Ten Tips for 50-Something Painters

My kitchen, dining, and sitting rooms connect in what I am now certain was the promoted “open concept layout” by its 1980’s era builder. I am sure this is a sneaky sales tool used by secretly sadistic contractors. The home at first appears spacious.

“I will be able to entertain with plenty of room for a three-piece band and dancing,” I say to myself.  It is, in reality, akin to Milton Bradley’s Time Bomb game.

Photo Courtesy: http://www.spookshows.com

The builder knew that someday, I’d be in my fifties, less limber and I would want to re-paint the interior.  It turns out that there’s no way to paint just one room at a time.  Oh no, the “open concept” means that walls extend from one room into another without so much as a door jamb to break them up.  Oh, when they sold the home to that 30-something buyer that was my former self, they undoubtedly laughed like Mutley.

Painting is one of my least desirable jobs.  Equally favorable would be stabbing myself in the eye with a fork.  Painting a home while you are living in it, especially the kitchen, challenges even the most patient people.

In order to accomplish the feat, you have to move everything in and out of each room at least twice, covering and uncovering.  Once the painting is complete, you’ll notice how shoddy everything else in the room looks by comparison.

Having accomplished two of the three rooms I am painting so far, I offer Ten Tips in the event you decide a similar endeavor.

1. Begin by locating the joists in the ceiling.  This is important for solid attachment of the grappling hooks you will need when you are ready to hang by your feet upside down, wedged between the wall and the piano to reach the base trim without blocking a primary walkway.

2. Make a list of supplies you will need.  Leave the list at home for your first trip to buy paint.

3. Buy the combination paint and primer. You will still need to apply two coats, but you won’t have to spend lots of time hunting for the correct paint can.

4. Choose your paint color wisely.  (There is a reason that most brands have booklets with matching color schemes.)  Rule of thumb: if it looks lousy on the wall when you first paint it, it will not magically get better.  Cut your losses, re-select a color, make your second trip to buy paint, and count the first, ugly coat as a primer.

5. With each trip for paint, remember to ask for a wooden stir stick for your collection.  They are an excellent substitute for the aforementioned fork in the eye.

6. Professional painters have a phrase known as “cutting in,” which means, they can paint into the corners, near the ceiling and at the floor without leaving any paint on the adjoining surfaces.  House paint, I believe, has something in it that causes the onset of a temporary Parkinson’s-like disorder in most non-professionals.  Try the alternative: painter’s tape, rolls and rolls of blue painter’s tape in a variety of widths.  Figure out how much you need, double it and buy it on your third trip to the store.

7. Buy the cheapest brushes known to man.  You can buy the expensive ones at ten times the cost on your fourth trip for paint.  Don’t forget to buy more painter’s tape.

8. Painting carefree requires accompaniment of a mixture of musical genres, so break out the iTunes and set it to continuously play your entire musical library in alphabetical order by song title.  When you are painting, there’s nothing comparable to working to Beethoven’s Symphony #9, immediately followed by the Black Eyed Peas’ Boom Boom Pow.  The shift allows you the ability to contemplate the lyrical genius that is:

I like that boom boom pow

Them chickens jackin’ my style

They try to copy my swagger

I’m on that next sh** now

9. Stop at a dollar store on your way to the paint store for the fifth time, and get a half-dozen child’s watercolor sets and a pair of tweezers*.  Set aside five of the paint brushes for touch ups after all is dry and you remove the blue tape.

*Trust me, when you remove the painters tape, tweezers will come in handy.

10. Work barefoot.  When you are through painting the room, you can touch up your partial pedicure using one of the watercolor brushes.  The sixth set of watercolors is so you have something to do during your free time at the spa where they send you to when you finish painting.


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