House Update (September 1998)

What a thrill. Weíre painting. I canít tell you how much Iíve learned in only three days. Or one hallway. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of slopping liquid onto a vertical surface, some tips:

1. There is no way to stir paint or extract it from the can without sloshing 5% of it in the ridge around the top of the can.

2. Paint cans are constructed in such as way that as soon as you pour the paint into the roller tray that 5% (and then some) dribbles down the side obliterating the brand name and color forever. This is a good thing. Since you will never again be able to locate an exact match, touch-ups are impossible.

3. This same dribble will pool under the can and harden like epoxy sealing it to whatever surface on which the can is resting. Attempting to move the can will result in this seal breaking when you least expect it, usually after enough force has been exerted to slosh the remaining paint out of the can. The amount of paint exiting the can should be just about enough to cover the top of your shoe.

4. Tapping on the lid of the paint can with the butt of a screwdriver to seal it securely will only result in the paint hidden in the ridge to squirt in all directions. Squatting on the floor as you tap the lid in place will allow you to decorate your painting pants in areas you never before imagined. Itís actually a work in progress. As you walk and your thighs rub together, the design will change.

5. Just because you might be able to glop copious amounts of paint onto a paintbrush doesnít mean it will stick to the wall when you attempt to fling it up there.

6. Keep the can of paint as close to the ladder as possible, but not in the direct path of your foot as you get off the ladder.

7. The farther away you can stand from the painted surface, the better the job looks. The closer you stand, the more you wear.

8. The number of paint droplets that hit your hat instead of your hair, is equal to the number of times youíll turn your head and accidentally wipe wet paint off a freshly painted wall with the brim.

9. You can save clean up time by wrapping a wet roller in a plastic bag. Come back in the morning and itíll be ready to go. Let it sit there for more than 24 hours and you can throw it away saving lots more clean up time.

10. No matter how thoroughly youíve covered an area with drop cloths, the paint will find the one square inch of exposed carpet, revealed when the glump of masking tape stuck to your shoe moved the drop cloth.

11. You will then step in the paint and track it all over the house. You wonít notice the paint on the carpet until it is too dry to remove.

12. The same amount of paint on a wall will take three times as long to dry giving you plenty of time to back into it once youíve changed out of your painting clothes.

13. It will always take one more coat than what the can says.

14. Primer and real paint look the same when theyíre wet.

15. No matter how many supplies you buy, you will always be one short. If you live far away from the store, this will happen more than once.

16. The plastic light switch and electrical outlets covers you took off before you started will somehow disappear before you have a chance to screw them back in place when youíre finished painting. If they can be found, half the screws will be missing. The screws cannot be purchased separately. (c) 1998 by Ami Simms.