May 30, 2007

In thick outdoor paint and messy memories

Paint and I have never gotten along.

When I was in sixth grade, I decided to spray paint a box for the scene--a diorama--of the play Romeo and Juliet. The can was nearly empty. The project (which was assigned three months before) was due the next day. So instead of asking my mom to take me to the store, I improvised, which often works in my life. After I rummaged around in the basement, I located my would-be savior: a can of exterior latex paint left over from our home's remodeling. At first, I daintily applied paint with a paintbrush. However, my deadline weighing heavily on my mind, I decided the process was going too slowly, so I dipped my hands in and went for a fingerpaint look. Instead, the box rebelled, and drooped with the paint's weight. During the endeavor, I unwittingly covered half the sidewalk in whitewashed white, and gave rise to a beloved family story: Amanda-cried-like-a-big-baby-because-she-had-to-scrub-the-walk. As for my procrastinated project, my mom helped me construct another box which we covered in contact paper and filled with a Barbie and Ken balcony scene. However, the memory of scrubbing the sidewalk and picking paint chips out of my hair for a week has stayed with me. I was haunted by paint, and particularly exterior latex white paint.

Until today.

My sister's boyfriend, Nick and I painted the back porch with the exact paint I misused so many years ago. This time, however, we had a little help from a sweet piece of equipment. The entire porch was whitewashed in around two hours with our new stain sprayer.

In a lucky twist of machine antics, we were very lucky the sprayer didn't catch fire. Though we read all of the instructions for operation, we neglected the section on permissible paint types. As we learned half way through, when Nick checked the manual, latex paint of any kind should not be used in the machine. I can just imagine the scene if my mother came home and our house were in flames and all I could offer in explanation would be "It was the paint, mom!" And she would sigh, and we would reconstruct the house out of contact paper.

Nevertheless, we painted on, despite our knowledge that the machine could explode in our hands. The realization eventually grew as numb as our hands holding the jiggling tool. At the end of the day, though, we finished a lot quicker than manual painting, and the sidewalk has minimal splatterings. And our house isn't in ashes, which is a definite plus.

I came in still wary of paint, however. It's in my hair and my skin is bright red from numerous scrubbings. And while paint and I have never gotten along, I'm happy to say that power tools and I do. I shall revel in electric drills and paint sprayers and electric hedge clippers as long as I draw breath on this polluted Earth. Huzzah!

Posted by Amanda Cochran at May 30, 2007 3:26 PM | TrackBack

"And she would sigh, and we would reconstruct the house out of contact paper." -- That made me laugh. Great story.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at May 30, 2007 7:37 PM

Agreed. Great one-liner, if I ever heard one.

If the can of paint isn't empty by now, perhaps you should dispose of it. To me it seems that this particular can of paint is causing some torment in your life. Expunge the torment! Expunge the paint.

As for power tools? Oh yes. Remember our drilling escapades in Connecticut for Habitat? Oh joy, indeed. :)

Posted by: Karissa at May 30, 2007 8:49 PM

good one Amanda

Posted by: grammy at May 31, 2007 8:09 PM

Great story! :) I recently chopped 8 inches out of my hair due to a messy bun and me being forced into painting my friend's new apartment. Yup, I feel your pain.

Posted by: moira at June 1, 2007 2:28 PM
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