Covering Up

When I finally set out to cover up the scarred paint on a wall in the entrance of our home, my delusions of home improvement were met with the reality of pets and an inattentive teenager.


The scratched up, dark sage green wall in the entrance of our house screamed for attention, but I ignored it.  Years ago, I talked myself into trying a paint with texture and bought a sage green with sandy stuff mixed in it.  The effect was supposed to yield something other than what I got, I hope.  After Jay and I finished painting one wall, we stood back and decided that the other wall didn’t have to match.  I also read (after the fact) that the textured paint wasn’t recommended for high traffic areas; something the dude in dreads at Home Depot had not pointed out. 

With pets and children running through the house, dogs clawing to get out the front door and cats jumping up on the window sills, the newly painted wall quickly went from a blotchy sage green with texture to a very blemished wall.  In human terms, its appearance would not only have pock marks from acne, but scars from a bear attack and third degree burns.   The newly painted wall turned ugly years ago, but somehow we never really looked at it, refusing to listen to its cries for help.

Finally, the screaming became too loud to ignore and I went to Johnson’s Hardware to talk to Marie.  Home Depot and Lowe’s are great, but nothing can beat the small town expertise of knowing that the person you are talking to is the Paint Lady, the same person who has been there for years, remembers you and isn’t too busy to stop and give you advice.  Marie set me up, advising me to first cover my wall with a tinted primer and follow up with a coat of paint. 

As I painted last night, happily watching my scarred wall transform into an unblemished, paler shade of green, painting scenes came to my head.  The Karate Kid, using the wrist to move the brush up and down; up and down, not side to side.  Then they remade the movie and put Will Smith’s son, Jaden, in the lead.  I didn’t like it; remarkable what being Will Smith’s son will buy you.  Jaden was cute though when he was five or six and played the little boy with his dad in The Pursuit of Happyness.  Will Smith’s character, Christopher Gardner, was an admirable man, tenacious and smart.   He had to paint his apartment in that movie, before he got evicted and became homeless.  More painting. 

I’m ambidextrous with a dominant left hand, a skill that isn’t good enough for writing, but one I can use when I paint.  Without thinking, I switch the brush to a different hand to get a better angle.  I’ve even been known to paint fences with a brush in each hand, but I won’t swear to the quality of the work.  Amazing how when you paint, the walls instantly look clean, the dead bugs and stains covered up.  Amazing how you also notice how badly the baseboards need to be washed.  Or painted over.  No, scrubbing them clean better be good enough.  Baseboards are the next project.

My son Tyler and his friends came over, arriving via the front door.  They were careful not to touch the walls, but the barking dogs teased the wet paint with their enthusiastic tails.  Each cat that came to investigate was pushed against its will into a room, though one still managed to track little pale green paw prints on the floor.  I was able to use the Dog Whisperer method of claiming my space to keep the dogs away from me for the most part.  However, after I finished one section and moved on, Coraline, the younger dog, walked up to the wall and tasted it.  Thank goodness, one lick was enough to convince her that this was not a big green popsicle. 

After I’d been painting a couple of hours, my daughter Kelsey stopped by to survey my handiwork. “Do you like the new wall color?” I asked.

“It looks just like the old one,” she replied.  “I can’t tell the difference.”

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