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.

Garlic and Onions

This past fall I planted two varieties of garlic. One was ready before the other and that I started using, then pulled and braided so I can use it over time. The other variety has been ready to go for a couple weeks but I have not taken the time to yank it from the dirt and cure it to store it. Every day I think about it and tell myself I will get to it, but so far no dice. Tomorrow I hope to dig it up and start drying it. Seriously. Tomorrow.

I picked my first onions a couple days ago. I planted Cippolini onions–flat and sweet. They are tasty but hoo-ra! Those puppies do a number on the old tear ducts. When I chopped half an onion for my first salsa yesterday, I had to set down my knife. Dicing with eyes closed is hazardous. Luckily it was windy. I opened the window and it was enough to clear the air. I have gotten used to mild onions so I was surprised by this once typical occurrence. I will be ready next time. Seriously.

I need to pull more of those onions. They don’t keep well so I will have to use them fairly soon, but I might have some into the fall. Unless I use a lot of onions, which I tend to do in the fall especially. The bummer is how few onions I will get. I planted 48 small pots in late winter. Most of them sprouted, but I transplanted them too late–so goes my theory. I will have maybe 20 onions if I am lucky. The leeks also didn’t fair as well as I would have liked. Again, I think I planted them too late in the spring. They just wanted to get outdoors earlier. I can’t blame them. Last year I had a forest of leeks and only three onions, so I guess it all balances out.

Tomorrow I need to muck about in the dirt. I made some serious progress on painting the house today so the garden chores got delayed. Tomorrow, however, rain showers are forecast for the whole day. That means other projects might get some attention. I need to sort through our tax returns for the last 15 years. We don’t need to keep all of them, do we?  That task, however, will take a back seat to pulling garlic and maybe to making a batch of pesto. I guess I prefer food over finances.

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.

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  discount, 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?

Underestimating

So I got started early on this painting project. My idea was to get things sanded and primed, then maybe tomorrow morning I could paint. I would have time this afternoon to get enough paint to make it happen. I had the primer so I just had to crank. But it weren’t happening.

I had to fix a few boards, take off the stairs (they were starting to rot), and prune the landscaping all around the deck since it was rubbing and scraping. Then I could start sanding. And I did sand. It just took way longer than I anticipated. I had to stop and scrape at times, and change the paper on the sander. I stopped for lunch, and stopped when the sander busted. I thought the pad was simply loose, but it was, in fact, too worn to keep using. And I was missing a screw.

My wife and kids were off to the farm to collect our share of vegetables for the week, so I headed to the hardware store to get some stuff. I got a pad, and some new sanding paper disks, and some new safety goggles to replace my scratched ones, and some batteries while I was at it. But I could not get a screw. It was not to be had in that establishment. I headed home, knowing I would not finish today.

I went from painting tomorrow morning, to maybe just priming tomorrow morning, to finishing the sanding tomorrow, to nothin’. I didn’t even get the sanding done. The wood is just way too far gone. It would probably be easier to just replace all the dang decking, but apparently I like to make things hard on myself. I had the idea to at least replace the stairs today, but I had the little car, and I need a ten foot board–couldn’t carry it with that rig.

Everything is put away now. The majority of the deck is sanded, and all the wall next to it is sanded. I will finish another day. I am hoping I can order a couple screws and pick them up later this week. I won’t be able to get them for a couple of days anyway. This project will get completed. It is just taking longer than I would like. I hope the rest of the house doesn’t take longer than planned. Summer only lasts so long.

Painting Tomorrow?

Summer has arrived and the big house painting project needs to begin. Tomorrow? The weather should be fine. My plan is to get started early: sand and prime the deck and the wall next to it. If that goes well I might be able to paint all that the next day. I say might because we plan to travel to Montreal the next day, see the city and have a fine time of it, thank you very much. If I can squeeze some painting in before we leave, I will be better off. If not, it will have to wait until Friday or even Saturday. Too busy.

I will need some supplies, but not to get started. Once I get that first stint under my belt I will go get the supplies I need–more primer, more paint, a taller ladder. I can get most of the house but our ladder isn’t quite tall enough for the ends. So more tools are required. At least it will save us some cash.

I am fired up for this project. I fear I will not have enough time, but if the weather holds I think I can crank and make it happen. I had better. I should have gotten it done last summer.

