Friday, August 5, 2011

"He's All Wet"

By Jerry Zezima

The Stamford Advocate

A rolling stone gathers no moss -- except, of course, for Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who are looking a little green around the gills these days. But a standing house gathers moss -- and it takes a lot of green to get it off.

That’s why I recently shelled out $300 for a power washer.

I was prompted to make the purchase when a guy who does power washing on the side (as well as, presumably, in the front and back) offered to do the house for $400.

My wife, Sue, who is always thinking (of stuff for me to do), said we could save money if we bought a power washer and did the house ourselves. Or, more specifically, myself.

After God made Sue, He broke the mold. Now it was up to me to get rid of the mold with a new power washer.

I went to a large home-improvement store and spoke with a very nice, knowledgeable and helpful sales associate named Frank, who knew that when it came to power washing, I was wet behind the ears.

“The proper attire for power washing is a bathing suit and goggles, but if you want an undersea effect, you can use a snorkel,” Frank said after I chose a machine approximately the size of a Subaru, which was no coincidence because it has a Subaru engine.

Before I loaded the power washer into my car, which is not a Subaru, I got quite an education from Frank, a college business professor who has worked in landscaping and construction.

“I wear many hats, but not when I power-wash my house,” said Frank, who added: “You’re the first guy I have ever met who admitted that he doesn’t know what he’s doing.”

According to Frank, guys think they know everything about home improvement, even when they don’t, which is most of the time. But even if they’re handy, they’ll always defer to their wives.

“I’m pretty handy,” Frank said. “But my wife doesn’t trust me. We were redoing our home and we had to get his and hers shopping carts. When we got to the register, she kept everything in her cart and I had to empty mine. Guess who did the work. Me! And with the stuff she bought.”

The house came out nice, said Frank, who predicted that mine would, too, because my power washer would get off all the moss, mold and mildew and that, thanks to Sue, I would save money.

“The wives are always right,” Frank noted.

I wasn’t so sure when I got the power washer home and it wouldn’t start. When I brought it back to the store, Frank started it on the first try.

“You have to pull the cord like you’re mad at it,” Frank said. “Swearing helps, too.”

“I already tried that,” I replied.

“And make sure the choke is in the right position,” he advised.

“I’d like to choke the stupid thing,” I said.

“Don’t get that mad at it,” Frank warned.

When I got the power washer back home, I swore at it and pulled the cord hard. It started on the first try.

Clad in a bathing suit and goggles, I posed as Sue took a photo, which will no doubt end up on a “wanted” poster. Holding the trigger handle and spray wand, I looked like either an action hero or a space alien.

When I pulled the trigger, a powerful stream of soap and water shot out. It splashed off the vinyl siding and soaked me.

“Are you having fun?” Sue asked above the din of the power washer.

“It’s like my own personal water park!” I said giddily.

Best of all, the green on the side of the house started to melt away.

There’s still more to do, but the place is looking much better. And, for what it’s worth, I’m the cleanest guy in the neighborhood.

Copyright 2011 by Jerry Zezima


darev2005 said...

I really hate walking into one of those stores and admitting that I'm clueless about whatever project I have going on. And I always end up with this one clerk who is a little 80 year old lady who knows more about home improvement than Bob Vila. That's a real blow to the ego.

I suspect at this point if I washed off the mold, my house would just disintegrate.

Nurse Mommy said...

I must say I snorted on the snorkel line! Too funny and quite the visuals!!!

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Ahem.Where is the picture?Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

I once wrote a column entitled, "What do you get the man who already has a power washer?" (If the little Mrs. needs any advice in this department, have her drop me a line). Wishing you many happy hours and pounds per square inch of industrial purification. Thanks for the laughs. Jennifer Graham

foxyroxy said...

You can use that for an outdoor shower when you put a pool in . That way you will really be all wet .

Jerry Zezima said...

Darev, I'd like to introduce Frank to that little 80-year-old lady. In the meantime, don't break the mold if it means your house will break, too. Thanks for the comment.

Jerry Zezima said...

Thanks, Nurse Mommy. I snorted, too, when I read that you snorted on the snorkel line. At least I won't get eaten by a shark when I power wash the house.

Jerry Zezima said...

Dawn, the picture is on its way to either the post office or the U.S. Dart Team. And it may, if I can somehow find a way to get into the 21st century, end up on my Facebook page.

Jerry Zezima said...

You're welcome, Jennifer. And thank YOU. As you know, I just read your power-washing column. Very funny! Best to you and Hubs.

Jerry Zezima said...

Foxy, Sue would love that because she has always wanted a pool. I guess the power washer is the first step.

Sharon said...

Jerry, So funny and great visuals - you in swim suit (Speedos??), goggles and snorkle attacking the nasty green monster that attacks southern houses.
My daughters do mine. This year Sarah used a ladder to reach the high spots - less splash. Also wore a rain slicker on a hot, hot day. I'll bet her skinny frame lost another five pounds.

Jerry Zezima said...

Thanks, Sharon. No, I don't wear a Speedo, even while power washing. I don't want the neighbors to call the cops. Eventually I am going to have to get on a ladder to reach the second story, although I am afraid of being any higher off the ground than the top of my head. I bet Sarah looked very stylish in her rain slicker. My daughters would never do my power washing.