Thursday, August 25, 2011


As I am doing just a little paint job in the basement renovation project, I am remembering the summer I learned to paint. In addition to learning how little I really knew about painting, I quickly learned that music with a beat is essential to what is an incredibly boring and messy job.

I was 16 and I was going off to “Math Camp” at FSU for 6 weeks mid-summer. I desperately wanted to earn what I thought was some quick money before leaving home. My parents offered me $20 a room to paint the three bedrooms of our house. It sounded so simple.

I hadn’t considered the cleaning and prep work. I hadn’t considered cleaning brushes loaded with oil-based enamel. I really hadn’t considered how long it would take.

Having always been a child of little patience, I am sure I vented my frustration. But I turned up the volume on the transistor radio and stuck it out until the job was done.

Meanwhile I learned the lyrics of every popular song of that summer. Songs like Sweet Talkin’ Guy, Cool Jerk, Double Shot, When a Man Loves a Woman. At that point I couldn’t identify with the emotions they sang about, but I knew all the words.

It would be a few weeks later that I would first fall in love. Math Camp was the first time I felt cool in the least. When you are with 25 other geeky teenagers, it isn’t so difficult.

But I digress. The painting lessons of that summer have stayed with me. I seldom take on a painting job in the house because I tend to be too much of a perfectionist. I can tolerate someone else’s imperfection, but my own drives me crazy.

However, I am trying to save money on the basement project and I figured I can probably do a primer and 2 coats on the wood framing the shelving in 6 hours. The job has to be done by next Tuesday when the roller shades are being installed on the shelves.

Yesterday I thoroughly cleaned the area to be painted. Tonight I did the primer, counting down the 8 sections of shelving. Not so bad. No big spills. No falls off the ladder. Brush is clean and ready for the next coat tomorrow.

I’m glad I didn’t have to paint as a profession, but I’m also glad I learned how in the summer of ’66.


Blogger e said...

I admire your thrift and stick-to-it approach. I hope all goes well.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

E -- My impatience sticks with me. I just said to my husband, "Maybe I can get by with one coat (after the primer)." I'm enjoying the craziness of this project and look forward to being able to exercise in a more pleasant place!

11:34 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

I love to paint (rooms that is, not artistic kinds of stuff). I put on good music and sing until the room is completed. Singing is a great passion of mine. BTW, I have been meaning to email you to ask if you have the warblers cd (from glee). If not I will copy and send it off to you asap. xo

11:54 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Gary -- I didn't realize there was a Warblers CD. I thought I had every Glee-related CD available! Of course I would love it if you have time. Tomorrow's painting music will be from Glee!

12:03 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

You got it cupcake!

12:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy cow. That is the tidiest basement I've ever seen!


1:03 AM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

Thank goodness for latex, right? Painting shelves is tedious work, but it's going to look fabulous when you get it all finished.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Gary -- Thanks a million!

Anon -- It's still a basement.

Cyndy -- I'm actually cheating. I'm only painting the wood that will show when the roller shades are in. It's a compromise on cost and on my sanity.

9:03 AM  

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