A few thoughts on painting

Saying that you're 'painting a room' is gross oversimplification. Especially when your existing walls are basically drywall with little strips running over the seams. What you're really doing is emptying a room, taking everything off the walls, dusting it off, taking out the nails, puttying over the holes, discovering more holes, vowing to not make so many holes next time, losing the putty, finding the putty, wondering what happened to your putty knife, puttying over the new holes, taking down the strips, pounding in the nails that are left jutting out, running drywall tape over those seams, realizing at three a.m. that you are eight feet of drywall tape short, mudding over 13 of the 14 seams, washing off materials at 5 a.m, falling asleep on the couch in the joint compound covered sweaty clothes and awakening to the kids tugging on you seventy-nine minutes later.

Then you take three children to a hardware store, pick a paint color, sanding blocks and a couple of door frames, almost get to check out, realize that you've forgotten the drywall tape, go back for it, check out and leave the store to discover that it is raining, they're hungry and you went in with eight shoes and came out with only seven. You go home, tape the last one, mud it, do the second coat on the rest of them, curse yourself for being one step behind on one aspect of the project because you know it will add an additional half day. You paint the trim boards and door frames, realize that you bought two different door frames, stick one back into the van and then put the first coat on the other and then load all the children back in the van to go out in the rain to exchange the frame that you have no receipt for because it was used to keep chewing gum from becoming lodged in the carpet of your van and doubt they'd take it in that condition.

You take your children to McDonald's for almost two hours, just so that you can sit still.

You drive the longest possible route home so that they will all three fall asleep on the way. Only two of them, however, make the transition from car seat to bed peacefully. The other is screaming and you are tempted to lock her outside so that no one else wakes up. Instead, you get her to become your Special Helper who hands you things. You run out of things to be handed and tell her to go to sleep in your bed. It is just easier that way.

You mud the last tiny section and start sanding.
Breathing in dust, coughing out dust and sanding.

You tape off the crown molding. You realize that you are too short for this and your calves start cramping from standing on tippy-toe on the highest ladder rung. You vacuum up drywall dust. You begin wondering if this can cause black lung. You vacuum more. You go shower because you can't remember the last time you showered and your hair is no longer the color it used to be. Washing out drywall dust is Fun.

Then the priming begins. Only the stink is worse than you bargained for, so you open up the window to the 90 degree outdoors and no wind is blowing your way. You remember that the last time you went to get a fan you totaled your car and decide against it.

That pesky last stripe of drywall tape gets sanded. More priming. eh. More coats on trim boards.

All this, and no actual paint has graced the walls. So you try out a section. Eh. Is that really the same color? You hold up the curtain fabric, the trim molding that you've hand-painted with roses, the bedding and the teacup from the tea set that your aunt bought the girls last August that you looked at one day and said, "Hm. Pink and green are really lovely together."

You drag out all the different paint colors in the house. Eh. You take the half gallon of white remaining and start mixing it to various intensities with the pink. You have nine different color segments drying on the walls. Every person that comes to the door is asked their opinion. The UPS man swears by a color entirely different than the one cherished by Aunt Emily or the opinion Daddy dared to voice.

Did I mention that in all of this I'm (somewhat) caring for three children, sometimes more, and painting all those little roses on all the moldings and painting all the bead board and for some idiotic reason decided that the bead board needed green on green stripes? Yeah, that.

So you decide to just pick a color, and start painting. You mix up about a gallon of it, add in the sand texture, then start painting. You cut in around the edges, door frames, outlets, insanity. You start rolling and get some paint on at least three walls before you realize that there may not be enough paint here. And because it is a color formula derived by stirring pink into white until you think, "Eh, that'll do" there is not one iota of a chance of acquiring more.

And here we are--painted bead board, painted trim, delicate roses and three pink walls and about 12 oz. of pink paint yet to be slapped on a wall. The paint roller is in a gallon zip-lock baggie so that no paint is washed away. We eagerly await the drying of the paint, yes we are watching it dry, to discover how much of a second coat we will need, or if wall number four will have a different fate.

  • Using your paint-splattered shirt to clean up a bit of mis-placed primer is a great idea. Unless your ladder is positioned in front of the shadeless window.
  • Four-year-old girls are amazingly helpful at painting. Their eagerness is not matched by anyone (not husbands, at least). There is a lot they can actually do, and they will do it in ways that no one has ever dreamed of. Remarkable, really, their ideas.
  • When painting with sand-texture-filled paint, coat as much of your body as possible. As you attempt to scrub it off you will get as close to a microderm-abrasion spa treatment as you are ever going to get as a mother of three.
And I promise that, at some point, there will be pictures.


Ksagstetter said...

Wow, Gretchen. You're insane. You've taken our 3 AM Walmart trips/screwdriver enhanced couch steam cleaning/cushion sewing bestiality couch days to a whole 'nother level.

Anonymous said...

Can you finish our bedroom too when you come up?

Anonymous said...

What a classic story! Sound like me trying to get anything major done in the inside of my house. I was LOL'ing about the playtrip and car ride - how many times have we done that? Selfish parents ;o)