Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Things I Think About When Painting

My daughter wanted a bedroom re-do, so I helped her decide how to transform her room into one that more matches her style now and less like when she was three.

This week seemed like one as good as any to start on the transformation, and as there are several rooms in our home that need freshening, I made the decision to power through the rest of them when hers was finished.  We can’t afford to hire professional painters for the work, and my husband works all day and all night seemingly, so the chore falls squarely on my shoulders.  It’s a lesson in home ownership: painting must be done on a regular basis and you will most likely have to do it yourself.

If someone would have told me that before I signed a mortgage, I would have said no thanks.  Renting is where it's at.

I hate painting.  It’s messy, it’s smelly, I’m terrible at it, and it never seems to end.  When the walls are finished, you may as well do the trim.  And the doors.  Outlet covers off, outlet covers on.  Furniture moves around to make room for the displaced items in a to-be painted room until everyone is uncomfortable and I can’t find anything.

I got my supplies, cried a little, turned on my favorite Pandora radio station, took a deep breath, and steeled myself for daily self-inflicted torture, at least for a couple of weeks.

Painting by yourself is a lonely, isolating chore.  It’s mindless, and unlike other mindless and lonely household tasks like cleaning or laundry, with painting you’re confined to one room until it is finished and that makes me sad, because I don’t have freedom to quit or walk around.  I’m a slave to the paint can and the brushes and rollers that will surely harden and be ruined if I take a half a day or week or month break. You can do that with cleaning and laundry.

Which I don’t but you can if you don’t mind living in filth and wearing dirty clothes.

Maybe the only thing I like about painting is having all that time to think.  I can pass an hour or two staring out the window thinking about life and the world, but that feels a little indulgent.  At least if I’m painting I’m being productive.  Then I thought I could make it more productive by jotting down some of my thoughts while I was painting today; maybe I would have an interesting insight or find an important solution or maybe even discover a million-dollar idea.

What I found is that painting is in fact a soul-sucking chore, because time spent painting produces very little valuable insight.

But at least I got a blog post about it.  Enjoy my innermost thoughts from a day of paining.

(That was an unintended typo.  But I’m keeping it.)

I hate painting.  I want to cry.  At least I thought to pull my hair back this time.  No white primer in my hair for weeks this time.

Crap.  Paint in my hair. 

I wonder what my old dance teacher/elementary school boyfriend/that girl I hung out with who stole a bottle of champagne on that cruise back in the 80s/that old dude who flipped me off on the road in front of the kids is doing right now.

(Mumford and Sons song playing) I love Mumford and Sons.  I wonder if they’re coming to this area.  I need to remember to Google it.  I’ll go ahead and add that to my “things I want to Google” list that is already a mile long. 

Oooh, Coldplay too.  They never get old.  I wonder if Gwyneth Paltrow ever painted the rooms in her house?  She probably never had to paint anything, unless it’s for cultivating a latent artistic talent or for a movie role.  She has time to do that, do nothing but cultivate her own talents.  Probably she doesn’t even know how to paint a wall. 

I bet if she did, she’d be better than me at it.

Great.  Paint on the underside of the dropcloth.  How does that happen?

At least I have more life experience than Gwyneth Paltrow. 

Then again, I never won an Oscar.  I guess winning an Oscar trumps painting a room on the life experience continuum any day.  I probably could, though.  If I was an actor.  Or at least wasn’t terrified of performing in front of people.  I could win an Oscar for a screenplay.  Are screenplay Oscars considered less important than acting Oscars? Certainly they’re more important than those scientific Oscars that have a separate ceremony hosted by whatever starlet is famous right now and never will be again ever.

Actually that Oscar party is probably the wildest of all Oscar parties.  Those scientific people are crazy partiers, just like in in Revenge of the Nerds or that 1980’s Val Kilmer movie, what was it called? (Real Genius.)

I wonder if Gwyneth Paltrow ever accidentally read my blog while cruising through Blogger late at night? 

If I didn’t have paint all over my hands/face/legs/butt/arms I would totally give Pandora a huge thumbs down for this song.  Am I in Braveheart?  Terrible. (It was Breath of Life by Florence and the Machine)

Well, I guess I know that I’ll never get through an entire Florence and Machine concert.

Wow.  This paint really stinks.  I feel like I’ve been huffing.  Do kids still do that?  My brain hurts.  Wonder how many brain cells I’ll kill in the next few weeks.

Whose idea was it to put all these stupid glow in the dark stars on the ceiling?  Bad idea.  Bad, bad idea.

I wonder if the people in Lowe’s really know what they’re doing.  This primer clearly is not going to cover up all those huge polka dots I painted that were a worse idea than the glow stars.

The next person in this house that wants any color on their walls other than white or cream gets a neck punch.

Lowe’s employees probably hire people to do all their painting for them.  DIY diehards are obviously people who I can’t relate to.

Oops.  I should only buy paint that matches the carpet.

I wonder what the percent likelihood is that the glop of paint that falls from the brush to the floor will end up on the carpet, in that tiny eighth-inch spot that was left uncovered by the dropcloth?  Today it’s like ninety-five percent.

Whoops.  More white paint on the carpet.  At least I can rub it in.  I’m going to have to find a piece of furniture to cover all the gray primer that dripped.

Lowe’s really needs to do combo deals on carpet replacement and paint.  I’d be their best customer.

Wonder if painters use gallons of wall paint to make art?  Isn’t that what Jackson Pollock did?  I’m kind of doing a Pollock in this room right now.

I’m so bad at this.  If I was bartering a skill to trade for painting, I’d have a hard time coming up with something.  What am I good at that is equally as valuable as painting?  Folding clothes?

I’m sweating. At least I’m getting some exercise.  It makes me feel better about skipping the gym this week to get this done.  Of course, on a scale of one to ten, with one being the most tortuous form of exercise and ten being the most fun, painting is negative seventy-nine billion.

There are probably no fat painters in the world.  If there are, what do they eat?  Lard sandwiches, probably.  Or maybe they have thyroid problems.

I remember when we used to say that there were 6 billion people in the world.  Then the seven billionth person was born.  So for years we were saying there are six billion of us, six billion people in the world – when there were really seven billion.  That’s like saying something that costs 19.99 is just 19 dollars.  Keith (my husband) does that all the time.  “It’s only two hundred dollars.”  No.  It isn’t.  It’s two hundred and ninety nine dollars.  That’s three hundred dollars.  And we have been seven billion for a while now.

If I had seven billion dollars I would never have to paint my walls.  Ever.  Neither would my kids.  There wouldn’t even be the chance that we’d have to paint walls in our lifetimes.  Gwyneth Paltrow can’t say that.

Hell, if I had an extra seven thousand dollars I wouldn’t be painting my walls right now.



  1. Oh. No. We need to paint. Six years in the house and it's way time to get rid of construction white. Now, though... Of course, my brain does that sort of stream of consciousness (or un-consciousness maybe) thinking no matter what I'm doing so perhaps there is nothing to fear.

    1. Good luck to you. We're in this thing 12 years. It's time. One room down, three to go. If I make it, I'm having a huge party to celebrate my survival. You're invited.

  2. Oh this post reminds me I need to paint one side of the wall in my new room. Yikes. :D

    1. I will trade you your one wall for my ten to go. Including ceilings, which are just punishing.