Friday, March 15, 2013

"Picasso and Me"

By Jerry Zezima
The Stamford Advocate

As a painter, Pablo Picasso had nothing on me. Sure, he had a Blue Period, but it lasted only three years. My Blue Period has lasted almost 25 years, and every time I’ve had a painting project, it’s made me blue, which is the color of the master bedroom and the adjoining bathroom.

It’s also made me green (downstairs bathroom), yellow (upstairs bathroom), white (family room), sea foam (hallway) and rose (living room and dining room, which puts me one up on Picasso’s Rose Period).

A few years ago, when I announced to my wife, Sue, that I was retired from painting, she said, “You’re not retired. You’re just on hiatus.”

My hiatus ended recently when I got a request to paint. But it didn’t come from Sue, who has been after me to repaint the hallway, which would be the 21st such project in the 15 years we have lived in our house and approximately the 30th if you count our nine previous years in a condo.

The request came from my son-in-law Guillaume, who asked me to help him with his first painting project, a bedroom in the house where he and my younger daughter live.

I had haunting flashbacks to my many painting misadventures. Like the time I painted the kitchen in the condo. The trickiest part was painting around the ceiling fan, where the lights were situated. I worked with the lights on until I smelled something burning. It was my hair, which had come in contact with a hot bulb. I pulled one of two cordsthe one I thought would turn off the lightsonly to discover that I had turned on the fan, whereupon a whirling blade hit me in the head.

It should have knocked some sense into me, but I kept on with the painting projects, including a particularly awful one in the living room of our house, which had huge ceiling beams that Sue wanted me to remove. I initially used a crowbar that punched holes in the ceiling. Then I used a rope to yank the beams down. One narrowly missed my skull. It took me a week to complete the project.

As I told Guillaume, the worst part of painting isn’t the painting, it’s the prep work. This includes using a mile and a half of masking tape to cover areas you don’t want to paint. Then you have to prime the walls and the ceiling. When you paint, you have to put on two coats, though if it’s a hot day, you can wear a T-shirt.

The good thing about this latest project was that we didn’t have to paint the ceiling. And Guillaume bought a new kind of paint that contained primer. Also, the walls needed only one coat.

The best part was that Guillaume proved to be a natural.

“When I painted for the first time,” I told him, “I barely knew which end of the brush to use.”

“It could have been a brush with disaster,” he replied.

“I am so proud of you!” I exclaimed, knowing this project would be enjoyable because I’d be sharing it with a fellow punster. “This is going to pan out.”

“We can put it on our bucket list,” said Guillaume.

“It’s a good thing our wives aren’t here,” I said. “They’d bristle at our jokes.”

“Yes,” Guillaume responded, “but we’re on a roll.”

It went on like this for most of the day. When our wives got back from shopping, they marveled at the nice job we did and approved of the light pink color.

“I’m going back into retirement now,” I told Sue.

“How about the hallway?” she replied.

Unlike Picasso, I have a terrible feeling I am about to enter my Sea Foam Period.

Copyright 2013 by Jerry Zezima


Suzette Standring said...

I started my day with a big laugh! THanks, Jerry. I can also see your influence painted all over your daughter's choice of a husband.

Dave Astor said...

Although I'm not a fan of what that ceiling fan almost did to you, I'm a fan of this great column -- and there's no ceiling to your ability to write humorously!

Foxy Roxy said...

Don't forget that you said you were going to paint the woodwork in our yellow bathroom . Looks like you will be on a roll again Picasso . A man's work is never done .

Stacey Hatton said...

How wonderful to have a son-in-law who you have so much in common with. I bet he is thrilled to be able to have fun with you too! Great story.

Jerry Zezima said...

You're welcome, Suzette. Thank YOU! I don't know if my influence is painted all over my daughter's choice of a husband, though I love your pun, but I don't want to gloss over the fact that he's a great guy.

Jerry Zezima said...

Thank you, Dave! I'm not a fan of that fan, either, but it gave me a head start on a column.

Jerry Zezima said...

I won't forget, Foxy. In fact, your next painter will be coming out of the woodwork. Meanwhile, I'll keep on rolling.

Jerry Zezima said...

Thank you, Stacey. Guillaume is a great guy and we always have a lot of fun, even when doing a household project like painting. Maybe he'll help me when I finally relent and do the hallway.

Cathy Turney said...

Add "stand up" comic to your resume, Jerry! This is so cute! What a great in-law you are!

Jerry Zezima said...

Thank you, Cathy! I'm a stand-up comic because when I stood up, a ceiling fan blade comically hit me in the head. And I'd rather be an in-law than an outlaw, though the police might say I'm that, too.

Foxy Roxy said...

The pictures of the completed nursery are beautiful and the paint job is very well done . The hiatus is definitely over after your latest masterpiece .

Jerry Zezima said...

Thank you, Foxy. I don't know if it's a masterpiece, but the room did, indeed, come out well. It's only a matter of time before I have to paint the hallway.