Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - Oct. 3, 2002

Just a simple weekend project

I decided to surprise Art by painting the entryway of our split-level house while he was gone.

"It's such a small area, it shouldn't take long," I thought.

I began the preparation work Thursday night, and I quickly remembered how I hate that more than the project itself. But I was determined to get this off my to-do list. I took pictures down, pulled nails from the walls, removed the hand railings along the steps, and took off switch and outlet plates. The girls help me move a small cabinet to the basement.

On Friday night, I put masking tape along the door trim and floorboards and also along the edges of the carpet on the steps. I collected all the required items - spackling compound, putty knife, sandpaper, paint rollers, paint pan, brushes, edgers, old sheets to be used as drop cloths, and a paint stirrer. I located a couple of gallons of paint left over from when we painted the living and dining rooms. Then I spackled cracks.

"There, all ready," I said. "The rest should be easy."

Since the entry ceiling is 12 feet high, I had called a rental place to see what they might have to help me reach the tall spots. They suggested an articulating ladder. I decided to go by Saturday and take a look as I'd never heard of such a thing.

When the two guys at the rental place struggled to open the ladder to show how easy it was to use, I decided that piece of equipment wasn't for me - especially when one of them said, "Hey, I think we have it upside down."

I opted for interior scaffolding. It seemed simple enough - two heavy-duty metal end pieces that looked like the framework of a playground jungle gym, two "arms" that locked the end pieces in place, and a wood-covered metal plank that fit on top. I figured between the two girls and me, we'd handle it just fine.

We set the scaffolding up, not letting the "Failure to follow these instructions may result in platform collapse, causing serious injury or death" warning label deter us.

But the scaffolding barely cleared the walls. We had to bend like contortionists to get inside the rungs of the end pieces if we wanted to go up or down the steps connecting to the entry landing. I decided Sunday was soon enough to begin painting.

Early Sunday, I put the drop cloths down, got my roller and brush ready, stirred the paint and poured it into the pan. As I climbed onto the scaffolding, I thought, "A bit scary, but I can do this."

I quickly discovered the paint roller wasn't long enough to reach as high as I needed, so I duct-taped the roller handle to the wooden extension of my lambswool duster - the one that reaches cobwebs in high corners.

"I am SO good," I thought.

Then I realized that the roller wouldn't reach all the way into the crevices near the ceiling, so I took the duster handle and duct-taped a small brush to it. It looked a little strange to have a paintbrush on one end and a fluffy duster on the other, but it worked!

When Katie got up and saw my inventions, she thought they were cool. When Mariya rolled out of bed and came out to see what I was doing, she laughed.

"Mom, you're so cute!" she said.

Both girls pitched in and by day's end, most of the painting was done. Then all we had to do was clean paint brushes and rollers, peel off masking tape, put switch and outlet plates back on, re-attach the railings, wash drop cloths and paint-spattered clothes, and hang pictures back on the walls! Our "simple" weekend project was complete!

Painting the entryway

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