Fresh Paint

It seems the longer the chore takes to finish … or the more time I have to think about the work I’m doing … the easier it is to draw a correlation to Life. It happened earlier this summer when I had a lot of protected time on the tractor.

This weekend it happened again over painting. Well, technically it was over pressure washing. The prequel to painting.

The old barn has been many things over its lifetime, including a serial season marker. My first forays upstairs were the summer we got Patches, a rescue Calico meant to be a barn kitty. I spent many hours upstairs, alternating between reading Charlie Brown books to her and roller skating. Of course, once the hay was put up for the year, no more roller skating. Patches only lasted about 4 weeks as a barn kitty before finding her way up to the house, into the house, and staking out her favorite napping nook in the middle of my bed.

It’s been a few years since the barn’s been painted. {sigh} It was time. [Normally I’m a big fan of painting. But the barn’s two stories. And to get to the peaks is a real pain in the neck. Literally, a pain in the neck.] Because it’s been a while, scraping needed to happen. But then I had a brilliant idea.

I’ll say two things about pressure washing: 1. It’s one of my most.favorite.chores.EVER. and, 2. It’s way easier and way more fun than scraping old paint. Okay, three things. I <3 my pressure washer. I use it every chance I get. And sometimes I’ll even make up excuses to break it out.  Love, love, love.Photo Aug 15, 12 47 30 PM

So, Saturday pressure washing day. Let the barn dry out the rest of Saturday, paint on Sunday. The red paint on the east side trim came off like a champ. The red trim on the west side just cleaned up nicely.

Photo Aug 16, 1 06 49 PM

The white paint on the west side, that’s a different story.

Toward the peak of the barn, no problem. Cleaned up as pretty as you please. Toward the lower half of the building, however, it began to bubble and then to flake away.Photo Aug 15, 3 13 03 PM


Perhaps I had the water spray dialed in a little too much. But then, the barn’s only had about 15 layers of paint brushed on over the years; who’s to know what condition the wood is actually in?

And that’s when it struck me how pressure washing to clean the side of a building but ending up blasting away old layers of paint is <wait for it> a metaphor for life.

Sometimes you have to be a little … bold … to reach certain places that need to be cleaned. And what the Safety Committee doesn’t know… The Safety Committee would likely frown on my “creative solution to a challenging problem.” The 11 foot extension pole might pass inspection, but they’d probably freak out at my best monkey impersonation hanging out the second story door to reach the tippy tip of the peak (at least there isn’t any photographic evidence of that).Photo Aug 16, 1 49 49 PM

Pro tip: whenever possible, identify someone to hold your ladder.


Several people very dear to me, people in my inner sanctum, are in the midst of what can only be described as “significant life events.” Events of such a nature that most of us don’t anticipate, don’t think to prepare for, that we aren’t ordinarily equipped to deal with. And yet, in each separate case, I’m witnessing my friends meet the difficulty, acknowledge it, make adjustments, and move on with life.

In a manner of speaking, they’ve let the pressure washer of the event strip away all the inconsequentials that subtly build up over time. It hasn’t been an easy thing, or without some pain, but they are prioritizing the people and things in life most important to them. As I watch them “dry out in the sun” I know that their hardwood, what makes them them is in good condition. And they know it, too.

Photo Aug 15, 3 16 19 PM

In a short while, they will be ready for a fresh coat of paint, of a new layer of protection otherwise known as Priorities. Even now they are beginning to gleam again.

It also struck me that paint can be used in more than one way. With the barn, we paint it to cover the wood, to protect it from the elements. But paint can also be used to hide away imperfections, to create a false front, as it were. Put enough coats on, and no one will ever notice.

Hairy Beasts...working hard...

Hairy Beasts…working hard…

How many times have I been guilty of a check up from the neck up, plaster on a smile and head out the door, because it’s so less messy than to let a vulnerability show? Or to share that sometimes the inherent challenges of my Old People aging really weigh on me–I mean, really weigh–and that I feel overwhelmed more and more frequently? How many times do I think, “I don’t want to be strong; I don’t feel up to adulting today, ” and then say “FABulous!” when someone asks me how I am? Slather on a coat of  pretty glossy, water resistant stain and call it good.

To paraphrase my friend Tyson, too often people notice the pretty things and fail to appreciate things just as eye grabbing in the other direction.Photo Aug 15, 3 16 29 PM

So, here’s to pressure washing, flaking off old layers, ditching the debris, drying out, and (an authentic coat of) fresh paint.

Photo Aug 16, 2 36 16 PM

How to be a Hairy Beast: Greg Louganis style

When the water in the creek is now stagnant, and only about two inches deep, what’s a dog to do?

Move to the pool, of course.

Schwimming and diving! SQWEE! Woof! Whatevs. Happy beast.

Oh, and for the record… it is Wet Dog season all.year.long.


Quotables: life in the raw

“People often notice and share really pretty things (on social media)…but I think we should appreciate things that are just as eye grabbing, in the opposite direction.”
Tyson Grumm

It’s true, life isn’t made up of just the pretty things. Often, just outside the frame, where it’s raw and unfiltered, it can be messy, chaotic, weathered, dilapidated. It’s not wrong, it just is what it is.

And yet.

Tyson is right. Ugly isn’t always. When you look at something…really look at it, to see it…you can get a sense of what it was, what it is.

So, Mr. Grumm, I pick up the gauntlet you’re throwing down.





Beauty is in the perceptive eye of the beholder.



How to be a Hairy Beast: #beastmode

The kids are so So SO happy the hay is done and they have their field back. 

Run the Beasties, run the Beasties…


… run the hairy, Hairy Beasts….

So, my girl dog learned a new trick. 

Yup, that’s the ATV her shadow is perched on. Riding. How #babybeast rolls. 

Quotable: choices

Words are the tangible expression of thoughts and feelings. And we’ve heard from various quarters that words matter. That they have meaning, they have influence, and can in turn shape our feelings, our emotions, the atmosphere around us. Our thoughts, feelings, emotions, the atmosphere around us shape the words we choose to use. I know this to be true in my own experience.

It’s as much true for the words we say out loud as the words we repeat inside, in our head, to ourselves. It’s a powerful thing, this self-talk ticker-tape.

The good news: words don’t just happen willy-nilly.

We get to choose them. Intentionally.



Choice. It’s a powerful thing.

There’s  a lot going on in my life just now. Personally, professionally. When I take a step back from the intensity of it all and just observe for a minute … I’ve been in similar seasons of staring down mamba jamba all.the.ALL.the.things. to-do lists, lists that have kept me awake at night and given rise to far more serious consideration of taking up a coping mechanism not very healthy for me than should be warranted.

It’s true, thinking leads to a state of being. I’m thankful I’ve made a concious decision to edit my choices. To edit my words. And very heavily censure my self-talk ticker-tape.

I can’t change the circumstances, but I can change how I react and respond to them.

I choose to focus on the things I can do, not the things I can’t.

I choose to see the opportunity in each new day.

I choose to not be overwhelmed.

What do you choose?