Friday, March 29, 2013

The paint apocalypse

I took some time off work this week to paint our kitchen. It’s been six years since I painted it the last time. That’s about how long it took to choose a new color.

Painting is fun. I painted a lot when I was a little kid. Watercolor paint. Tempera paint. Those oil paint-by-number kits. Finger paint. From the looks of my clothes this week, I’m still doing a lot of finger painting.

As I got older, graduating to painting actual walls or outdoor structures proved just as much fun as little kid painting. I could apply more paint to more surfaces - myself, the grass, passing animals - with bigger brushes.

I was excited to paint the kitchen. This may be an insight to how typically un-exciting my life is. Or maybe it’s my inner Martha Stewart coming out.

Did I mention picking the color took entirely too long? Martha couldn't make a decision to save her life. People have built entire homes in the amount of time it took me to decided on a color. For much of February and March, paint chips of varying colors were taped to our kitchen walls.

Our kitchen has both a south and west window. It’s typically a very well-lit room and I didn’t want to choose a blindingly bright hue. The weather in late February and March would not cooperate. I got to see what my color choices looked like on the wall when it was cloudy, snowy, foggy, snowy, rainy and snowy. I never did get to see them in the sunshine. I finally gave up and bought the paint anyway.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you painting isn’t hard work. On the surface, it looks pretty simple. Dip brush in paint. Brush back and forth on wall. Repeat 10 million times.

By the end of the second day, my right hand and arm were pretty much dysfunctional. (I had even started painting left-handed in areas with a wide margin of error.)  Ibuprofen relieved the ache but did not restore any muscle tone. I took the dogs out to play in the sunshine that afternoon. I had a toy for them to chase and tug. I offered the toy to Phoenix. He grabbed it with enthusiasm, anticipating a game of tug. He basically fell on his bottom when my right-handed weenie grip offered no resistance. He looked at me like “Really? That’s all you’ve got?”

I tried throwing the toy. I throw like a girl on a good day. This was not a good day. I tried throwing with my left arm. Nobody got hurt.

Painting  really is fun. It’s fun to watch the new color go on the wall and slowly transform a room. Aside from opening the can of paint and having a “This is not the right color!” freak-out moment, the project went smoothly. It was the right color, it just needed stirring. The paint also went on much lighter than it showed on the chip, so what with first and second coats in varying stages of drying, none of the walls actually matched until the following morning.

What’s not fun are all the tasks that go along with painting. Taking everything off the walls. Moving everything off the counters and finding a place to stash it out of the way. (Note to self: do not turn on the oven without looking inside first unless you want to experience that special stench of melting plastic.) Unscrewing all the switch plates and not losing the little screws. How can an old house with so few electrical outlets have so many switch plates? Dusting all the cobwebs that I swear were not there last week.  Taping woodwork. Taping more woodwork. Convincing myself not to paint the woodwork.

On the surface, painting is not a terribly aerobic activity. You basically stand in one place for awhile, then move six inches and stand there for awhile.

A ladder changes all that. Climb up the ladder. Paint. Climb down the ladder. Move the ladder. Climb up the ladder. Paint. Repeat 10 million times.

Ever notice how the first four letters of painting are “pain”?

Yes, there will be pics. I carefully did a "before" series. If the new curtains ever get here, I'll do an "after" series, too.

1 comment:

  1. Your're making me feel the pain! I need to paint my entire house - ugh...