Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I meant to post yesterday, but I got caught up in another of our home improvement projects. It acted as a sort of black hole (as these things tend to do), sucking up every free minute of my day. I didn't even read a single page of New Scientist. That's bad. I usually find at least a few seconds every day to read a bit of something- even if it's just a couple of pages of a novel while I wait for the morning coffee to be ready. But yesterday?
Rien, nada and zip as far as reading goes.

JP had to leave on work trip for a couple of days . As he got out of the car, he asked me (and I quote): "If you have a two hours today, maybe you could finish painting the stairs?"

The italics are mine. They are Italics of Irony. If you are married, you are probably already aquainted with them.

As you may have guessed, the task took ...somewhat longer than two hours.

JP had already spent many, many hours on the project. It's a big staircase right in the middle of the house, with two flights and a big landing. He had to strip off the old vinyl, remove the thick layers of crusty old yellow glue, clean it with acid and then put on a coat of undercoat. And the fact that it's the only way up to the bedrooms and bathrooms made it even harder.

It's what you'd call a high-traffic area.

A couple of days ago, he finally got the point where he could start actually applying the paint. The paint can said "primrose yellow". Interestingly, this was NOT the color that my dear spouse and I had brought home from the paint store after about an hour of intense deliberation and negotiation. We had decided on and bought a sort of orangy color called "pottery".

That in mind, I was pretty...surprised when JP got out a can of pale yellow floor paint. Yes, even after 18 years of marriage, he can still surprise me. Unfortunately, the surprises do NOT ever seem to involve fine jewelery or dream vacations.

"I took back the other one" he told me.
In the interest of staying married another 18 years, I didn't say too much. Besides, if I killed him, I'd have to finish renovating the house all by myself.

So, completely unharmed, he opened up the paint and got started. I eventually wandered over to look at his handiwork in progress. It looked so ...white. Well, maybe a tad off-white, but certainly not primrose-colored. I know from primroses- I have a yard full of them. And the things are yellow, NOT white.

But the can of paint was open and we couldn't take it back, so JP kept painting. It looked better than grey cement, anyway. However, the job still wasn't nearly done when he had to leave for Switzerland, so he asked if I had two hours to put on the final coat and do the landing while he was gone for three days.

Yesterday I dropped him off and then came home ready to work. I reopened the can and stirred a bit. Streaks of yellow started appearing, which made me say "?????"

I stirred some more, just for fun, and all the paint started turning a nice shade of buttery yellow. Suddenly, the mystery of the "white" paint was solved.

Stirring takes care of that, apparently.

Newly armed with well-mixed paint, I started the first new and improved coat as Clio the Wonder Cat watched me carefully. The next thing she did, of course, was walk right across several newly-painted stairs and then leave primrose colored kitty pawmarks all across the wooden floors upstairs. I caught her and put her outside, only to turn around and see Mr. Darcy (cat 2) run up the stairs. I caught up with him in Tya's room, where he'd walked across the middle of her carpet and onto her bed...

After I got all that cleaned up and the cats out of the way, I made better progress. But it needed three coats and hours of drying time in between each.

The total time? Over three hours of painting and clean-up, plus the nine hours of drying time, during which kids and cats had to be kept out of the wet paint.
I'm still not quite sure what I think of the color. After struggling so hard to put it on, I'm sort of starting to like it. But maybe that's just a kind of decorating-type Stockholm-syndrome...


Pardon My French said...

Oh, I just laughed so hard at the cats. Poor Tya's bed, though... Did you hang a rope ladder outside the window or did you just not go up/down the stairs? After 9 hours I hope you were at least happy on the floor that you ended up. I can totally see me painting myself in a corner...

Pardon My French said...

Oh, yeah -- totally dig the Italics of Irony. I'm stealing that from you.

Beth said...

No rope ladder. To catch the cats and get rid of them, I had to go up to the next floor by scrambling up the bannister railing, sort of like Spiderman...only not. It was VERY undignified and I'm just lucky none of my kids was home with a cellphone to video it.

BTW: I hereby grant you complete access to the Italics of Irony. Use them well, my friend.

oreneta said...

OM goodness...that was so so so very funny.....I had to read it aloud to the man. Hilarious...and you were so nice and didn't even mention the giant paint lake he managed to make on the stairs!

Joy said...

LOL!! I am so glad that we are not the only ones with such stories of "two hour" jobs on reno projects that take, well, many many hours to completely finalize...

But the mystery of the white paint, is priceless!! I hope you acclimatize quickly to the yellow stairs...

Beth said...

Rocky- As I'd already employed the 'Italics of Irony' in this post, I thought it best not to ALSO use the 'Ghost of Mishaps Past'.
Glad you liked the post!!

Joy- The fact that I'd have to go to the store, buy another expensive can of paint, apply it and then keep the kids and pets off the stairs for hours is tending to make that primrose yellow really grow on me.

Kelly said...

Oh, men have a way of suggesting things, don't they? I feel bad for the cat. I'm sure he didn't want to make a mess. (I can't help it--I'm a cat person.)

Kudos to you for stirring the paint. Again, not surprised that the Man (applies to all men in the world) couldn't figure it out.