Stop Me Before I Paint Again

Many years ago, in the middle of a kitchen remodeling – not doing the actual work, mind you, but dealing with the dust and the disarray – I called my mother for solace. She had been through a similar project a few years before, and I asked why she hadn’t warned me how aggravating it would be. “I think it’s like childbirth,” she mused. “It’s so horrible while you’re going through it that when it’s over, you block out the memory.”

How I wish I had remembered that wisdom when I started looking at the scuffed walls and the off-kilter artwork hanging on prongs originally intended for other pieces, and thinking how nice it would be to paint my office. It certainly could never be as aggravating as an entire kitchen modeling. And because it is my home office, I could have called in a painter and written the whole thing off as a business expense. (Imagine John Belushi screaming here.) But noooooooo!

You wouldn’t think painting an 8×8 room would be that complicated – certainly no more complicated than remodeling a kitchen. You’d be surprised.

Getting The Paint

● Go to paint store with spouse. Make sure at least one of you has taste.
● Agonize over Post-it –sized slips of sample colors. Try to figure out why one is called coral sunset and another is called coral sunrise.
● Take slips home and hold them up to cabinetry in the office. Choose one and hope you’re not making a horrible, horrible mistake.
● Go back and buy paint.
● Discover that you forgot brushes and rollers; go back and buy them.

Preparing The Room

● Remove all the artwork from the wall. This takes more time than you might expect because this room includes all of the artwork that aforementioned spouse doesn’t want hanging in other parts of the house.
● Spackle nail holes from artwork (ibid).
● Tape every single surface that might possible come in contact with errant paint. Tape some more as you find more surfaces.
● Ignore the whole idea of painting for several weeks, as the taping process has sapped most of your energy.
● Become embarrassed by the fact that while the tape is up, the paint is not.
● Wish you’d brought in a professional.

Painting The Walls

● Find clothes you don’t mind spattering with paint.
● Retrieve surgical gloves from garage so you don’t spatter hands with paint.
● Lay out drop cloths. Discover that no one drop cloth will actually protect everywhere you want to paint.
● Open paint and stir.
● Ask yourself if you really, really want to do this.
● Paint. Spatter. Repeat.
● Climb up and down stepladders. Repeat.
● Move stepladders right and left. Repeat.
● Determine that you have indeed painted enough for one day.
● Wash brushes, splattering hands with paint.
● Close paint can.
● Let everything dry. Endure critical comments of spouse who considers herself a better painter than you.
● Hope that washed brushes and roller aren’t too stiff to use again.
● Repeat with second coat.
● Ignore optical illusion that tape causes, making it look as if two coats are insufficient.
● Let second coat dry.
● Wish you’d brought in a professional.

Returning The Room To Normal

● Return painting equipment to the garage, throwing out brushes and roller because you never want to see them again.
● Remove tape. Repeat.
● Try to remain calm when tape rips, leaving tiny shreds adhering to the wall.
● Use small letter opener to peel remaining tape.
● Find tweezers to peel remaining tape when small letter opener fails to work.
● Start hanging artwork again.
● Find more shreds of tape. Tweeze.
● Hang more artwork. Find more shreds. Repeat.
● Vow never to paint again.
● Step back, admire beauty of newly painted room.
● Begin to block out the memory, at least until you find more tape shreds.


About middleagecranky

The Middle-Age Cranky blog is written by baby boomer Howard Baldwin, who finds the world, while occasionally wondrous, increasingly aggravating.
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3 Responses to Stop Me Before I Paint Again

  1. Cindy Costell says:

    Lovely, Howard. Congratulations ! I remember painting my grease-coated kitchen back when
    I was in my 30’s and couldn’t have begun to afford a professional. Close to the grimy ceiling, I encountered a dead spider. Carefully I removed the poor thing and reverently painted over where she had died. A few minutes and feet later, there was another dead spider. This time I thought, “who is ever going to notice way up here anyway ?” and blithely rolled the paint right over her carcass. That felt …. more professional. You know where this is going. The next spider I met was still alive and running away like hell. Hah ! I caught her in mid-escape and covered her with paint. And in that moment, I realized that I had become A Professional. You should have called me to help with your office.

  2. AnnR says:

    I’ve been painting a bathroom for several weeks now. I’m hoping that will cure me of the desire for new color for awhile.

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