Not the Ideal Painting Day, but Whatever

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I sat looking out at the sunrise, waiting for it get light. Yesterday afternoon my daughter moved everything out of her room and we prepped it for painting. It was cold out, in the teens. But she really wanted to paint her room this weekend. She asked plenty of time ahead, and was willing to put in the effort. How could I say no?

She had a couple of friends over yesterday and we got to it–taping and cleaning and then painting. The problem is that it was really too cold to open the windows and air the place out. Thankfully, we had gotten low emission paint from the hardware store. This was intentional, due to the season, and it worked like a charm. It smelled a bit paint-ish but was not all that bad. We cracked a window and ran a fan and it cleared right out.

Her room was a mess last night, of course so she spent the night at one of those friend’s houses. All three of them did. The plan was to head back home and paint together in the morning. I, however, as an adult with some time management skills, as well as some experience with teenagers, knew that that was an unrealistic plan. There was no way they could get up in time to paint a second coat and put the whole room back together in time for bed tonight. So I painted the second coat myself before I picked them up.

I admit I like to get it done right. It is an excellent learning experience, however, to let your children take on a painting project. It is a good skill of itself and it is empowering. My daughter can now look at those walls and say “I painted that.” That feels pretty good. My dilemma is that I prefer, if possible, to avoid paint on the beams and the rug and the windows. The second coat was a little more thorough and tidy, but the first coat was more powerful, despite the messiness.

So I sipped coffee until the light rose. Then I put on old clothes and got the job done. I picked up the three girls late in the morning. They painted a dresser themselves, and then I helped them get started on reassembling the room–bed returned to the corner, clothes back in the closet and so on. They took care of the rest.

No, it wasn’t the best time of year to paint. We had to suck in some paint fumes (although not too many) and clean up with less room to work. They had to paint the dresser in the basement rather than on the porch or in the garage, but easy enough. And it is one more project not to be done in the summer. If my daughter had not insisted I would not have done it that way, but it got done, and I got to watch the sunrise, and she is happy. I guess that last one was the priority.

Back from Busy

We have been out and about for a couple of weeks now, so no posts here on Mercury on the Move. We travelled to New Hampshire and Maine and returned for some R & R from our R & R. Our garden has gone crazy, despite the minimal rain. The garlic all needs to be pulled now. Potatoes are ready to be dug up. Basil has filled out and should be pesto-ed. We have a few zucchini that are way too large. Those things grow like nuts, I tell you. We even have a couple of melons that are looking good, and the popcorn is maturing nicely. My daughter picked some carrots today (despite the “don’t pick anything until you ask” rule). So our garden has been doing well on its own. No need for a gardener for a couple of weeks.

We ate sandwiches tonight for dinner–cucumbers and lettuce and tomatoes. Our tomatoes are finally weighing down the vines with ripe fruit. And they are tasty as can be. The bonus this summer is that we have some cilantro that is ready now as well, as are some onions, so we can make fresh salsa with ingredients mostly from our garden. Maybe tomorrow.

I borrowed a power washer from a neighbor this morning and, after a couple of hours of trying to get the thing to hold pressure, I managed to wash the west side of the house. It looks mighty clean, even though lots of paint was washed off in the process. I hope to get at least started on painting that side tomorrow. I did put in some good work today, as I had to do some hefty trimming of trees and shrubs to get at the wall to wash it. The weather keeps holding for me as well, so I may be able to get that side completed before the summer ends for me.

The wild card here is my eye. I managed to poke myself in the eye with my sunglasses a few days ago. We drove back from Maine with my eye tearing and blurry and, worst of all, in lots of pain. I drove right to the doctor who told me I indeed tore my cornea. It has to take some time to heal and I am smudging this petroleum gel goop into my eye to ward off infection as well. Today it felt decent, but I do have to wear glasses instead of contact lenses, so bright sun is a bear. Luckily the side I need to stain next gets sun only late in the day. If I get started early, and I am careful enough to avoid dripping paint on my glasses, I should make some progress.

We have one more small adventure planned for the summer, but that is only a couple of days. I might just get my project done after all. I did decide to leave the north side of the house for next summer. Why stress about it? We want to apply some funky spray to the house to keep the cluster flies at bay this winter, and painting is a no go after that happens. I will, I admit, be happy to have three sides stained, plus the porch. That is a fair amount for one guy for a summer. I’ll call it good.

