Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Sky High Skylights

Well my painting project got off to a rocky start. 

The ceilings in the house at the country estate need painting badly.  So obviously that has to be done before tackling the walls.

I decided that the best place to start was with the skylights, of which there are four.  Four tall skylights.  I'm tall, but they are really, really tall.  Sky high, or so it seems when you are teetering up on a ladder, in a narrow passageway with hot sun beaming on your head, and the treetops visible through the skylight (if you are brave enough to open your eyes!).

After breakfast I asked Chuckles if he could help me, so he got the extension ladder from the garage and set it up in the foyer skylight, the lowest of the four.  Good place to begin.  He showed me how to work the ladder, where to set the rung so it was secure, and how to test it before ascending. 

Ready to paint the first of the four skylights! 

It took me a while to figure out which parts to paint by hand, what I could reach with the roller from the ladder and what I could reach with the roller attached to a pole and to overcome my fear that the ladder was going to slip out from under me.  Okay - I never overcame that fear.  I just persevered through it.  Unfortunately, on one of the skylight walls, a bit of the popcorn ceiling peeled off when I used the roller on it, but I was able to paint over the spot with the brush and it looks fine.

After an hour, I was done, and moved the whole process into the master bedroom, where the roof is higher, hence, so is the skylight.  Gulp. 

I set up the ladder.  Positioned the rung correctly.  Tested it for non-slip.  Climbed up with my paint pot in one hand and brush in the other.  Was unable to reach the very edge of the glass without climbing higher.  Could not make myself do it.  Climbed down and gave myself a good talking to. 
Didn't work.  Chuckles came in the house, so I told him I was nervous about climbing higher on the ladder.  He climbed to the top, pronounced it safe, went back outside and started up the lawn tractor. 

I can honestly say I hated him in that moment.

Following his lead, I climbed to the step I needed to be on to reach the edge of the glass.  I was actually wimpering.  I was up there, but paralyzed, I couldn't dip into my paint pot and begin.  I climbed back down to assess the situation.  It occurred to me that I needed to free up one hand to be able to hold onto the ladder, that would help.  So, I jury-rigged a bucket tied to the ladder to put my paint pot in, which meant every time I needed to dip my brush I had to go down two rungs, dip, then back up two rungs, paint.  But it worked.  And that was just to get the hand painting done around the edge and down the seams.  Then I used the roller from a lower rung.  However, even more popcorn texture peeled off in this skylight, so it took more work to repair/disguise it.

An hour and a bit later, I moved the entire production into the main bath where the going got tricky.  The skylight is over the bathtup, so I had to finagle the ladder around tub and toilet, as well as covering all kinds of uneven surfaces with drop cloths.  Finally done with that, and knowing that this skylight was even higher than the bedroom skylight, I decided to give myself a break and start with the roller rather than the hand painting.  I hoped I would be able to get so close to the top with the roller that I might not even need to hand paint!  But disaster struck.  First swipe with the roller peeled off a whole bunch of popcorn texture. 

It's hard to see, but the popcorn texture is all peeled off above the ladder.

At which point I packed it in.  I just had to walk away, and it was lunchtime.  Over lunch I told Chuckles how frustrated I was and how I had really wanted his help.  He was surprised!  He thought I had wanted to do this myself.  So I clarified my position.  I am good with the walls, even the regular height ceilings.  But I am no sky high skylight painter.  No sir.

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