I started the project humming "I am woman," and ended it with a scary rendition of, "Help, I need somebody." Not surprising, the love of my life prefers to sing, “I told you so.”
Not sure why but I always seem to be in a hurry to get everything done but when I announced my intention of beginning a very large painting project, he laughed and asked if he should cancel his plans to help me. I laughed. I let him know I was more than capable of painting, although we both knew I’m really not.
After he gave me lessons of properly "cutting in" the room, stirring the paint, quantity of paint on rollers and covering the floors, I gave him the nod, even though he knew I hadn't been listening.
It started with the five-gallon paint bucket. The tab going around the top simply said tear this tab. After 10 minutes of tugging on the lid, I went to look for a hack saw. Not to worry though, since I had remembered to put down an oversized tarp on the floor. It reminded me of a moonwalk which had deflated and was two times too big as I walked across mounds of extra tarp, making it sound like a continuous combustion of plastic wrap, which was a bit distracting.
The angle of the brush is key, he pointed out, so you don't get paint on the woodwork. Really, I thought, how hard can it be? After tackling the first doorway and wiping paint off faster than I was putting on, I reached for the straight edge he sent with me, "just in case you can’t get the angle right." I still couldn’t get it right.
Make sure you get the brushes and rollers clean at the end of the day, he said. I think I would have rather just thrown them away and started over the next day with new ones after rinsing for 15 minutes and paint still squeezing out of them. I’m fairly certain they never really come clean.
Eventually I had to change into flip-flops after spending quality time wiping painted footprints off the carpet. His words "enough paint to cover, but not too much to drip" came to mind as I looked at the walls, as they began to dry. They looked like swiped, drippy, blotchy boundaries of a mess.
As I sat on the floor with achy arms and paint under my fingernails, I did what every independent woman dreads. I called him for help.
He could have said "I told you so" or "didn’t you listen to any of my painting instructions?" Instead he suggested I just mow the grass and not worry about painting. When I came back in, it was all done.
The project ended on a happy note and he can sing me any song, any day.
-- Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org