Monday, March 31, 2014

Painting starts with pain

It's just paint.
It is only paint.
Just paint it.

Personally? I think the world would be much better off if there was one color paint. Dreamy Creamy White. Done. On with life. Think of the labor saved. Imagine how much smaller Home Depot would be. Count up the saved marriages, the money not squandered, the positive impact on the environment. If you needed some touch-up paint, you would just go to your neighbor with a little cup in hand and say pretty please. Since all the walls on the planet would be the same gorgeous creamy luscious white, think how easy moving would be. No purple walls to cover, no gasps when confronted with a Whisper Pink that came out Shouting Fuchsia.

When every single surface of our new house had to be painted, we decided to do it ourselves. That turned out to be quite the little painting project. Every wall, ceiling, baseboard, door, inside closet, outside everything, plus the kitchen cabinets needed to be prepped and painted. I had paint in my hair and fingernails for weeks, and ruined a good purse with an errant bump against the wall. The guys at the paint store started calling me kiddo. The worst moment of all was when I came ever so close to toppling a five gallon bucket of paint onto the hardwood floors. That moment of watching the paint bucket tip and then resettle with the contents making tsunami waves of latex across the top was quite the thriller. So although I detested hated  really disliked the wall color I painted the fireplace wall, we put away all the paint stuff last year and said Done. Time to tackle the yard.

Our fireplace wall was supposed to be a soft cocoa-like color, like my regular order of Grande Half Caf Soy Latte No Foam. What it did on the funky original 1949 paneling is turn into a Tall Kale Green Smoothie with a shot of Algae. Paint - it's so hilariously funny that way. I am so done with living with the Fenway Park Green Monster, but just not up to finding a new color. A friend suggested just painting the trim the wonderful Gardenia color we painted the other trim. (Yes, in order to make the wall seem to "go away" I painted the whole wall including trim and bookcases the Kale Smoothie color. Chalk it up to my life list of What was I thinking?)

When we packed away all the paint in 2012, I was so smugly proud of myself, because I had labeled everything really well for future touch-up projects. This Saturday evening, I confidently searched the paint area of our garage, looking for the nice clean can of Gardenia that I labeled so clearly. I found it. It was empty.

Like organized people, it was to be in a can I bought just for saving it.

What I found was this.

Lid ajar, with a foam brush stuck in the bottom.
With the instructions on top to transfer to the small clean can.
Next, on to the prep work. I love taping with miles of blue tape. It never quite works and there are always bleeds, but the Hope of the Blue Tape keeps me happy through the all-important prepping period.

Our fireplace insert got the draping treatment of an operating room.

Kale Smoothie with a shot of Green Algae.

So much better with foam.
While sitting down waiting for the paint to dry, I picked up the Sacramento Bee. There were two articles that intrigued me. One was of a young Rio Americano graduate who lived in Arden Park and graduated a year before my brother Jim did. The article was about how this young man died in Vietnam and why one of his school buddies has paid for a memorial obituary every year on the anniversary of his death. For 45 years. It was a reminder to me how scared I was as a kid watching the draft numbers on TV hoping my brother's number would not come up. The paint dilemma was bothering me a little less.

The next article was a full page photo spread on Living On One, a documentary on the people who are struggling to live with nothing - the people who are not worried that the color of their wall changed from one over-priced coffee drink to another. There was a picture of a little Roma girl in Bucharest, which of course made me think of the children we saw in Romania. I still wonder how Princess is doing. Did her father ever manage to find a horse to get their wagon out of that field they were stuck in? How can they survive a winter in Romania in a covered wagon?  Did she know that I was viewing her with love and not shock?

Yet even in those poor villages where food growing is a necessity and not a hobby, the people are impelled to grow beautiful flowers along with the vegetables and fruit. You can't eat flowers, but they are given an important part of the landscape. Do any of them wish they had the Whisper Pink roses instead of the Screaming Pink dahlias? Maybe.

Where does this put me and my Fenway Park Green Monster wall? It doesn't matter and yet it does. If and when other important stuff gets done, maybe I'll finally find the perfect color for that crazy paneling. Maybe I'll whip out the Blue Tape of Hope and prep it, tarp it and paint it. If not, that's OK too. It's just paint.