Thursday, March 26, 2009

primed for disaster

I enjoy painting about 10 times more than the next person, but I think I’ve had my fill. First there was the bedroom nook, which thus far has been the simplest part of the process. 2 coats, wham bam, lots of TED conferences watched, NPR coma attained, minimal furniture moved.

The remainder of the room has proved to be nothing short of a nightmare. We went for a bright yellow color to offset the warm blue/green of the nook (previously the bedroom color from Atlanta, which is double bonus points because we didn't have to buy the paint). Both the Sauce and I have an aversion to mild yellows. It’s too hard to find one that doesn't remind me of either cat barf or the pastel color of my grandmother's underwear. So we went with something that should have come with an exclamation point after the name(!) . Now, I should tell you that the existing wall color was an olive/pea soup green. Think dark and almost military. My painting nickname, if such a thing were cool and actually existed, would be "she who does not prime", or "screw priming" for short. I’ve never actually been burned by my resistance to priming, but I’ve paid for all of my priming arrogance.

Oh, how I’ve paid.

The first coat of yellow(!) covered about as well as trying to smear cold cream cheese on a warm bagel. I got through the second round of cut-in (also known as edging, or painting the corners, or brushwork, or anything that doesn't involve a roller), and was dismayed at the continued streakiness. Usually by that point I can tell that the second coat will do the trick, but that olive green continued to eyeball me from underneath 2 heavy coats of yellow(!). Sensing futility, I decided to roll a patch of wall to see just how well it would cover the spotty mess I’d made. 4 coats later (in that one patch), I could still see a shadow of green.

There are times in life when shortcuts can be rather useful, but painting is one of those things that doesn't lend itself well to trickery. Back to Lowes I went. A coat of "high cover" primer later, and I was back in business. Until I ran out of yellow(!) on the opposite wall. I’d wasted so much paint that 2 gallons weren't enough to cover 2 long walls of a studio apartment.

Wait, it gets worse. The longer I stared at the yellow(!), the more it made me want to hide in the closet with the cats. The walls were yelling at me (yellow? yelling? not a coincidence my friend) I tried to like it. I really did, but every time someone came over, I felt the need to say that it wasn't exactly my first choice, which is never a good sign. (sorry charrow, I know we decided "together" but I was trying to be compromising, and I figured I was judging too quickly)

So we picked a new color. I primed (take that, yellow(!)), I painted 2 coats, and now I’m sitting on the futon staring at the fruits of my many, many days of labor. The name is dull (veridian green), but the color is so relaxing that I can't actually think of something interesting to compare it to. I may have to stop writing this post to go take a nap.

My own personal groundhog day has ended, and I’m thankful that it involved cat puke* instead of Andy McDowell. Let's hope the kitchen goes more smoothly.

*I'm hoping the high volume of cat puke over the last week is a coincidence and I'm not inadvertently causing them brain damage with the paint fumes. Petey does not need any more reasons to act challenged.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

sometimes opposites should attract

There's a roach somewhere in the kitchen right now. It's taken almost 3 months for one of the not-so-little pests to appear, and I'm sad to see the honeymoon period end.

We generally try to wash the dishes throughout the day or right before going to bed because it's annoying to stumble into the kitchen with one thing in mind (coffee) and have to jockey for faucet access to get water into the electric kettle. So last night when we got home from a rousing game of Settlers of Catan (one in which I fortified my position as biggest loser), Charrow started on the task while I tended to the socially acceptable food grubbers. A minute later, there was a clatter of silverware and Charrow scrambled out of the kitchen with the water running full blast.

Not knowing exactly what the problem was, I stepped into the kitchen unarmed. This turned out to be a critical mistake because the first time I spotted the palm sized roach was the only time I had a clear shot at it. Granted, it would have been hard to take aim and scream at the same time, but I still wish I'd had the forethought to pick up a shoe. By the time I grabbed a Chaco from underneath my dresser and returned to the scene, the intruder was gone. I staked it out while Charrow finished the dishes, but it never came back into the smashing zone. It did reappear for a minute, but it deftly used the edge of the microwave as a shelter, and then it was gone.

The problem with roaches is that I hate them as much as Charrow does, but because she can't stand still long enough to kill them, the task has fallen under my jurisdiction. I feel obligated to assume the responsibility because she's willing to remove the dreaded arachnids for me, even if it requires getting dressed for a late night catch and release. But the truth is, I'm horrible at killing roaches. The bigger they are, the more I yelp and the less accurate I am with a shoe. All I can picture when I'm about to strike a blow is the fact that I'm going to miss and the damn thing will scurry towards me and gnaw my nose off (because apparently they DO bite).

THE LESSON: fall in love with someone who fears different multi-legged invaders than yourself or you'll both end up screaming from atop the highest point in your living room OR make sure you get cats that enjoy crunching on just about anything that wiggles.