So tomorrow I begin and see how far I get. If I can at least get the south and east sides of the house painted–they get the most sun–then I will have been successful enough. I hope to do it all, but who doesn’t?

My immediate problem is the wasps nests in the exterior deck light. One mud wasp and one yellow jacket.  I should rid the lamps of that nuisance this evening. If our insect friends stand for it. I don’t mind having them around. Don’t bother them and they won’t bother you. That seems to be the way it works. But these characters are making themselves a little too much at home, so I will need to suggest they leave or be slain.

Or I could paint their houses as well. But I don’t need more work than I’ve got with this project, eh?

Painting All Day and a Full Moon

The plan was to get started as soon as I could.  I needed to sand some more, so I figured I needed to wait until everyone was awake, at least.  But I didn’t wake up until late myself.  It was 8:00 before I was really moving about the house.  And I was the first one up.  Coffee, breakfast, water, making plans, all that happened before I got out there.  I sanded with the disc sander, then with the corner sander.  Then I taped.  Then I had to decide what to do with the windows.  Tape them or scrape them?  I decided to try a third method and scrape/wipe as I go.  And I realized I didn’t have a small paintbrush, as I had thought.

After a trip to the hardware store I began the actual painting–meaning dipping the brush into the primer and spreading the white stuff on the trim–at 11:30.  We have a small extension of the house in front of the deck.  It has an additional small piece of roof.  I decided to just do the trim on this section, not including the upper windows above this small roof or the windows off to the side on the same side of the house or the soffit along the roof proper, and I am glad I limited my ambitions.  After two hours of slapping on primer I was maybe a third finished.  I took a break for lunch and kept going.

I painted and painted.  I was not looking forward to the cross pieces on the windows.  They would require the most time and the most care.  The thing is, I don’t even like those things.  They are not necessary to the structure of the windows–one pane would do fine–and the house isn’t so old that that all those panes were the only option.  Plus, they block the view.  I have to bob and weave to see the sunset or to follow the harrier hovering over the field.  I wish they weren’t there and now I have to paint them with care.  I saved those for last.

These are tall windows I am painting at this point, the size of doors.  I decided to leave the two actual doors for later since I need to take them off to really paint them.  I’ll get to those when I paint the upper windows.  Still, that means four full length windows with ten panes each.  Painting those would be a bear I imagined.  I painted one, ten panes total, and it was late.  My family had already eaten dinner.  I wanted to keep plugging away.  I didn’t want to leave it for tomorrow since the oil-based paint needs a day to dry.  But since the remaining window panes had been covered by storm windows (which I removed before starting) they didn’t need primer.  I painted the bottoms where some water had leaked through over the past few years and I was done for now.

I was at it for eight hours.  That is a good day’s work.  The problem is that I still need to put the final coat on, the actual paint.  That will take me another day.  The other problem is that I still have most of the house to paint.  The other problem is that I am just working on the trim.  The siding will need to be painted as well, it just didn’t need it so badly this summer, or so I thought until I spent a bunch of time right next to it while painting the trim.  I have many many hours of work left to get this all done.  I understand why other people hire someone to paint their houses.  A team of people with the right tools who know what they are doing and have the time to just hammer it out?  That would get it done way faster and way better than me.  It just happens to cost thousands of dollars.  I’ll do it myself, at least this time.

I can’t quite figure out why one would use paint instead of stain these days.  Stain seems better for the wood and requires far less work to maintain.  Our last house was stained and (granted is was a little smaller) took me only a few days to refinish.  That was easy.  This is not.  Scrape it all off and stain it next time?  Sounds just as hairy.  Maybe next time I have to get this done, however, I will be better equipped.  I will know what I am doing and will have the tools and equipment.  I might be faster.  Or I could just pay someone to do it.  I hate to succumb to that but whew, this project is a beast.

Anyway, night has fallen and the air is cool and I have some peach ice cream under my belt, and I mean that last one literally.  I am not sure how much I will get done tomorrow.  We plan to head to the Addison County Field Days.  All this playing certainly gets in the way of painting.  One can’t do everything, however, and I, humble homeowner that I am, am simply doing what I can.  At the moment I plan to just enjoy watching the full moon peek out from behind the clouds.  That is enough for the time being.