Monday, 28 July 2003
HJ, would you like to come and paint a gutter?

Yes, fine. Recently a professional team of painters repainted the complete SUMit HQ. These painters arrived with a jar of paint, brush and radio. They sanded all the wood, applied a firm base and painted it glossy. It seemed like a relaxed job to me. It took them only a few hours to complete the whole job.

So, it should not be a problem to do one simple little gutter. It looks like an easy job to me, even for someone like me that is more of an IT professional.

The borrowed ladder is just a bit too short. Large areas of the gutter are out of my reach. I try again with a roller on a telescope stick, but that fails.

How about a retry from the balcony? Yes, much better. Only the front of the gutter is tricky because I can't see it myself. The owneress coaches me from the street outdoors: a bit to the left, a little up, yes, yes, yes, there!

I walk down to admire the result. It is as beautiful as it can be.

So, back upstairs for the second part of the gutter, from a window this time. black footprints I'm shocked to see my own black footprints at the white carpet. The closer to the balcony, the blacker they are. Oops, the balcony obviously was a bit more dirty than I expected. My whole route from balcony to the street is written in the white carpet. Fortunately the owneress just smiles about it.

The second room has a wooden floor, no carpets here. It looks beautifull, just layed out.

In absence of a balcony I put the can of paint inside. It is not a wise thing to do. Within minutes the wooden floor is covered with the first stains of paint. I don't dare to leave fresh footprints so I call for help. It arrives, being a spunch, a bucket of water and a bottle of terpentine. The fresh stains are removed easily, pfew! Some old newspapers must limit my mess.

The gutter progresses nicely, with again a bit of coaching for the difficult front. I am satisfied.

The tin of paint is almost empty. I hold it at an angle and am shocked to see it fall over. I scrape as much paint from the parquet as I can using the brush and paint it on the gutter. I hear a shout from downsstairs: I know what you are doing! I reply: No, you don't and believe me, you don't want to!

Most paint goes off the parquet on to the gutter. I remove the final stains with the spunch, terpentine and pieces of newspaper. The bottle of terpentine is my biggest friend in the world at the moment.

It is a big mess. My feet are no longer black with dirt, but white with paint. I anxiously keep them at the last bits of newspaper and finish the gutter for as far I can reach. A more skilled neighbour will finish the other parts later. My paint job is done.

Now what? The bathroom is unreachable. With my painted feet, it is not an option to walk over parquet and carpet towards the bathroom. The bucket of water has turned into thin paint. The spunch does not clean anymore. The newspaper is reduced to bits and pieces, coverd with paint. So, I can't go anywhere. I'm stuck, just like a cartoon.

The owneress happily assists me with a bucket of fresh water. She just smiles about my mess. Together we celevrate the finished job with sliced beef in birdnest adn some Tau Si Kai from the excellent Taiwanese restaurant Red Pepper Jasmin at the corner of the Amsterdamseweg and the Keizer Karel weg in Amstelveen.

Will she ever ask me for another paint job? Surely not!

Till next nut,