At 8 am on a Saturday morning, I found myself standing before the paint chip selection at Lowes, holding a floor tile from my bathroom and two very different colors of paint. The first, a sandy tan color, blandly matched the tile and the second was a deep bluish-plum color. I did what anyone else would do in my vague state of confusion—I called Hallgirl1. She answered the phone, her voice thick with sleep. “What color should I paint the bathroom?” I asked. “A muddy tan color or a deep plum?”
“The tan will look dirty. Paint it purple,” she murmured and our conversation was finished and my decision made. I bought a gallon of the purple for the lower half of the wall, as well as a light silvery lilac for the upper half and ceiling to compliment the darker shade.
Although my home has fairly colorful walls (golden yellow in the living room, foyer and hallway, beige in the dining room, red and white in the kitchen, etc.) I have actually painted only one of the 10 rooms and two hallways in my home. This is because I am a horribly sloppy painter. I drip paint, smear paint, splatter paint—I have committed all kinds of carnage with paint. Painting is definitely not a talent of mine, but is a skill both daughters have picked up over the years as of result of me saying, “Oh, let’s paint the ___.”
As a result of my skills (or lack thereof), it’s been a few years since I’ve painted a room. However, today after I lugged home my two gallons of semi-gloss, I quickly recalled a few rules of painting.
- “If it looks like it will spill, then it will. You should not balance the roller pan of paint on the edge of the sink and think, “Oh, what are the chances it will fall?”, because it will fall. These odds will not work with playing the lottery, but they will work when the pan of paint falls on the floor (and not into the sink).
- Ladders should not be placed in the tub. Even if you need to reach the furthest corner of the 10 foot ceiling, you should never put the step ladder into the tub, not even only two legs of the ladder. Not even if there are the anti-slip flower decals in the bottom of the tub. They will not prevent the feet of the ladder from shifting in a challenging manner as you are climbing onto the top most rung of the ladder with a wet paintbrush in one hand and a pan full of paint in the other.
- Regardless of how much newspaper is put down under the paint can, it will not be enough. You will only realize this, however, after the paint has oozed down the side of the paint can and under the edge of the newspaper. Also, chances are good that the newspaper you do put down will be the one you have yet to read. You will only notice this though as you are cleaning up and the newspaper is covered with paint.
- Do not walk and paint the ceiling at the same time. You will step in the paint tray, even if you think the full paint tray is on the other side of the room. Looking at the ceiling and the roller on the end of an extension pole while walking is never a good idea. It is an even worse idea when there is a paint tray involved.
- There can never be enough clean up rags. Even if you have every single rag in the house within immediate reach, you will need to use the good bath towel to wipe paint off your foot so you do not track purple paint across the bathroom floor (see rule number 4).
- Wet paint sticks to all pets, including black cats. It will also stick to your ass as you back into the still wet wall while trying to refill the roller brush with more paint. It will also somehow mysteriously stick to the front of your hair, although you will never be quite certain how it got there. You will only realize that you have paint stuck to your hair after you have run to the grocery store because you have absolutely nothing to drink in the house, and the grocery clerk looks at you “funny”. This leads us to rule number 7…
- It is impossible to stay as clean as the people on HGTV when they paint. You will have paint crusted under your fingernails, hidden between your toes and sneakily stuck to your elbows. If you wear glasses, they will have tiny freckles of paint adhered to them. The tee-shirt you are wearing will from now on be known as your “painting shirt”. Regardless of what you use, how much you scrub, or how quickly it is treated, paint will not come out of this shirt. You should save this shirt and wear it each time you paint, as it will chart the color history of your home in years to come.
- Ohmygod” is not a color. These are the words that will immediately pop out of your mouth when you describe the paint color as you stand back and look at the wall you just painted and realize it is much lighter/darker/brighter than what was on the tiny paint swatch you held in your hand when you choose the paint color. Most likely, you will use these word again when you exit the room, then come back in. For the next few days.