August 21, 2002

The Joys of Home

or "House" is a Verb

Being available, in addition to being the only painter we could afford, I have undertaken to hire me to complete at least one of the dozens of indoor projects that have suffered from taskus interruptus. At the end of a long sequence of steps that started months ago with stripping pink, burgundy and blue paint off the old pine stair treads, today I was looking forward to completing the painting of the risers and trim and finally being done with at least one major inside job.

I found the paint, after considerable reshuffling of boxes with labels like "NATHAN'S EMPTY TAPE CASSETTE COLLECTION", and "RANDOM STUFF FROM UNDER THE STEPS 1989" (still sealed with 1989 tape). We stored the paint cans on their tops, as in upside-down, like the painter told us to, back in farthest recesses of the immensely jam-packed Fibber McGhee store room upstairs.

I guess Ann must have 'closed' the can on the trim paint last year when she finished painting the bedroom. I guess she just sort of gave a little tappy-tap and plunked it upside down. You guessed it. What a wonderful, perplexing surprise, just before the climax of my Big Job.

What we have here is a gallon of Williamsburgish-green paint upside down, with a little moat of dried, very hard paint all around the rim. Option 1) leave it in place forever, and put a memorial plaque on it, commemorating one woman's slap-dash get-it-done paint clean-up history; 2) carefully try to hammer a putty knife under the lid to free it from the floor and hope that it will remain sealed by the same dry paint to the can; and 3) just kick the sucker over and deal with the consequences.

I started with choice 2 which quickly transitioned to choice 3 when the lid remained a permanent part of the floor, the can came up, and 3/4 of a gallon of paint did what liquids do. A slow, pseudopodic puddle of green paint began seeking its own level. I am alone, but I call for help anyway. Maybe Buster has some ideas, 'cause I'm blank, barefoot and in my boxer shorts. I wonder if it's too late to go back to bed. Or, when in doubt, have a beer.

No, no. It is always better to do SOMETHING, even if it is not the RIGHT thing. So I stop at the back door to quickly slip into my knee-high black rubber books (which coordinate nicely with my gold and black silk boxers) and run out to the shed, grab a bucket of ramdom tools, and streak back to the house in a mild but escalating panic. Find tool, fix problem, find tool fix problem. Think brain think brain think! I think I ran upstairs the first time with a nail punch and a hand auger. This definitely was not the RIGHT thing. Meanwhile, the Green Sea is spreading like an outbreak of lentil soup.

I will spare you all the intermediate steps before I came up the both the idea and the actual finding of the tools to end this nightmare: a wide bladed putty knife, a plastic dust pan and a plastic bucket. When it was all over, I had scraped about a half gallon of paint into the bucket. A partial success. There is still a place for the memorial plaque, since the lid, covered with about 1/2 inch of rock-hard paint, is now a permanent part of the floor.

It is now the next day. The nightmares last night were upsetting: thick green paint rising like flood waters, knee deep, while I ran around trying to find my pants. Horrible. But more disabling toward the task of finishing this cursed job today, I seem to have a mild stress fracture in my 2nd metatarsal from stepping up-down-up-down off the bench yesterday while trying to use up the spilt paint out of a open-top pail without a lid. And I notice too in the first light of dawn that the instep of my right foot is an otherworldly Williamsburgish green. Maybe I'm coming down with something.

Posted by fred1st at August 21, 2002 06:32 AM
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