You thought Skinhead was some neo Nazi extremist group. Maybe they are, but when you are 6’4” trying to work in a five foot something basement, the term takes on a whole new meaning.
Our old basement was looking pretty dreary and with my granddaughter spending the Covid enforced university delay with me, what better time to do a clear out and paint up of the dungeon. About three truckloads of garbage and a major sweep up later, I thought I was about ready to start painting…then I looked up at the spaces between the floor joists and beams. A few decades of spider webs were evident.
I directed my helper to fire up the shopvac and attack. Moments later there was a shriek from below. What could be the matter? Then hurried footsteps tripping up the stairs.
“Papa, there’s lots of spiders down there!” explained the terrorized teenager. Yeah, well where did she think those cobwebs came from?
“Suck it up, Buttercup. That shopvac will provide them with a one way trip to perdition,” I explained, assuring her they would not be crawling back out of the vac and up to her bedroom. Unconvinced, the gene pool returned to the basement and the scream of the vacuum continued for a long time. When it finally quit there were more hurried footsteps once again on the stairs as the spider filled unit was hurried out onto the deck where the temp would send them to their happy hunting ground.
Now the painting could begin in earnest. I stuck the intake for the airless paint sprayer in the first bucket, donned my mask and working my way carefully around the hanging ductwork and beams, began to spray. I held up the light with the other hand and peered into the nether regions to see what was happening. From a mass of cobwebs that had escaped the shopvac terrorist, a horde of spiders popped out. In surprise, I jerked my head backwards and peeled a strip of skin off the top…sort of like peeling an apple.
“Tut! Tut! Such language!” scolded my guardian as she applied a hunk of paper towel to staunch the flow…. of blood and foul language.
Several hours and a dozen incidental contacts later between my skull and the ductwork saw the job completed. I needed an extra serving of wobbly pop to settle my nerves and had to forgo the long shower to stem recurring hemorrhages.
The floor was the next project and the paint was roller applied. I decided to protect my skinhead by wearing an old cycling helmet. It worked. Not a single wound and the scabs from the first job are healing nicely.
There was only one problem. The helmet gave me a false sense of security and the front impeded my vision. As I ducked and hurried under a beam, it was a bit like a trucker with a 13 ft load trying to get under a 12 ft bridge.
“Whack!!” I sat down in the wet paint. When my head stopped spinning I gingerly stretched my neck to make sure it still worked and wondered what concussion protocols I should be following.
Over the next week as I applied the required paint layers and waited for things to dry, I repeatedly tested the helmet. The outer plastic is pretty much shattered, but the foam inner is holding up. And I can move my head, albeit slowly early in the morning. The skinhead is all healed.
Chloe is still having nightmares about spiders.