Painting . . . and Stupidity

I got up on Saturday morning and started painting and I did not stop save to hike 2.6 miles up a really steep mountain in nearby upstate, NY this afternoon in light flurries.

Because of hunters I wore an orange vest over my puffy layers of jackets, a glowing freak of nature with a huge upper-body and pencil-thin legs. But I’m off track now, back to painting.  

I am proud of my ability to paint, in fact Julie often marvels at my skill: how straight I can cut in a line, where to cut corners, and how to pick the right paint for the right spot. I spent quite a few summers during high school and college painting, not to mention the odd job here and there since. Oh, and we always live in handyman specials that need to be renovated and, you guessed it, painted. We’ve painted so many houses that Julie has gotten really good at it too.

So my pride and credibility took a big hit this weekend. Really big hit. First of all, I got my semi-gloss and high-gloss trim paint mixed up. But hey, haven’t we all done that at one point or another. Not a problem.

The real problem happened when Julie came home from shopping on Saturday and saw the bathroom I had just finished painting. Our bathroom has been the most unsightly part of our house until now, and even so it has a ways to go. Everything, the tub, sink, and toilet, is tan. The cheap, beaten down linoleum is stained in places a sickly yellow from a time in the past when the heater broke (in the next room over). The walls are stained with nicotine from the last owner, and generally disgusting.

I painted the walls a crisp Mediterranean blue that Julie lobbied for, and she hit the color dead on. The trim is a bright white (high gloss by the way). And when she saw that transformation, she looked at our kitchen, our dull, ugly kitchen and got a fire in her. Oh, did she ever. I went along with it and helped set up the drop cloths.

Our kitchen had wall paper with a yellow nicotine stain that Julie removed a month ago, but still looks pretty shabby right now with stained plywood cabinets and blah colored walls. Julie looked up the best way to paint stained wood and the web site recommended primer AND SEALER.

I said, “Yeah, yeah, of course we’ll use that.” Is there any other kind? Well, yes, there is just plain primer. And for not recognizing that I can say I am also just plain dumb. Julie even looked at the can and said, “Are you sure.” “Yeah, yeah, I wouldn’t buy anything but primer and sealer.” Well, apparently at the hardware store I didn’t look very closely. Just primer.

After we painstakingly primed last night and this morning, I applied some of the fresh white semi-gloss paint to the cabinets, because paint is the best way to hide cheap junk, and soon found that it didn’t quite cover yellowish stains coming through. I checked the can.


I was trying to think of my penance for this. There just aren’t enough walls that I can beat my head against for that one. Pride, over-confidence, stupidity: you name it. Julie groaned, “You mean we have prime ALL of it again?”

There are times when experience and expertise can drag us down, causing us to overlook the helpful insights of others and the glaring mistakes we can jump into so easily. Thankfully, Julie forgave this horrible oversight, albeit, very quickly.

I think my penance will involve opening a can of primer and sealer, dipping a brush into it, and applying it to our kitchen cabinets tomorrow.

2 thoughts on “Painting . . . and Stupidity

  1. grace

    Sorry about the redo. That is always discouraging. As a retired remodeler, I am always interested in hearing about peoples’ projects. And of course would love to see pictures of your transformations.

  2. ed Post author

    Will do. I’m waiting for the paint on the cabinets to dry.

    And actually, I found out that while the paint store said they had put a gallon on high gloss in my box, it ended up being semi-gloss, so we’re all straight on that front. Regarding the number of coats required, we actually needed all four coats and probably could have done five in some spots. Everything looks quite good now.

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