Friday, June 10, 2011

Adventures with a pressure washer

As many of you know, we are cleaning up our house in anticipation of putting it on the market in July.  This process is known as getting the house "market ready" although one would assume that the market could tolerate any house and it is more about getting the house to sell at a decent price.

Last weekend our realtor lent us her pressure washer "until you are done."  Since then, my life has been dominated by this pressure-washer.  Before she left she explained the various configuration and strength of the nozzles and gestured at the sidewalk:  "This one will make your sidewalk white," she said.  "It will remove all the moss on the stairs."

"Is that good?"  I asked.  "Isn't a bit of moss, like quaint?"

"No.  It is not good."   Apparently realtors earn their money by being emphatic.  Clients need good clear instructions in Market Ready Kindergarten.

So, I set out to clean the driveway.

Every year when Mum visits she spends an afternoon sweeping and weeding the cement driveway.  I know, weeding?  Its because there are cracks in the cement and its all mossy and pebbled.   I used the orange nozzle, the one that was described as going in a pattern of swishy swishy motions to scour.

It took a long time but I cleaned the driveway.   Every time I cleaned one bit another bit looked dirty.  There was a lot of "Yet, there's a spot!"

It is now white.  When I say white, its not completely white its like silver grey.  My driveway looks like foil.

Unfortunately, the foil has holes in it.  The reason the driveway had grass on it was it has crevasses of about 8" deep, long rivulets, gouges.  The dandelions have colonized some and others are just little ecosystems of worms, grasses, weeds and flowers.   I blasted them out to leave a cratered landscape of foil.

"Did you have to sand-blast the crap out of our driveway?" asked Josh.

You may have noticed that Josh is not as biddable as I am.  He gets grumpy when told to improve things he likes that way.  He refused to buy a new stainless microwave to replace the white one we were given by Shawn and Sarah.  He is not a crowd pleaser.

However, in the "getting market ready" segment.  He is wrong and I am right (I am writing and he is reading. I am sand-blasting and he is patching up.)

So, Josh went and cement filled the holes.  Its okay now, I guess.

Then I tried again.  This time I pressure washed the deck with a lighter squirter.  That made drifts of mud under the deck. Serious mud.  Its like a pig wallow under there.  I can't GET the mud out easily.  I had to crawl in the shit while poking a rake in front of me to drag it out.  It sucks.

Finally, I did the front deck prior to painting it.  That was the most successful.  However, I washed one step and it blasted a hole in the rotten part.  I have replaced the step.  I knew it was rotten.  I was going to do it anyway but ye-gods, pressure washers are hard work!  They are not the nice quick freshen upper I was expecting.

They make a lovely bright surface but what about all the debris?   I have had two pairs of garden gloves caked solid with mud.  My green garden boots are no longer fashion items and my face, hair and all have been splattered with moss-mud solutions with bits of mascerated earthworm and dandelion root emulsified within.

After the side yard is finished I am done.  D-O-N-E with the pressure washer.  I am not doing the steps.  We can have a sylvan mossy look:

"Remodeled 1949 is warm, elegant, mossy and sits over an enormous rutted driveway that shines like a landing pad.   Rocking chair front porch from which you can enjoy the mossy rocks and mixed foliage of your edible landscape. Sun drenched living spaces (you may want to spring for blinds), fir and apple floors,exposed woodwork, updated chef kitchen w/oak cabinets and island.  Fenced yard is your own private oasis, enjoy the nightly antics of your starving raccoons.  System upgrades include furnace,ductwork, electrical, plumbing and patched driveway."

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