Last weekend, my dad decided it was time to power wash the house. For some reason, he thought it sounded like a job I was capable of doing. If you’ve ever met me (or seen me) you’ll understand how unbelievable his assumption was. Although my gym rat routine has added a little more muscle to my frame, I remain incredibly uncoordinated. I couldn’t pass a field sobriety test if I was stone-cold sober with a few hits of Adderall for additional focus. I’ve taken 2 mirrors off the same van (at different times) while backing out of the garage. When I was 7, I fell off of a bridge into a pond. I’m just not cutout for tasks that involve heavy machinery and/or walking.
The power washer definitely constituted as heavy machinery. It sounded like a lawn mower and required gasoline and a crank-start, just like my ancient push-mower, so I thought maybe I’d be able to manage it. I don’t know if this makes it a pressure washer or a power washer, but I don’t really care.
Before we began power washing, the first thing my dad said to me was, “are you one of those people who’s afraid of heights?”
I barely managed, “I mean…” before he said, “Good. You need to work on that.”
And to the roof he sent me.
I stepped on the ladder and proceeded to climb. Unfortunately, my dad “needs a new ladder” because he “doesn’t know how safe this one is anymore.” Awesome. I’d barely reached the second rung when the ladder tipped over backwards. My dad caught me before I hit the mulch and then showed me “the correct way” to climb a (broken) ladder.
Once I made it to the roof, my dad handed up the power washer gun. My first thought was that it looked like a machine gun. My second thought was that I probably should have given it a practice spray before using it such a far fall from the ground.
Before pulling the trigger, I asked my dad how many mph the water came out. “It’s not in mph, it’s in PSI,” he replied, as if I had any idea what that meant. “Pounds per square inch, Jo. It comes out at 2500 PSI. Don’t shoot yourself in the leg. And seriously don’t take the paint off the house.”
Still not completely following, I asked him to translate this information into how many elephants were in 2500 pounds. My dad shook his head. We’ve never seen eye-to-eye on mathematical equations.
I practiced walking on the roof to get a feel for my balance. After 3 steps, my dad told me that I had better power-wash from a seated position. He went inside to get bleach, leaving me alone to sunburn on the roof. As I sat and watched the neighbors drive by, I realized how horrifying I must have looked — there I was, crouching on a roof, glaring at every passerby (I was cranky, for obvious reasons) and holding what looked to be a machine gun. If it weren’t for my hot-pink athletic shorts and glittery nail polish, I’m fairly certain I could have been mistaken for a sniper.
By the end of the day, my arms were burning worse than they did my first day as an (un)official gym rat. I went to sleep that night feeling like a kid on Christmas Eve — I couldn’t wait to wake up the next morning and flex my newly formed enormous biceps and forearms.
Even though I enjoyed the body sculpting, the worst part about power washing was the bleach. My dad made me wear safety goggles to protect my eyes, but I was more concerned with the effect it would have on my spray tan.
Once we were finished, my dad and I sat in the garage and had a talk about my future.
“You know, Jo, you could make big bucks doing this. I’m serious. People pay big bucks to have people do things like this.” Big Bucks is the term my dad uses to convince me to do something. “You want to paint the shutters next weekend? Big bucks, Jo.” Or, “we’re going to need someone to move mulch around the garden — big bucks.” I’ve yet to receive a paycheck from him, big bucked or otherwise.
At the end of the day, I walked away with sculpted biceps, a streaky spray tan, and a fresh idea to mull over: I hadn’t considered becoming a professional power-washer, but at least now it’s an option on the table.
I’ll probably be power washing again this weekend since we didn’t get to finish one side of the house. Can’t wait. I’ll try to take a picture to add to this post.