Watching paint dry at midnight

Joan Fieldstone

January 5, 2015

By: Joan Fieldstone, Home Improv Advocate

In: PaintingInterior Home ImprovementInterior Design

A couple of months ago I blogged about hoarding home improvement supplies for the day when I would be able to proceed with the various projects that I have planned or that haven't yet been completed. There was a deal on Behr paint at The Home Depot, and I got 12 months of credit interest-free if I spent at least $299, so I stocked up.

I piled up the paint cans in my second-floor laundry room where I would see them frequently; then, I waited for BFF to have an afternoon free. She insists I am not competent enough to wield a paint roller ever since she found me in tears on my living room floor 12 years ago in the midst of a full-blown DIY-paint project meltdown. At the time I sustained a repetitive motion injury to my wrist that has never fully healed, and I needed a chiropractor to untwist my neck from painting the ceiling of my condo.

Not long after the painting debacle, I moved across country and asked BFF to spruce up said condo so I could sell it. She spent six months slowly renovating it, the results were truly spectacular, and it sold in a week. Meanwhile, I spent the next seven years living in rentals until she and I decided to buy mirror image, brand new, adjoining homes three-and-a-half years ago. Until last year, I didn't have any need to paint my living quarters.

New house or not, I was never happy with the "white box" I moved into.

white walls

I love color. It wasn't long before I had a solid excuse to paint: cleaning the scuffs off the builder's-grade paint was taking the texture off the walls down to the drywall. Thus, BFF found herself "volunteered" to assist me in painting my home to avoid having to correct my mistakes or rescue me from another DIY physical and emotional breakdown. (She's very precise, and finds my "technique" not up to her standards -- which is fine with me. My wrist and neck are very thankful.) But BFF actually has a life -- she just spent the better part of the year running for political office -- so I am grateful for any time she can offer to help me. Finally, last weekend she agreed to spend a couple of hours painting two walls in my bedroom so we could replace the temporary faux wood blinds with thermal curtains -- a more elegant, energy-efficient window treatment.

This is the sort of project you need to start early in the day, but knowing we were only going to attempt to paint two walls, we thought noon was early enough. She removed the old blinds, measured and drilled holes to install the curtain rod so she wouldn't have to drill through the uncured paint. Then she meticulously masked the windows, ceiling, and moldings and painted around them. By the time she was actually ready to roll the walls, it was time to break for dinner. She finished painting around midnight. Then we had to wait for the paint to dry so she could hang the curtains to a.) keep out the cold -- which was the whole point of installing them in the first place, and b.) keep the air traffic controllers in the tower at the airport across the street from having a birds' eye view into my bedroom.

The good news is that watching paint dry takes up very little time at all any more. We consumed a bowl of BFF's delicious, popped-from-scratch popcorn and watched a Netflix documentary, and then she was able to put the curtains up and move the furniture back. Not only that, but with the Behr low-odor, zero-VOC paint, I didn't gag on fumes. I didn't even have to sleep with the windows open in below-freezing weather, plus, the coverage is amazing -- another feat of nanotechnology for the home. Photos will have to wait until the bedroom is more or less finished, which at this rate, is anyone's guess when, but stay tuned. In the meantime, there is one less can of paint left to fall and clobber me.


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