Last week a friend of mine loaned me a pressure washer. A pressure washer is a gasoline powered contraption that sucks in water supplied from a garden hose and spits it out through a spray wand under terrific pressure. Enough pressure as to be dangerous if not handled with a great deal of respect. As I used the tool to clean off my driveway and concrete walkway and the outside of my gutters, my mind wandered back to the early eighties when I had my first run-in with a power washer.
For some reason I had agreed to paint a little old lady’s house — a horrific undertaking in the hellacious summer weather and humidity of Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the deep South. The old house was made of solid cypress, and had so many peeling coats of white paint on it that scraping by hand soon became an unbearable task. I stood sweating in the powerful sunlight with chips of paint clinging to my skin, dark sun glasses protecting my eyes from the incessant reflection of a merciless sun beating down, down, down; it was at that moment I decided to rent a fancy, commercial pressure washer and comfortably blow off the shards of white paint.
Piece of cake.
And so, with the commercial pressure washer cranked up to the max and with an ear-splitting whine, I turned the roaring fan-shaped stream of water directly onto the house’s siding, where I proceeded to gouge out a six feet by eight-inch wide swath of cypress splinters, nails, siding, miscellaneous chips and debris — right down to underlying chunks of flying insulation and telltale hunks of inside-wall sheet rock with pretty ruffs of flowery wallpaper attached.
A few minutes later the old woman ambled her walker up beside me and stared at the devastation. “You know any good carpenters?” she asked.
(originally published and copyrighted© 1998-2010 by Simply Tim in the Recipe du Jour news letter.)