A week in the life of a painter

So work this week was like riding the pipeline down a monster wave, the waves just inches away from wiping you completely out.  Maybe I exaggerate a little, but hey, I love how that sentence sounds.  Work this week was a ride, a hot ride at that.  It didn't start out that way, the waves were small, and it looked like it would be just any normal week.  We only had 4 make ready's to do for the week, so nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  Had some drywall issues in the first apartment so I began with that.  Took the day to finish it, and paint it and off to apartment number two.  It is amazing what state people leave apartments in.  In this particular one I had to do what we call a trash out.  All the trash left behind (including furniture) has to be removed before I can begin the paint process.  So a couple of hours later (you read that right) I was off to painting.  I was still on schedule and on Tuesday things were looking well.

Then Wednesday hit.  And the waves were monsters.  I got in on Wednesday and apartment number 3 needed to be done (trash out, paint, make ready, clean, and carpet clean) by Friday morning.  Apartment number one needed to be carpet cleaned by 4 on Thursday.  So let's do the math as I walked into apartment number 3 and saw the trash out that needed to be done.  A couch, a love seat, a big screen TV, a matress, a head board and a bag of trash.  Add to this trash out that I had to get two, two bedroom apartments painted, two carpet cleanings done and had to help get a air conditioner on the roof (more on that process in a minute) and I was feeling the pressure.  Time management is key because there is no overtime.  So I had 16 hours to complete the tasks above.  I never look at it and say it can't be done, I look at it and say how can I accomplish this.  So here is a time line of sorts of how the next two days went:

8:30 to 9:  Pick up grounds (trash around apartments)
9 to 10:30 Remove all the furniture in apartment 3 (by myself I might add.  Removing couches are actually pretty easy one man if they are not sleepers, this wasn't and the TV rolled, so that made it simpler)
10:30 to 11:  Move my paint supplies from Apartment 2 to Apartment 3 and set up.
11 to 1:  Paint like a mad man.  By 1 I had the kitchen, bath, hallway with closets and one bedroom done.  No small feat, but there are tricks to the trade, and I was pulling many things out of my toolbox.....
1 to 2 is lunch, and I needed it!  Turkey Sandwich and Chips!
2 to 2:30 help with getting an air conditioner on the roof (again, more on that in a minute)
2:30 to 4 finish painting apartment (next bedroom, dining room and living room)
4 to 5 carpet clean apartment number 1
5 to 5:30 clean up

By Wednesday night I'd accomplished half of what I needed.  You can imagine that by now I am sore.  You learn to push your body, ignore aches and pains, and push through to accomplish what you need.

On Thursday, the waves were still big, and then I get into apartment 4 and I have a two bedroom, two bath.  Okay Lord, I said, gotta have your help.  Here is the timeline:

8:30 to 9 pick up grounds.
9-1 paint the apartment.  Living room, dining room, kitchen, hallway, bath #1, bedroom #1.  At this particular time I employed my MP3 player.  I knew I would need it.  It's a blend of Christian and Secular Rock and Dance, it has all upbeat, bass type songs to keep me alert and dancing and painting at the same time.  Oh yeah, I dance in the apartment.  Guitar solos, drum beating, singing into the paint pole like a microphone, it'd make a great youtube video.
1-2 lunch!!!!!  Turkey and Chips again!
2-3 finish bedroom 2 and bathroom 2.  Thank goodness it wasn't an absolute wreck and the trash out was already done!
3-5 carpet clean apartment 2 and apartment 3 and set up machine in apartment 4.
5-5:30 clean up.

So by Thursday night the goal was accomplished with an added carpet clean.  God had provided the necessary strength and endurance.  I was wiped out, literally, but I was looking good.  I try to have all my painting done by Thurday so I can get a jump on the next week if needed and Friday is carpet clean day anyway, but I had 3 out of the way.

