Here are two items that have been in the forefront this past week. I’m immersed in exterior repairs and painting. Working on one side of the house at a time, I set scaffolding and work top down. Since the interior is gutted and will be completely rebuilt, I’m able to access the scaffold by stepping out through a window opening. At the moment I can step out onto a tier of scaffold one level down from where I’m working, and climb the scaffold up to the working platform. This means I have cross braces in front of the window opening. It makes the climb out a bit gymnastic. Stepping out is easy compared to climbing back in. The climb in is more like a yoga class than a jobsite. Some folding of the body is required, as is a bit of an assist to get the foot to make the angle in. I was struggling with this when images of home movies filled my head. In particular, scenes of my sisters jumping off the diving board into the town pool. When I was a kid, my sisters and I would frequently alter two items for increased enjoyment. We’d break our kites to encourage erratic flight patterns, and we’d watch home movies backwards. Watching each other miraculously leap from the pool to the diving board dissolved us to fits of laughter every time. What I realized this week was, since I could step out the window onto the scaffold without a problem, all I needed to do was run the tape backwards to get in. Instead of twisting myself in forward, I backed in. It worked like a charm. I love a simple solution.

Another simple solution involves the overhead electric service. You absolutely do not want your scaffolding, ladders, tape measure, or any other tools in contact with the wires. You always need to be vigilant when working in close proximity to the service drop. To increase the safety of working around the wires, call your utility company and ask to have the service wrapped. They’ll slide a hard plastic sleeve over the lines near the house and tape plastic over the wires that make up the service drip loop. The utility company is happy to do it, there’s no cost to you, and it dramatically increases the safety of working around the wires (shown in photo). Don’t let the wrap encourage foolish behavior. You still need to be extremely cautious. Once you’re done working around the wires, another phone call will bring the utility company back to remove the wrap.