Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Pics In Space

My Kedley and I have been having a busy time of late. We're still up to our elbows in garage construction-related projects, and only have a limited amount of time before the famous Oregon rain kicks in to make chores like painting and dirt pile moving considerably more difficult. We're making some progress. The retaining wall is built, the raised patio is almost complete and I think we've figured out where we're going to tuck most of the remaining mountain of soil left over from garage floor excavation. (We haven't constructed all the tucking spots yet, but at least we now know where they're going.) There's wiring and the like to get to as well, but that's an indoor task and much more rain-friendly.

For the past couple of weeks, however, we haven't been making any progress at all, despite the time sensitive nature of the work outdoors. We've been taking some time off to help out at our church with another "gotta get it done while the sun shines" kind of project. In order to save the every elusive dollar, a group of volunteers from our congregation have been hard at it, painting the outside of the building. Big building. Small congregation. Lots of man hours per man. Lots of man hours per woman for that matter. So anyway, today Ked and I were tackling some of the trim work way up high on the south side peak, and the crown moulding under the eaves. When I say way up high, I mean way up high. Ked and I are guessing somewhere between 45-50 feet at the top. Have I mentioned I don't like heights? Mercifully, unlike with the remodel we did on the inside of the church, we're not using ladders and scaffolds to get the assignment done. We have this handy dandy lift jobby, with a bucket big enough for two, that carries us right up into the sky and parks us next to whatever the target of the moment happens to be. Today, as I said, we were aiming for the peak. Have I mentioned I don't like heights?

Now you might ask what the heck I was doing climbing in that bucket if I'm not particularly happy with the idea of floating around forty or so feet in the air. Good question. The church has the lift for a limited amount of time, and we need to make the most of the time we have, and take advantage of it when people are available. Today, Ked and I were available. So up we went. I discovered something interesting while I was trying to concentrate on my paintbrush, and not on my discomfort. I really only found the whole thing stressful when it was moving. Travelling from spot to spot had me clinging to the sides a bit (although what good that would do if the whole thing toppled I have no idea. We were already harnessed in, so that's probably as good as it gets anyway.) Swaying in place because one of us moved too abruptly, or breathed too hard, or thought quick thoughts, was equally disconcerting. (I used that word a lot today.) On the other hand, in those rare moments when the bucket was still and I stopped to look around, it was kind of fun. Looking over the rooftops and even straight down at the ground was an interesting, if not pleasant experience. I'm not going to volunteer to re-roof the building, or anything, but I survived this portion of the painting, and am feeling somewhat triumphant. My husband probably suffered more than I did, just because I was a tiny little eensy weensy bit tense, but he survived that as well.

So, why did I tell you all this? Mostly just to get it all off my chest--a decompression moment after coming in for a safe landing--but also because being up there reminded me I hadn't checked out this month's space photos from MSNBC. (Just click on "see the slide show" and let the fun begin.) I had a look when I got home, and decided they are worth passing on to you. All of them are pretty darn cool and interesting. Some taken of space, some taken from space, but all taken of things and places you and I aren't likely to get to see in person any time soon, since I'm pretty sure most of us Earthlings won't be heading out on the space shuttle, or hitching a ride on the Cassini spacecraft anytime soon, especially those of us who don't like heights much. Have I mentioned that I don't like heights?