Friday looked to be an easy day before the coming 3 day weekend.  Haha.  I did my carpet clean then I had to help get an AC up on the roof again.  You waited patiently for this process, now here it is:

We set up two ladders side by side (we are talking two stories here, we have flat roofs).  We disconnect an old AC and rope it on all sides.  Then with one person up top lowering it with the ropes (the muscle) two people on ladders guide it down (one hand on ladder, one hand on AC).  If you are scared of heights, this is not the place you want to be.  The process taking it up is the same, though usually we are chasing the AC up because the muscle is pulling this thing up fast! 

Well, Friday one of our guys was out.  The new guy was a little shaky on the ladder so it was decided (yes, I had input) that we would try this process two man.  I'm the second strongest guy on the team (what does THAT tell you!).  Well, in a 105 heat index, we set out on our mission.  Getting it down was not a problem, the muscle had a good handle and I used my head and hand to guide.  No shaky ladders, no near disaster, everything went as smooth as it could.

Then we had to bring it up.  This, for the guy on the ladder, is the easiest.  Usually you are just chasing an AC up, nothing heavy about it.  We began getting it up and about halfway it started getting hung on the corner by the rungs.  Placement of the knot on the rope gave it a tendency to pull the bottom up.  So I'd have to, one handed, manuever it to get it to go again.  So instead of gliding, it was one rung at a time.  Heat was not our friend.  About three rungs up we were running out of gas.  I put my arm out to rest the AC from my shoulder to my arm (holding onto the second ladders outer part) and the muscle used his feet to hold the rope to rest his arms.  We were exhausted.  Finally he asked, can you climb up?  Three rungs, yes, so I straddled the roof, grabbed the knot with the muscle and pulled, only to find the AC hung on another rung.  We manuevered the AC, both of us let out a rebel yell and the thing came flying up with the last bit of strength we could muster (thank goodness for adreneline!)  Resting it up at the top, we both let go of the rope and in a rare moment of unabashed honesty I did, quite honestly, let out a few choice words.  Hey, I'm not afraid to admit that there are moments when shoot just doesn't cut it!  We left the AC there, got down and had some water.  I don't think we'll be trying this adventure again!  We are developing a winch to refine this process now.

From Wednesday to Thursday I had pushed my body.  This little episode pushed me that much further.  I was spent.  The muscle and I have the same work ethic, so we both push, and both of us looked at each other like, wow, we just did this.  We both looked like we'd just went 15 rounds, but hey, that frickin AC was up there!  We got back on the roof and carried it over to where it needed to be.  For the rest of the day I had a dry wall patch to fix and put up my paint supplies.  Easy work though I was in and out in the heat.  By 5:30 I was spent and I could feel on the way home the tiredness of the week, the soreness, the aches.  But the jobs that needed to be done were done.

Ginger was proud of me because I got home and took a shower and we went out with her mom, dad, sister, and the 3 kids.  I stayed on the whole night (what this means is that I don't shut down mentally.  I don't act tired, I engage with everyone in conversation, basically don't act like a zombie).  I played with the kids (Rebecca kept saying she was stronger than uncle Paul because she was keeping me from leaning into her hands locked together-everyone looked with mild amusement at those words, and Ginger had a smile that said, if you only knew how strong MY man was....).  We got home and I collapsed on the bed.  By 10 I was out. 

The good news is I woke up at 8, 10 hours of sleep has an amazing affect to heal your body, and I'm not feeling too bad.  Still sore, but I'm not cramping in my muscles because I drank lots and lots of water!  There you go, a day in the life of a painter.  The best thing was I got a call from the muscle.  Encouraging words, and admiration that someone gave just as much as he did.  From that to being with my wife who just looked lovingly at her husband with admiration, well, I'm pretty much the most blessed man alive at the moment.  And the kiss when I got home from work, well, I live for that kiss....


I got some new bandana's!!!!  White, black, and gray camo one and a red to orange to yellow one!  Hey it's the simple things!!!!  Haven't really been wearing bandana's lately, my Longhorn Hat is my head gear of choice right now but you can guess....I'm wearing one now.....

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