Friday, September 21, 2007

"Giving Painting the Brush-off"

By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate

For the past nine years, I have had a brush with disaster. Now that I have barely survived, I am going to put down my brush, wash my hands of the whole miserable business and retire from painting.

That is the announcement I made to my wife, Sue, after I recently spent two days painting our bedroom. It was, I declared, the last in a series of projects in which I painted (and repainted) practically the entire house, including the family room (once), the living room (twice), the dining room (twice), the downstairs and upstairs hallways (twice each), the downstairs bathroom (three times), both upstairs bathrooms (twice each), our older daughter’s bedroom (once), our younger daughter’s bedroom (once) and, of course, our bedroom (twice).

That adds up to more than two painting projects a year. It may not seem like much, but when you hate to paint as much as I do, and are as incompetent at it as I am, which means it takes me twice as long to finish a project as it would take someone who knows what he’s doing, it amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

My only salvation has been beer. For every gallon of paint I have used, I have consumed the equivalent in beer. Maybe that’s why it has taken so long.

At any rate, I am now officially retired as a painter. Even Michelangelo hung up his brush, although that was because, if I am not mistaken, he died. I am getting out of the game before it kills me.

For anyone who is either foolish enough to take up painting (you must already be drunk) or whose wife insists that he take it up (refusing to be subjected to this torture should be a key clause in any prenuptial agreement), here is what I have learned.

The worst part of any painting project is not the painting itself, but the preparation work. This includes the painstaking act of bordering the ceiling or the wall with masking tape. I conservatively estimate that over the years I have used eight dozen rolls or 125 miles, whichever is more, of tape. About half of that amount became stuck on my fingers and had to be thrown away.

Next on the list is plugging holes, including the one in your head, with Spackle. This is an excellent product, although it doesn’t taste as good as it used to. I know this because I have gotten some in my mouth every time I have painted. It must have come off my hands when I was drinking beer.

As for the actual act of painting, neatness counts. You should use a drop cloth so you don’t ruin the floor or the furniture or whatever you are going to ruin anyway. This will happen when you mix the paint, or dip your brush into the can, or use a roller on the walls or the ceiling.

Speaking of the ceiling, this is the worst part of any room to paint. I’m lucky I am not blind from looking up and having large gobs of paint land in my eyes. I’m also lucky that Sue is only 5-foot-1 and therefore can’t see what a horrible job I have done on all of our ceilings.

The worst room to paint is the bathroom, especially one without a window, because if you don’t slip while standing on the edge of the bathtub or the toilet and crack your skull on the sink, you will be overcome by paint fumes and nearly all of your brain cells will be destroyed. In my case, no one can tell the difference.

So there you have it. Good luck on your next project. I may be joining you after all because Sue just announced that she wants me to repaint the hallway. I think it’s time to buy more beer.

Copyright 2007 by Jerry Zezima


Jennifer said...

The repainting of rooms, Michelangelo ending his painting career, amount of paint on walls is equal to amount of beer consumed, survival of painting a bathroom... all very funny stuff Jerry. Thanks for the chuckles.
Jennifer Buchwald

Anonymous said...

Foxy Roxy said : Since you have so much experience I have a painting job for you . Do I get a discount or a freebe? What I DO NOT want is a brush off.