Sippican Cottage

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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Get Busy

[Editor’s Note: If you just stumbled in, we’re redecorating the master bedroom in a day and a half. ]

{Author’s Note: There is no editor}

It took too long to make the paint. I have to finish enough of the room on Saturday to put all the assorted flotsam and jetsam in the room in the finished part and press on to the finish line on Sunday. But there’s a limit to just how crummy a job I’m willing to do, no matter what kind of hurry I’m in. So look above to see what we use to prepare for the actual work. Well, that and yeso. And a vacuum cleaner.

What’s yeso you ask? It’s plaster in spanish. Everything comes labeled in Espanol et Francais these days, and yeso is so much more fun to say than plaster, so we go with it.

Here’s the room:
Please note that the floor is not finished either. Now, you pikers were wondering if I could repaint my bedroom in a day and a half. My indifference to your doubts can scarce be measured. If all I had to do was paint it, I’d be drunk by now. I’ve got to finish the floor, too.

You see, my wife and I suffered mightily to get our home. My wife, mostly. And we had to move into our Master Bedroom before it was complete, because the bedroom we had been sleeping in down the hall was promised to another family member, and that’s that. Hell, before we even had that room, the whole upstairs in our house was unfinished; and when we moved into our house at first, me, my wife, two cats, and eventually an infant slept in the room I’m currently typing this essay in. Cozy. So my wife never complained about this floor not being finished, because there was so much more floor than before that she hardly cared.

That’s pine plank flooring, screwed and pegged. Our whole house has it, except for ceramic tile in the bathrooms and kitchens. Many people think it’s extravagant. It cost less than wall to wall carpet, that’s why I did it. There’s a lot of sweat equity in it, though. Anyway, we’re going to finish it too. You people still taking action on the likelihood of me finishing?
Pull all the nails and hooks out of the walls. Remove the electrical cover plates. Lose all the screws. (Just kidding. Put the screws back in the electrical outlets after you remove the plates, or you’re fired) Mix a little yeso powder in water, and when it’s a thick doughy paste, use your putty knife to fill all the nail holes. Don’t listen to morons who tell you to mound it up because it will shrink. Scraping wet plaster off the wall is easy. Sanding is hard. Fill the hole, scrape all excess off, and two minutes later the plaster will be hard and you can fill it again to take care of the shrinkage problem. (Insert George Costanza joke here)

Caulk all the seams where the woodwork meets the plaster. You’ll never get a good looking job without doing this. Fill nailholes in woodwork with Dap 33 putty if necessary. Not many in a repaint. Sand all the woodwork first, and your yeso patches after, with 220 grit sandpaper. Vacuum everything. Now vacuum everything again, you did a lousy job. Now we actually paint something.

What color is the trim going to be? The pinkish tone of the existing woodwork ain’t cutting it. I need something whiter, but not white. Hey, here’s a gallon of Benjamin Moore alkyd satin “White Dove.” White Dove is never called “White Dove” by the female customers. They call it “Dove White,” no matter how many times they hear it said or see it written “White Dove,” and Benjamin Moore should just give up and call it that. Old Ben throws a little earth tone in white, probably raw or burnt umber, and it makes a nice warm pale gray. And I have some. Warren G. Harding’s paint shaker to the rescue!

Use a natural bristle brush in a real paint pot (Never the can. Never.) Cut in (paint in a straight line) the crown moulding, and around the standing (vertical) moulding where it meets the walls. Leave the running (horizontal) moulding till you’ve painted the walls. Paint the baseboard after everything else because it’s dirty down there, no matter how many times you vacuum.

You’re supposed to let that dry overnight. Not bloody likely. Don’t get a lot on the walls, eat dinner, and go back and give the walls two coats of green with a synthetic bristle brush to cut in, and a roller for the field. Get everywhere you can reach now, because that’s where you’ve got to put the furniture tomorrow to get the rest of the room.

And don’t make a mess! The first sentence in the stipulations of any painting contract reads:

Protection of surfaces not to be painted.

Duh. If you’re making a mess, you’re doing it wrong.

You get two cracks at drawing a straight line where green meets white, and let me say a word about doing it.

I don’t have time to use adhesive tape to draw a straight line. The place the tape would go is covered in wet paint anyway. And if you go to the paint store, you’ll see one doogizmo after another being sold to allow you to cheat and achieve this straight line. Forget all of them, and the tape too.

People in recent memory generally had all sorts of hand skills and practical knowledge we are all oblivious to now. They could split wood properly, and sharpen a handsaw, and fix a two stroke engine, and limb trees, and all sorts of things that are lost in the mists of time for most of us now. But there are a few hand skills that any self respecting handy person should acquire. And painting a straight line between the wall and the ceiling or the wall and a doorframe should be one of them. You’ll go slow for a while, but you’ll get it. Me? I told you, I’m the Prince of Darkness.

It’s getting late on Saturday, and about 1/3 of the room is painted. What the hell am I going to do about the floor?

(to be continued)

8 Responses

  1. So much for the immediacy of the Internet! (I know, I know, you were to busy painting to post all this stuff. And it’s always a good idea to stretch inspiration out over several days.)

  2. Ah, the zen of the straight line. I have a brush that I comb, like a small childs hair, and savor the chiseled line that frequent razoring produces. Lets not even talk about chisels themselves. Different kind of zen. And not to forget, production. We needs production. Even a painter needs, oh skip it . . .

  3. walrus is always calling me out. In the union, it’s known as “don’t kill the job.” In regular parlance, it’s known as “milking it.”

    I oughta get a week of material of varying quality out of painting my room, easy.

  4. I like the green. That’s what we did when we repainted our last bedroom.

    I’m with you on the wood floors. When we moved into our current house, we ripped up all the wall-to-wall carpeting. Another reason the 70s were the ugly decade — everyone covered up beautiful oak floors with green and gold shag.

    Nice wainscotting, too. Your work, I presume?

  5. pastor jeff- If you don’t die of old age or boredom, I’ll show some more of the woodwork later.

    As far as the wainscoting, I was building everything in the house at that point, so I’ll take the blame or the credit for whatever you see, in whatever measure you see fit to parse it out.

  6. Me, I’m laughin’ my ass off over the whole spectacle! Mind, with you, not at you, my friend…

    My own painting adventures are similar…

  7. Sanding is hard.

    In a former residence, I had to replace a leaky toilet seal and rebuild the downstairs closet it had mildewed. Some friends “helped” by mudding while I worked elsewhere. One apparently followed the school of thought “If a little is good, a lot is better.” I must have sanded that miserable little closet for three hours.

    In our current house, I got lazy on finishing the basement and hired out the mudding and taping. I still had to go back to fill in gaps and and smooth out ridges.

    “If you want it done right…

    … hire Sippican, apparently.”

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