Watching paint dry

Robert Benchley wrote, “Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment.” My life is dedicated to proving this true. This summer there are many things I should be doing: building and expanding and updating websites for clients, reviewing and responding to manuscripts for Inkburns as well as sending contracts and payment to contributors, renovating my own business sites and operations, writing, and so on.

And so, I started a project to repaint the entire interior of my house.

I’m making great progress. The house is in a classic 50s ranch style, so I’ve chosen bright colors from that period, a different color for every room. I’ve reached the halfway point in the painting project: Where once all was a uniform off-white, now the kitchen is chartreuse, the living room is sunbeam yellow, the hallway one coat into its transformation to avocado.

For example:
(Note, despite the clutter restored post-painting, the celebratory and near-empty bottle of bourbon on the counter.)


We had a mishap in the powder room, where moisture issues left the pink flamingo walls intact but caused the ceiling paint to peel in the corners; but soon that too will be repaired, in some way I haven’t quite devised.

This picture captures the best of it: my quirky-weird color choices and precise yet particular color combinations, prepping with blue painter’s tape on the workwork and the electrical outlets and HVAC controls (my parents watch the home improvement cable channels and told me repeatedly that I must “get the blue tape” — and to my surprise they were correct … it’s a wonderous product, although for me the purple tape is better), the nasty shag carpet still protecting the hall floor until I finish painting and can rip it out, my grandmother’s old furniture in a bedroom that has yet to be painted:

More of the hall with the blue tape protecting the woodwork, with the absurdly avocado paint:

The living room, with a ladder I inherited from previous owners of the house and with a friendlier warm yellow paint (Sunbeam Yellow from Sherwin-Williams, if you’re curious (yellow)):

Next we finish the living room and begin work on the dining room and office and master bedroom. Newly ordered furniture arrives within the next two weeks, and space for the current furniture will be found as we create a basement rec room of sorts.

Now, most anyone who knows painting might look at the number of rooms I’ve finished and think of the three weeks that have passed since I started this and say, “Damn, you’re slow.”

In a sense this is true, in that at least forty-eight hours pass between when I start any room and when I finish.

However, such a person is not accounting for my lethal combination of painting inexperience and perfectionism. Everything here is new to me, and I must complete it flawlessly. And therefore, slowly. Also, I do attend to other work in between painting escapades.

My brother is helping me, but he is worse than I am: He studied architecture and fine art in college, so he worries every line and brush stroke. (Proof: He was laid off from a manufacturing job recently in part for doing his job too carefully.) We do have a fine time getting every trim line right, and he’s both taller and stronger than I and so able to do the ceiling rolling work. We listen to the Pittsburgh Pirates on the radio as we paint. Or we put Tom Waits on random on the iPod; we wonder aloud why we can’t get anyone else to listen to more than three of his songs and debate whether his music classifies as “pop music” because it’s generated for an unspecified, presumably “popular” audience.

And so it continues.

As a burned-in-the-bone marketer I continue to search for a proper name for this project, to give it an identity as well as to partially excuse the effort going into it. I have toyed with “The Sistine Chapel Project,” but there’s only a little bit of ceiling work and paint-in-the-eyes-and-hair strain. Given the number of colors I thought about “The Crayola Project.” What I’m discovering (yet again) is that I’m a better project manager than copy writer/creative. The work will be finished before I come up with a label for it.