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Yesterday’s blustery and wet weather was enough to make me want to shriek, “Retreat!” and not come out of my snug little farmhouse until the groundhog living in the barn came out, promising spring.  I made the best I could out of the day since there was no way I was going to venture into the near-freezing rain, complimented by high, gusty winds to try and complete the siding.  Instead, I stayed in and cleaned the neglected house.  Everybody took a bath, all of the sheets and towels and mounds of dirty clothes got washed and most of them got put away again.  I vacuumed every inch of carpet and scrubbed floors and counter tops once they were clutter-free.

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It’s not that I’ve been lazy.  Au contraire.  The problem is that I’ve probably been too busy.  Every spare hour I had was spent trying to finish the siding before the chilly weather became absolute.

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005-5572646For some reason, once I finished the front, I decided to pick the largest side of our home to do next.  I literally thought I’ve have it done in two days, tops.  Oh, Rachael.  Don’t you remember that nothing seems to ever go according to your plan?

So, first thing’s first.  I peeled off the old siding as high as I could with a step ladder and started from there.  On the ground, the work went fairly quickly.  I wrapped the front porch with a fresh layer of polystyrene insulation and house wrap and locked the siding together before hammering it to the house.

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018-5060940It was evident though that eventually I’d have to be scaling ladders to get to where I needed to work.  For a while, our light yet limber aluminum ladder got the job done.  However, when extended as close to as far as it would, I felt like I might as well have been climbing a ladder made of wet noodles.  My heart would race with every breeze that trickled by the house, causing me to clench the rungs for dear life, only to make the ladder shake more violently.

When it came time to use the fiberglass ladder, I innocently breathed a sigh of relief.  Somehow I figured since it was heavier, I’d feel safer atop it because it wouldn’t wobble.  Oh, Rachael!  That fiberglass  ladder wasn’t even slightly better.  When extended, it jiggled just as much and I was twice as high up.  To top it off, lifting a twelve foot fiberglass ladder solo made me feel like I might as well have been trying to heave up a giant sequoia tree by myself.  Thankfully I avoided shattering any windows or busting any siding.

I took pictures once in a while so I could comfort myself in the fact that I was making progress, even if it didn’t seem to see it.
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Like the dining room floor, the amount of siding I tore off seemed to have shrunk once I started putting it back on.  I bought a few new pieces of siding , stuffed them into the car and was pleased that they matched up with the old pieces just fine.
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All of the practice I had clambering awkwardly up and down the ladder paid off.  I got to the point that I didn’t feel the need to ground myself to trim pieces and my reach extended a few feet on either side of the ladder.  It was so helpful not struggling to move the fiberglass beast nearly as often.

During my sister and mother’s last visit, I set the goal to finish the east side of the house on Saturday.  What can I say other than I’m an overachiever?  Really, it’s that I don’t like to stop in the middle of something once I’ve got a rhythm going.

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After a near meltdown, complete with crying, I decided to call it quits and go inside and enjoy my visitor’s company.  I coached myself that there would always be another day to work on the house, even if it didn’t come until next year.

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Three weeks after I ripped the first piece of siding off the east, Jack hammered the final nail in place.  He was such a gentleman and finished the peak for me.  Even though I’d stretched my comfort zone, the dizzying height was too much for my green legs.  It made me incredibly happy to see that my hard work had finally paid off.

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Now all that’s left to do on the monstrous east side is to wash it so the old and new pieces blend seamlessly.  Of course, I’ve gotten rather good at putting off cleaning.  That may be a project for spring.

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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