and sides of the house in 2013, but of course I waited until the end September to start, so I ended up painting under the eaves as the cool, early-October rains fell. Not smart. I painted the back of the house the following year, 2014, and took a break from painting the next two years.
I then put together a plan to paint one-quarter of the house every summer, which keeps the prep work to a minimum and the amount of paint needed to one coat. I painted one of the sides and half of the front last year and anticipated painting the rest of the front and the other side this summer. However, I kept pushing it off because I kept thinking I had plenty of time, but after this weekend I realized I was backed into a corner with summer quickly coming to a close. So I requested to work from home in the mornings this past Monday, yesterday, and today (rain is predicted tomorrow and Friday) and work on the house in the afternoons.
Monday was prep work (cleaning, scraping, priming) and it wasn’t that bad because it had only been five years since I last painted that portion. Yesterday, I worked on the trim. I had optimistically planned on completing the trim yesterday, but only got halfway through. It’s very tedious and time consuming painting all of the edges and corners with a brush. Today, I’ll finish the trim and Saturday I’ll paint the big surfaces with a roller.
Some quick lessons:
- Painting isn’t enjoyable to me, but I do appreciate being outside and getting some fresh air. The house is a ranch so I don’t have to use the extension ladder all that much. I had all of the tools so pretty much all I needed to buy was the paint and put in the elbow grease.
- There is some satisfaction in seeing the house looking good after the paint job is complete.
- I do have a responsibility to our neighbors in the tract to keep our house and property well maintained.
- The Bible warns against procrastination. If you keep pushing things off they’ll deteriorate to a point where the effort needed to bring things back around will be overwhelming. This has applications for the temporal, but most importantly, for the spiritual.
“The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.” – Proverbs 20:4
If we neglect our walk with the Lord by putting off reading and studying the Bible, time in prayer, and attending church, our spiritual state will deteriorate. Don’t let that happen to you. I speak from experience. Get right with the Lord and commune with Him every day throughout the day.
Postscript: My wife’s father died in 1961 from a heart attack at the age of 47 when she was only six years old. When we were initially looking at the house, the elderly owners were present, but they nervously told us they had to leave soon for an engagement at a nearby country club. My nosy sister-in-law inquired which club they belonged to and they hesitatingly responded that they had been members of the club down the road for fifty years, which turned out to be the same establishment my wife’s parents had been members of. Come to find out, the two couples had been very good friends and the husband often golfed with my wife’s father. That’s all my wife needed to hear. So our house was previously owned by one of her father’s best friends.