The Great Wall in Small Bites: When Exterior becomes Interior

28 Aug

This past week I have been doing some maintenance painting at our business.  “The Great Wall”  I am referring to is one at our business that used to be an exterior wall.  An addition to our business in 1985 changed it from an exterior to an interior wall.  Since it became an interior wall there have been various storage racks added to the wall.  The original wall is stucco and needed some attention.

I decided to paint the wall this week because the mechanic that usually works on the hoist nearest to the wall was scheduled to be on vacation from Friday afternoon until the following Thursday morning.  I  foolishly thought  there will be plenty of time to get the wall painted while he is on vacation.  I gathered my supplies and had the mechanic move his toolbox from the area while he was gone.

I started working on the wall last Saturday morning.  What I didn’t count on was all the other stuff he had piled up along the 20′ wall and hanging on it.  I spent a lot of time on Monday evening taking down racks that used to hold automotive belts.  I was surprised that the racks on the wall were made of wood with metal hangers.  Someone had taken a lot of time making these racks.  The racks were fastened to the wall with cement anchors about every foot or so.  Some came out easy but some not so easy.  The hard part was standing on a 8′ ladder and still working overhead to remove the racks.  I should have used the 10′ ladder for leverage. 

On Wednesday evening I hoped to have completed the project.  I was only about half done and not much energy to finish it.  My husband introduced me to my new favorite tool.  I had been using a cat’s paw or crow bar to remove the remaining nails and racks with brute force which unfortunately I don’t have much of working overhead.  The tool he gave me to use is a heavy-duty cut-off  air tool  that cuts through the nails at the edge of the wall. Then I used caulk to fill in around the holes.  Less damage to the walls than trying to remove the nails and much quicker.  It didn’t do much for my hairstyle wearing a welding shield to protect my eyes.

While I am painting there is ample time to think.  Today I started thinking about how the process making an exterior wall into an interior wall involves using many of the same processes when learning something new.

At first, when I was learning to fly I was overwhelmed by the amount of checklists and items on each checklist.  Much like the size of the “Great Wall” and the number of items to be dealt with before I could actually paint the wall.  Over time the checklists became second nature to me and I varied a couple of items to an order that worked best for me.  There is a difference of opinion in teaching students how to fly whether to have them “Do the checklist, one item at a time” or “do your items on your checklist from memory and then use the checklist to verify that all the items were done.” 

I was from the second camp on checklists.  For example, I would do my pre-flight and then scan the items on the checklist to verify I had completed all the items.  In an emergency situation I wanted to know in my head what I needed to do immediately instead of fumbling through a checklist to figure it out but it is great to have the checklist there for reference.

Painting is second nature to me and I am not intimidated by it,  however, this project provided a few bumps in the road with trying to remove the belt hangers.  I used my usual method of removing obstacles on the walls and patching holes but the cement anchors were more difficult than anything I had ever tried to remove before.  I needed some advice or I felt like I would never finish the project because of the anchors.

In flying when you reach the end of your knowledge on an item you look to the experts, my CFI , others at our flight school.  I spent many hours reading about items I didn’t understand or was having difficulty with like landings. If something wasn’t working for me I looked to him or other pilots.  On the painting project I looked to my husband for his recommendation regarding the anchors.  He provided the necessary tool and the work became easier just like with the advice of my CFI.

At some point in my flying the exterior became interior as well.  I put the information to work for me from all the exterior sources,  made some adaptations that worked for me, and the information was now on the interior for me and put to use  just like the wall.  Next are the floors…


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4 responses to “The Great Wall in Small Bites: When Exterior becomes Interior

  1. Thomas Stazyk

    August 30, 2010 at 3:31 am

    I wouldn’t have thought a post about painting a wall could be interesting and entertaining but you’ve managed it! What an interesting way to approach the project and I like your insights.

  2. flyinggma

    August 30, 2010 at 7:17 am

    Thanks Thomas. I enjoyed your post on painted titled “Michelangelo Had it Easy”. It’s always fun to checkout what you are up to on your blog. How are things going at Cue Haven? More progress?

  3. Joe Clark

    September 1, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    I have a feeling you are a fine aviatrix. You have a perfect understanding of checklists and how to use them… Good for you!

  4. flyinggma

    September 1, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Thanks Joe. I hope to put some checklists to work this week and take up a 172 and get checked out on it. The fuel injection system on the 172 compared to the 152’s carburetor is all new to me.

    I found myself looking for the carb heat in the 172 the last time I took it up.


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