Tag Archives: painting

Painting myself into the corner

It’s been at least 8 years since I have painted in my living room and kitchen. It’s been even longer since I painted the ceilings in the upstairs. You forget a lot during that time period…like how hard it was to do the painting myself and how much the aging process can affect you..strength and ability-wise.

Nevertheless, it had to be done. I went to the store and purchased the paint and I didn’t let it bother me that those cans were a lot heavier than I remembered. I bought paint brushes and some roller pads and determined to do the job.

Painting the ceiling was definitely the worst. I don’t reach up over my head well; I don’t climb ladders either, anymore, so I had to rely on a roller attached to my broom handle. This allowed me to paint from the floor, but it did make control of the flow difficult. I would roll and roll and roll to make sure I had completely covered an area and then, because of white on white in questionable lighting, I would discover that I had missed spots. When I got done or at least I was finished, I took the paint pan out onto the fancy front steps my husband had built, tripped and slopped paint all over and you know what? That paint covered the new steps perfectly…and it wasn’t inclined to come off.

The living room and hallway were next. I took down all pictures and filled all nail holes. Then I did the edges. I hate edging more than anything…but I do  know of at least one person who loves to edge because, they “love the challenge of it.” I say, if that is what challenges you, perhaps you should go out and trim the grass with a tweezers!

Once I got going with the roller, the painting went really fast. There was that unfortunate moment when I was bending over to get the bottom of one side of the hallway and got the bottom of my posterior with the wet paint on the other side! I also bent over too far and lost control of the roller as I stood up. My living room floor looked like it had the yellow measles! After crawling around for ten minutes frantically wiping up the spots, I proceeded to the last spot, taking the last bit of paint in the can. Celebration!

When I went to clean the tools, I tried to remove the paint cover from the roller and it would not come off. I tried to pull it off with a plastic bag over it. It wouldn’t budge. I gave a mighty pull, the bag slipped, and I ran my hand all down the paint cover, squeezing out a lot more paint, which poured over my hand, up my arm and into my sleeve. I looked like I had yellow fever on my right side for a week!

I gave up on the kitchen for now, so it’s just sitting there, prepared for painting but not done. My grandsons were visiting at my house and looked at the white, putty spots and the edging tape everywhere.

“Grandma was doing some painting,” I said, as they examined the kitchen solemnly.

“I think you should try again,” said the six-year-old seriously. “You missed a few spots.”

“Yeah, Grandma, try again,” echoed the four-year-old.

Darn kids. What do they know? I like the spotty look in the kitchen. I may keep it that way!



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Nailing It!

Photo Credit: saferbuild.com

Photo Credit: saferbuild.com

Back in the heady, early days of our marriage, Roy and I had a dream of building our own house. We would let someone else frame up the outside, we fantasized, and then we would work together, using the labor of our hands and the rhythm of our own love to build the inside.

Then we woke up and realized that our marriage would never survive a full-out, building your own house experience. We learned this through painful experiences in remodeling or repairing things in our existing home. The pain, the tears, the whining—and that was just Roy, whose idea it usually was! To put it in Roy’s own, sweet words, “One of us would have gone off the roof; and it would almost have been an accident!”

It isn’t that I’m a poor assistant. It’s that I have to assist at all. Roy is one of those perfectionists, who measures everything to the exact second and I am a “slop-it-up-and-call-it-good” type. So, while I am standing there, holding it against the wall, Roy is standing back, measuring, trimming, leveling, to make sure it’s right. Frequently he attaches it to the wall to the phrase, “Put a nail in it, for pete’s sake, before I let go and drop it on your head!”

It isn’t just nailing things up which creates a problem when Roy and I go into construction together. We don’t play and paint well together, either. I need drop cloths and tape around the edges and I still make a mess. Roy can paint anything without a single drip or smear. The biggest fight we have had in recent history was after he carefully edged and painted  the white ceiling and then left me to roll paint on the yellow walls. When he arrived home from work, I pointed proudly to my finished work.

“What’s that spot up there?” he pointed at a spot on the edge of the ceiling.

“Oh that? Well, I got too enthusiastic and the roller hit the ceiling a little, but I painted it over with white, again,” I was a little defensive.

“I can see that, because now there’s some white on the yellow wall, and by the way, the white didn’t cover the yellow on the ceiling.” It goes without saying that there was no compliment on my painting job….or further conversation at all….or supper, for that matter!