I will also enjoy some fresh salsa while I’m at it. And some pesto. And other good stuff. Fall will be fine.

A Bad Purchase and Tuckered

I painted a lot over the past couple of days. Trim, siding, windows. I’ve been up on a ladder swinging a paint can and wielding a brush. It takes a long time to paint a house. Technically, I am staining it at this point, although I started last summer with paint. I realized this summer, after carefully looking over the rusting cans in the basement, that the house had been stained in the past, not painted as I had thought. Staining means no priming, which saves me a coat. Still, this ain’t no quick project.

I had the idea that I would us a sprayer at one point. I went to the Home Depot and browsed and found what I thought would be the perfect tool. It was a backpack sprayer, made by Ryobi, the One+. It holds a gallon and a half, carried like a backpack, with a spray gun. It is powered by a lithium battery so no cord needs to be lugged up the ladder. It was just what I needed, so I bought it. Once I brought it home I wondered just how much the battery might last, but the manual was of little use, so I looked at reviews at Amazon and other sites. Things didn’t look good at that point.

The reviews were mixed but were either raves or pans–nothing in between. Reviewers gave the tool one star or five stars. The bad reviews talked of leaking and poor spray power and globbing and spitting. I hoped I would have better luck. Maybe these folks were setting it up wrong? Or maybe there were just some good ones and some bad ones, you know, inconsistent manufacturing. I gulped and figured I would try it. But it wouldn’t turn on. The battery, it turns out, was defective, so my wife volunteered to get me a new one while I got started with a brush. The old fashioned way gets the job done again. One day down.

Finally, with the new battery, I was ready to try this beast the next day. I had a huge scrap of cardboard on which to practice. Practice was all I got. That thing is the worst tool I have ever used. It leaked like crazy and had really poor spray consistency. I took it apart and couldn’t get it to stop leaking after I put it back together. It was awful. I could not have been more disappointed. I cleaned it and returned it the next day. Seriously, I have never made a less satisfactory purchase. Not performing well is one thing. Not getting the job done at all is ridiculous.

So I started painting again with a brush. Now, after a day of painting, up and down the ladder, in hot sun and sometimes high wind, hands pooling sweat in latex gloves, I have made some real progress. But I am, as noted, tuckered. Early to bed and early to rise gets the painting done, however. I guess I’m on that.

Foiled

So I got up early enough. My daughter came in to tell me she had a nightmare where I had died. Rough. So I spent some time with her before getting up. I was slow in moving, for sure, but eventually I got some painting clothes on and went out to put the sander together. I had had to order some new parts and I was ready to reassemble and do some high powered smoothing. When I tried to make it all fit, however, one of the screws just slid into its hole. I hadn’t looked closely enough and it turns out I will need another new part. Actually I need three new parts.

So I looked up these parts on the Dewalt web site and, kaching, easy to find what I need with part numbers and prices. All three parts–and I was careful to make sure I only need those three–will cost about ten bucks. So, the dilemma arises again: Do I order the parts and wait a week or two to continue my project or do I get a new sander? A new sander costs 70 dollars before tax when ten dollars will repair the one I have like new. I decided to do both.

I will get a new sander today because I cannot afford to lose two weeks. Then I will repair the old sander and sell it on Craig’s List. I have been wanting to try out Craig’s List for some time and this gives me the perfect excuse. So really I will get ┬ádiscount, if you will, on the new sander, and I will also get to continue with my work. Not ideal, but it will do the trick.

So I had to spend a bunch of time dealing with all this and I lost the morning. My wife had to split late in the morning for an appointment so that means I’m on Dad Duty. No painting until this afternoon when, most likely, it will rain. So much for getting things done today. I did take a little time to make some calls for an oven repair. We have a digital display that does not display. So much for high tech. The oven works, but it is hard to tell if I really did enter 375 degrees or if I will burn the bread after ten minutes. At least I got started on that.

Delays, delays–that is the theme with this whole painting business. It will take several hours without any delays, but good lord I seem to be stalled every week with one thing or another. I am an amateur, for sure, but I am learning a lot. Next time, and I can’t say I look forward to the next time, it will be easier. Things may be poking along, but I’ve got all that new knowledge. That counts for something, eh?

