Monday, July 6, 2009

The Saga of the Cranberry Paint...

It's back to work after a long weekend today. These are some of the worst days to have to get up and go into the office. Mondays themselves are bad enough but after a three-day weekend they're worst. They loom like an unwelcome guest, their arrival inevitable and when the alarm goes off to wake us from sleep, we experience a moment of loathing, of hating that the weekend is over.

Of course, I say that after having one of those weekends that didn't really feel like a weekend. I had three days off but ask if I had fun and I'd have to answer with an honest, "not really."

You see, I painted my living room this weekend. I've mentioned in prior blogs that I wanted to do that before I moved in. I had my colours picked out: Cranberry and sage. I liked the samples, I knew I'd like the colour.

I still like the colour which, given the ordeal it put me through, is an amazing fact.

You see...I've never painted a room before. I've been either a parent's-house dweller or an apartment dweller my whole life. Painting wasn't really an option. So I was overjoyed to realize that now I own a house, I could paint it. I knew there'd be a learning curve, a series of trials and errors that are inevitable with each new experience. And, oh yes, believe me, there was a learning curve.

Last weekend, I happily went to Lowe's to obtain my cans of paint. I bought a can of "Cranberry" and a can of "Meadow" which is a pretty sage-green. My paint-mixer was a young man who expertly hit the right buttons to mix my paint and seemed to know what he was doing. So I asked him, "Do I need primer for the cranberry?" He looked at it and squinted and said, "No. It's our signature brand paint. It's one-coat coverage." I double-checked, he assured me it was one-coat coverage.

Let me tell is NOT one-coat coverage. As soon as I finished my masking and prepping and started to roll that paint onto the wall, I realized I was going to have a problem. In my inexperience, I wondered if I just needed to wait for the paint to dry and it would work its one-coat coverage magic. Nope. Coat after coat and it finally began looking like a cranberry. It took three cans of paint to give me an almost-covered room. I could still use another coat but for almost $30 a can, I've overstretched my budget considerably. Ironically, when I was buying my third gallon of paint, another man waited on me and when he handed me my cranberry paint, he said, "has anyone talked to you about this Cranberry?"
"Why, no," I said, through gritted teeth.
"Well," he said. "You're gonna need a primer. Most reds do."
I glared at him which made me feel a little bad because he was being nice. "That would have been helpful to know YESTERDAY," I said, politely. "This is my third can."
He looked a little pitying after that which made me feel less bad about glaring.
I did get my room painted. I realized I'm not adept at detail work and while the green goes nicely with the cranberry, I didn't do so well at making the edges of the room trim look that tidy. At this point in time, I don't really care. I had planned on doing two rooms in three days. I barely got one room done. I worked from about 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. It was not the most relaxing of weekends but it was productive.

In the end, I have a mostly-Cranberry room. As a messy Monkeypants, I managed to get rather a lot of paint on me. I painted barefoot so as not to mess up my shoes. This meant each day, I had rainbow feet and had to go home and scrub them off in the bathtub to return them to their non-painty state of being. There's nothing better than relaxing in the bath after a hard day of painting with a beer and a Sookie Stackhouse novel.
Of course, also as I am a messy Monkeypants, I made a bit of a splattered mess on the ceiling tooeven with my masking tape efforts. So I ended up painting the ceiling too. I worked hard on that, edging it properly and using an awful lot of muscle rolling above my head. I covered every surface but when I left the house yesterday to return to the blessedly unpainted walls of my apartment, I noticed it was looking a little patchy. I'm not going to pay any attention to that. I will say that to Lowes and your "Signature" paint by Valspar, it is not one-coat coverage in most cases and you probably should note that on your cans. After all, I used basic off-white ceiling paint and I made absolute sure I didn't miss a spot.'s still looking like I did miss spots. However, I do like how the good parts of the ceiling look with the cranberry and sage paint. So at least I'm mostly happy with the final result.

The irksome thing is that when people ask how the painting went and I tell them the Saga of the Cranberry Paint, the majority of people are very much, "Oh, you didn't know? You ALWAYS need primer for red paints." Um, yes...thank you, that's very helpful. Even when I asked some of the same people point-blank if they could offer tips and I told them my colour was cranberry, none of them piped up and said, "You'll definitely need primer." Why is it that people are only experts after the fact? It's like when you date someone and you have a nice time and then he dumps you because he's getting back with an ex-girlfriend. Everyone says, "Oh, you didn't know that he and Ms. X were almost engaged before?" or "Well, he only broke up with X a month ago." Naturally, he never told me and neither did they until after it's all over and you're left standing in the rubble feeling rather stupid and naive.

That's the part I hate: The feeling dumb. I know that, truthfully, I'm not dumb, I just didn't know. But as with everything, in hindsight, you realize you should have known better. I should have realized with my cranberry paint that I'd had to use a lot of paint when I did the edges of the room. Yet I was using a paintbrush; it's different from a roller.

I'm not holding anyone responsible for my snafu. The only person I'll hold responsible is me for not researching more deeply. I should have realized. However, I learned and future painting projects will be done a little more carefully. I have a colour called "Mulling Spices" for my bedroom. I don't think there's any red in it but you better believe I'm going to test out that colour first before I go nuts and try and paint the entire room.

Still, as I've said before and will say again, each day as a first-time homeowner is a new experience. I've now painted a room and can safely say that there are things I would do differently next time I paint. And since I have a whole can of "Mulling Spices" paint ready to go, that time is going to come sooner than later. I just hope that it's truly one-coat coverage. Hey, what can I say...I'm mostly an optimist. But I have a can of primer on hand...just in case.

Happy Monday.

1 comment:

Kate said...

I feel your pain--I am the worst painter ever. No matter how much blue tape or cool new painting contraption I buy, I have never been able to get that clean paint line that Martha Stewart always says is so easy. And for the record, I didn't know that you need primer for red paint either--and that would have really helped me when I painted my kitchen backsplash red, over and over again.