Amanda and I are still recovering on Monday morning, but our marathon painting work in the pole barn is more or less complete.
We started Thursday afternoon. Amanda had already selected our colors, ceiling white for the ceiling and a light taupe for the walls called Elmira White. We got two formulations of the Elmira White, one gallon with mildew resistance and a pearl finish for the bathroom and three gallons with a flat finish for the rest of the apartment. We splurged on the paint and got the really good stuff so we could skip the step of priming the walls, but we did get enough primer to prepare the ceiling.
I cut in the ceiling closet, the big room of the apartment, and the little bathroom with primer (basically painting with a brush the areas where we knew the roller couldn’t go). While I was doing this Amanda laboriously cleaned around each of our casement windows. We were able to get a coat of primer on everything but the bathroom by Thursday night. On the way to Mama’s house we stopped off at the Montgomery Lowe’s and picked out our wood flooring, Bruce Lock & Fold Natural Oak. Friday, we finished with the primer in the bathroom and then started in with the ceiling white paint. Amanda doesn’t like using an extension on the roller, so she was climbing up and down the ladder each time she needed more paint on her roller (we had no way to mount the roller pan on the ladder). She was moving more slowly than her husband wanted. So while she made a run to town to pick up lunch and the mail, I took over with the roller and the extension and started moving more quickly. When Amanda left, she had covered about 1/8 of the apartment ceiling. By the time she returned it was almost covered.
After finishing the first coat of ceiling white, we drove 1-Ho into Wetumpka to the Lowe’s store to pick up the flooring we had selected earlier. I had calculated that we should start with 34 boxes to cover the closet, the apartment, and the bathroom. We picked up everything the Lowe’s Wetumpka store had, 28 boxes. They were kind enough to stack it on two pallets for us and stacked the pallets on top of each other in 1-Ho’s bay. It was fascinating – and a little pitiful – watching poor 1-Ho bend down under the weight as the flooring went in. We also bought 7 rolls of premium underlayment.
After strapping our treasure in, we drove straight back to the farm, talking as we drove about what kind of mailbox to put up. We agree that it needs to be a slightly oversized metal box on one of those simple treated 4 X 4 stands, but we haven’t decided yet how to attach the numbers. When we arrived at the farm about 5:00, I used Tractor to pull the pallets of flooring off one at a time. While I did that, Amanda got started cutting in the second coat of ceiling white. We poured it on and finished that night the second coat of ceiling white in the closet, the big room, and the bathroom.
You don’t get much more tired than we felt Friday night. Normally we knock off and head to Mama’s house by 6:30 or so, but Friday we were working until nearly 8:00. Our knees were stiff from standing on the concrete too long, we were covered in flecks of paint, and on top of that Amanda said I smelled like my hat. She was referring to the broad-brimmed hat I use when I work outside. You can’t wash it, so it really does stink mightily with the ripe essence of Lee. Learning that the woman I love thought my whole body smelled like that hat was a cruel blow, a brutal exclamation point on a debilitating day.
Fortunately, a shower and a great night’s sleep can work wonders. Both of us felt much better Saturday morning. I was up early and waiting outside the Montgomery Lowe’s when they opened at 6:00 so I could pick up the remaining six boxes of flooring, as well as caulk and a couple of extra roller covers. We headed to the farm unsure whether we could finish the painting job that day, because it would require two complete coats of Elmira White on everything. I started by caulking the windows, and Amanda carefully wiped down the walls and scraped a couple of rough spots. She then started rolling the walls (moving in her meticulous and thorough fashion). I applied blue tape to the ceiling where it met the walls and cut in the top strip of the walls. By the time I finished that, the caulk had dried on the windows, so I cut in the windows while Amanda kept up her rolling.
Midway through Amanda’s journey around the room, we figured out that we were short a gallon of the Elmira White and would not have enough for two coats. Fortunately, God looks out for children and old men. Because Amanda had been so meticulous and thorough, and because we had splurged and purchased the good stuff, we realized we really didn’t need but one coat with some touch-up here and there. I cut in and rolled the bathroom while Amanda cleaned up after our mess.
She had worn flip-flops the whole weekend, but I wore my farm boots, and because I stayed wet as the designated brush and roller cleaner, I had constantly tracked mud into the apartment. Amanda swept the floor everywhere, once again cleaning up any patches on the floor that might have enough dimension to interfere with the wood installation.
We finished up by marking the square on the floor where our friend Scott Ruppert will install the tile under the wood stove, and bringing in the tile so it will be ready for him next week. It was 7:30 by the time we left and 9:30 by the time we made it home, but this time we felt elated, knowing we have passed another milestone on our gentle journey toward life as farmers.