Painting the House: Slow but Steady

I am tired. I painted all day and got only the tedious lattice work completed on the porch. I knew it would take a long time but sheesh, that was a patience eater. And it didn’t even turn out all that great. Call it good enough.

I opened up the box with a new paint sprayer today. It has a backpack tank and a lithium battery so I can climb a ladder and not worry about hauling up a power cord. I am hoping it will save me some time now that I have most of the small areas completed. The decks should be next, as they need it most. Really, the open deck that gets the sun needs to be finished, but it seems silly not to do both at once. Why clean up twice? So tomorrow I sand, then hopefully do some spraying the next day. We’ll have to use the front door.

Of course, I need to paint the wall next to the deck, so I should paint that first. That means a coat of primer, which needs to dry for a day, then a coat of paint on top of that. So best case scenario I couldn’t get to the deck until day four, if the sanding goes as planned. So maybe I just go for the deck first and use a drop cloth when I paint the wall. Seems silly. So, of course, I will do it right. Do the wall, then the decks.

So I am tuckered and I need to keep it up. Rain showers are in the forecast but not until tomorrow afternoon. I will try to get up early and get cracking. Again. Let’s hope the smoke detectors don’t start howling like last night and wake us all after midnight. I replaced the batteries in all of them, so we should be set, but who knows what strange things might be afoot in the wee hours. I just need enough sleep to be ready to crank. Early to bed for me. With dreams of oil-based primer. And hopefully ice cream.

More Hot Painting

I didn’t get started as early as yesterday, but I did get some painting done on the house today. I got started about 8:30 because I needed new brushes, so I zipped to the hardware store before I could I could begin. I was working on the siding where there is a lot of trim, so it was slow going. I kept at it for a few hours, until 12:15 or so, then washed up and headed in for lunch. This is a big project for sure. I don’t really want to be painting when it is 88 degrees, as it was when I quit, but I need to paint while the sun shines, even if it is hot. Wicked hot.

Tomorrow I plan to paint under cover–walls under the roof of the porch, so it will be shaded, and if we do get those “slight chance of” showers I can keep working. Then I have the lattice to paint. That took pretty much forever when I primed it the other day and I assume it will take close to that or more with the regular old paint. Two more days of painting what I primed, then sanding (the part for my sander came in today) and more primer. Overwhelming, that is what you might call it.

I need to look into getting a sprayer. This house of ours is way too big to paint with brushes. We’ll see. Maybe I can rent one? We’ll see. For now I have brush work to do, and a deck to finish sanding, and some walls to sand. Oy. It will be hot again in the morning, but I will call it quits by lunch time. Then I will have the whole afternoon to sweat.

Where I Left Off

Lattice Waiting for Paint

Paint on House Siding

The Last Paint Left in the Brush

Holy Hotcakes

So it has been hot. We have ourselves a heat wave. Records are falling, power is failing and people are slumping. I spent the morning painting the porch. My wife had said she did not want to me to do that, but when the weather is good for painting outside, I’m on it. I primed the porch and walls nearby two days ago. That took about ten hours. Today I was less ambitious. I only painted for four and a half hours. The thing is, it helped with the heat. It was 77 degrees when I started and the thermometer rose the whole time, but gradually. I was in the shade so when I was ready to knock off it felt hot, but no hotter than when I started. I am glad I quit then, however.

I saw 95 degrees as the high temperature here. That is hot enough. The children spent several hours swimming in a pool and I joined them after lunch. That felt good. I could handle living on a lake, no joke. A pool is nice, but a lake is the way to go. No chemicals and more water.

Yesterday the temperature was over 90 as well, but I missed most of that. I spent the day at the office–the air conditioned office. That felt good. People used to just deal with this kind of heat. Granted, it didn’t typically last so long (we will have temperatures in the 80’s until Saturday, then one day of high 70’s, then back to 80’s and hotter again) but they dealt. People used to escape to Vermont to escape the heat of the city, however. Bad strategy these days.

Tomorrow I will paint again. A high of 95 is forecast. I will need to get started early and crank. No dilly dallying. Too bad I need to replace my brushes, which means a trip to the hardware store before I can start. But so be it. It will be hot, but I need to get this painting done. If I wait until it cools down, we will get rain. I would rather choose to do it in the heat than not have a choice to paint at all. And once I clean up, I will go swimming. Maybe even in a lake.