Varnishing has always been one of the biggest issues for us, because we have re-done so much furniture and worked on cabinets. I am pretty good at sanding although I’m not a fan of it. I can even stain, when it becomes necessary, although Roy is much better at it. But varnishing with the perfectionist is not fun.

Varnish is thin, and clear and drippy. Roy is pretty good at applying the varnish well, but one of these days he’s going to get a face plant with a full varnish brush when he follows along behind  me and cleans up the varnish drips I leave.

He’s a firm believer in three coats of varnish. You know what that means: put on the first layer, wait forever for it to dry, sand it lightly, apply the next coat and etc. By the end of the application of the second coat I’m ready to be done, but Roy is still lightly sanding and wiping down on the third coat three days later. I tried to help with the sanding once, but he got upset because I may have sanded so hard I took off all of the varnish and some of the stain. Some people are so picky.

Roy, prepping for hanging drywall

Roy, prepping for hanging drywall

So, as you can see, the dream of building our own home quickly faded on the horizon of our lives and because of that, we have for the most part remained happily married (don’t check this fact with Roy when we are doing repair work). However, this week, we are hanging sheetrock in a room in the basement and so, it probably means that you don’t want to ask about the status of our relationship. Roy has elected to use a manual hammer for this project rather than a nail gun. I think that’s probably a lot safer, don’t you?

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At Least I Keep My Ears…

In a world full of artistically creative people, I believe I got the short end of the paintbrush when it comes to the visual arts. I can write, yes, but painting, drawing, sculpting; these are all foreign concepts to me. From the first time the kindergarten teacher looked at the stick horse I had drawn (much larger than the people) and observed the little lump of clay squished between my fingers, she swallowed hard and said, “Well, isn’t that….nice.” What she was really saying was,”Michelangelo and Van Gogh have nothing to worry about.”

This isn’t something that weighs very heavily on my mind most of the time. After all, Michelangelo had to lie on his back and paint over his head and Van Gogh had some issue which caused him to cut off his ear, so I’m just as well off, right?

Every so often, however, I put myself in a situation which illustrates my lack of ability and such was the case this week. There is a new trend in parties in which women gather together, have snacks and wine and paint pictures. I’ve often wondered about these parties, but this week, I got to go to one.

We sat down before blank canvases set on small table easels. I followed the instructions of the woman conducting the lesson and went up to get myself some paint. A plate with black, white and then some purple paint. I set it back on the table beside the canvas. The canvas promptly toppled over and fell in the paint. I took this as a bad sign. I’m pretty sure the canvas intended it as an aborted suicide attempt.

I thought at first that we would be choosing our subject and I had my large stick horse with the too small legs and the rabbit ears all ready, but alas, it seems we were all to draw a scene with a sun or moon and graduating shades of paint topped by a dead tree full of scroll branches and a swing. Okay, I could do that.

While everyone was painting their graduating shades of paint around a white center, the leader was admonishing us to blend the different layers. I thought I did that, but by the time I was done, it looked more like that weird tunnel from the twilight zone. When the leader wanted our attention, she would call out, “Ladies, ladies, ladies.” We were to respond with, “Yes, yes, yes.” And have a drink of wine.

As it happens, I don’t drink alcohol (although I thought about changing this policy that night), so I had brought a huge glass of Sprite. I love Sprite, so when she said, “Ladies, ladies, ladies,” I had a big slurp of Sprite. This created two problems, however. One, I couldn’t her instructions over my slurping and even worse, I had to running to the bathroom, so I missed even more instructions.

I managed to get a dead, black tree on the canvas in front of the Twilight Zone tunnel, but my branches didn’t curl in that scroll that she had made. In fact, the branches looked more like an open safety pin and a baby’s curl. I tried to make a tire swing (wanting something a little different) and my first attempt looked slightly pornographic. When I was done with the picture, everyone walked by and, using the same tone and look as my kindergarten teacher, said, “That’s…..nice.”

The "finished" product.

The “finished” product.

It’s okay that I’m not good at painting, though. At least I didn’t have to lie on my back and paint over my head and I wasn’t required to chop off either of my ears. But the next time I’m invited to one of these drink and paint parties, I’m going to drink and let somebody else paint!

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