Year after year we scrub the front porch down in June. This year I decided to be different and do it in May, but it hadn’t worked out. Then everything came together. It was a nice dry day. I had no meetings to attend.
One little problem, Bill had promised to help one of our boys put siding on his house. A minor detail. I have scrubbed the porch down for years all by myself. Well, all by myself as long as somebody helped me move the glider.
Bill moved the furniture before he went off siding. When I got up, I spent some time thinking about scrubbing the porch. Then when I was good and ready, I began to round up the supplies.
By nine o’clock I was on the hill out front looking things over. First I had to scrub the picnic table in the back so I had a clean surface for scrubbing cushions.
I was wondering when I’d drop the hose on the handle so I could get my first personal soaking over with when I dropped the hose on its handle and I got soaked. It eliminated some of the suspense, but I was glad to have it over.
About this time our number three son arrived. He was not dressed for scrubbing with me, so he watched while I did the cushions.
I moved to the porch with the bucket and the hose. I had already swept the winter accumulation of dirt off, so I put on my rubber gloves and began to scrub. I forgot I couldn’t reach the top six inches without the step stool, but I remembered our son could.
“How high can you reach?” I asked him.
“I can reach the ceiling,” he replied.
“Good,” I said as I handed him the scrub brush. “You do the top, then I’ll do the bottom.”
He said okay, and I thought I had pulled a Tom Sawyer on him. But he finished the top, and handed the brush back to me so I could do the bottom.
I really didn’t mind this, but I had just started scrubbing when he began to rinse as I scrubbed.
“That’s enough of that,” I ordered. “You’re just like your Dad.”
He thought it was a compliment.
He stuck with me until most of the scrubbing was done, then he took off to run his errands.
By this time I was thoroughly soaked with water and sweat. My new perm had lost its curl and resembled an Afro haircut. But it didn’t matter. I was going to be home all day.
I spray painted the glider and the grass with white paint. Then I tackled the water meter they put right in front of the porch. It’s an ungainly looking thing. I keep hoping if I paint it dark green people will think it’s some kind of plant, if they notice it at all.
Everything was pretty well finished by around one o’clock, so I went to telephone my earlier helper to tell him it was time to put the furniture back on the porch. I noticed there was a message on the answering machine. It was a reminder I had an important meeting at three o’clock.
Marvelous! I had less than two hours to undo what I had done to myself.
The biggest problem was the white paint blobs on my hands and the green paint streaks up my arms. I couldn’t use paint remover because there wasn’t enough time to redo all my nails.
Well, I made the meeting with fairly curly hair and green and white hands and arms.
And I reaffirmed something I learned a long time ago.
If you just plow ahead like you’re all right and you know what you’re doing, people are inclined to think you do.
Editor’s Note: This column was first published by The Daily Advocate on July 5, 2000.