One day a couple of weeks ago we were delighted to receive not one but two letters from our Homeowners Association. Two on the same day. They were writing just to say hi, lookin' good.
They were writing because in one of their panoptical surveillance drive-bys of the subdivision, they decided that our house and yard were failing to meet the design standards put in place to beautify our neighborhood and protect all of our property values. And they knew we would want to be informed of this breach in our covenant with them as soon as possible.
One of the letters directed us to, "Please trim back shrubs/bushes in front of house." Fair enough. We have this giant snowball verbena bush that blooms in early spring, and then goes totally bananas foster with the leafing out. Going crazy and reaching for the sky. Huge bush. I have actually blogged about this thing before, and the difficulties of grooming it due to its position at the edge of a little cliff on the side of our house. I've blogged about it multiple times. It is probably the most blogged-about bush in the county. Except for the Real Housewives of Atlanta. badum-CHING!
Yeah, so the second letter said, in bold type, "Please pressure and/or paint the rusted chimney." I am sure they meant "pressure wash," as that rust stain has ignored my pressure for five years. Our chimney cap had rusted and stained the siding on the chimney underneath it. We had the chimney cap repainted when our roof was replaced this winter, but the stain remained. It's not that we liked the stain, but we have been living with it because one time Matt climbed up on the roof with a bottle of CLR and it was nearly the last thing he did on this earth. Our roof is too steep and the chimney, we decided, was accessible only to God.
So when Matt saw that letter, he had some really heartfelt things to say in response. Very heartfelt and colorful. I listened to him and validated his frustration because it's important to do that in a marriage. Then I went about trying to find someone crazy enough to get up on that roof. And Reader, I found him.
In your neighborhood, do you get handymen and other entrepreneurial types taping flyers to your mailbox to advertise their services? We do, and I think those flyers are a nuisance. They blow everywhere and make litter. But I called one of those guys. His name is John and he came on the double. He seemed undaunted by the immense precariousness involved in the job and quoted me a very reasonable price. Friday morning, bright and early, he set to work pressure washing our entire house and cleaning the chimney.
He was here for twelve hours.
Over the course of the afternoon I progressed from offering him cold drinks to wanting to fix him a hearty meal and tuck him in bed. Dude was working. I was afraid we would break him. I was afraid he would fall to his death. I was afraid he would run out of daylight before he got the chimney cleaned, but as twilight deepened, he was packing up his ladders and the house looked great. The pressure washing is totally one of those things where you don't realize how dirty it was until it's clean. Anyway, this John has gumption and he does everything. I feel that I have found a treasure beyond rubies.
Meanwhile, inside where it's air conditioned, an electrician spent a few hours hanging a chandelier and fixing our smoke detectors and left with twice what I paid John. Message: Kids, learn a trade.
On Friday while this was happening I was like, "Oh, it is so exhausting supervising tradesmen! Swoon!" And Matt was like, "How exactly did they change how you spent your day in any way?" And I had no great answer but men don't really understand these things.
Between my pressure-washed exterior and my new chandelier, I feel like I have a new house. The old house was soiled, but now I have a fresh one! It doesn't take much to make me happy.
Plus, the HOA will be off our backs, because weekend before last, I also purchased a motorized hedge trimmer and made the effort of personally asking Matt to work on the verbena while I was in the mountains. Which he did. And when I got back, we walked outside and I said, "Okay honey, let's talk about your work on the shrubbery. Walk me through your vision." Because there was a big notch cut out of the verbena, like it's missing a tooth, and Matt explained that no human could have reached that spot so he just held the hedge trimmer above his head and cut whatever he could reach. Like a bad haircut, I guess it will grow out. Also his work was free.
Believe it or not, this story could have branched out in several more directions but I know that you are wishing you could throw yourself off my roof right now, so I will close. I hope you had a good weekend and that all of your labors are bearing fruit.