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.