Wednesday, July 23, 2014


May 10. 2013 5:02PM

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Words to the wise: Paint samples are not paint. Did you know that? I didn’t, but I thought you might like to.

While gearing up for my personal celebration of National Painting Week, a.k.a. a few April days set aside by (naturally) a paint company to push product, I made a little — OK, big — mistake.

I suppose you can say I tried to game the system, but my intentions were pure. Still, I learned my lesson: Clearly you have a painting problem, you might need an intervention, and this might be the universe’s attempt to settle you down. (In self-defense, experts point to about a five- to seven-year itch when it comes to repainting a room, and in seven years, I’ve done most rooms no more than twice. Let’s ignore the spraying of small furnishings and such, shall we?)

The result of this little color-change obsession has been quite the accumulation of old paint cans, all messed up with no place to go. (The regular trash is a no-no, I’m told.) So what’s a roller-happy soul to do?

This Mother’s Day weekend, I hear my practical mom’s voice in one ear: Pssst; just stop painting. In fact, stop the madness in general; the house is fine. But this bears repeating: Mom and I are cut from similar but not the same cloths. Somewhere between the time I left the nest and now, I went off the rails. But that’s not the point.

The point is a perfect circumstantial storm conspired to make me rue the day I ever got paint in my head again: Back to back, Lowe’s and Sherwin-Williams were having sales too super to pass up. At the former, you got your choice of six solid-core interior doors for the price of an ordinary-looking hollow-core door. I stopped at four, three of them “primed and ready to paint.” Then, at the latter, the traditional 30 percent off sales suddenly shot up to 40 percent. Cheap doors and cheaper-than-usual paint? Took it as a go sign. So off to SW I went, asking for the “smallest available amount.” (To keep the can count down, of course.) A couple of cute sample jars, with delightful plastic screw caps, in hand, and the fun began. Only when two full doors were almost done and we needed a tad more did I have occasion to confess my accidental sin to the register lady, who looked at me like I had six heads.

You used this as actual paint? No no no, she said pityingly, samples are a fake product, designed merely to simulate color. Furthermore — now get this — they can’t be painted over or they’ll peel off and flake through the real paint. Oh. My. Ohmy-ohmy-ohmy. Impending tears equal understatement. Not only would we have to sand the fake stuff off, but then start from scratch.

Several days and a few tension-driven heated moments later, my helper and I finished the job again, and I vowed nevermore. This was finally too much; I promise to calm down now. And I did. Until the next day, when I called upon my favorite old pro and said I needed two more rooms done. Stat. (Before the sale ended.)

The good news? I love my new kitchen and basement colors. The bad? The new doors will look a little funny to discerning eyes. Haste makes special waste the second time around. But they’re good enough, I say proudly, whilst clutching my perfectionist’s reformation handbook.

“Good enough.” Good words. As simple and timeless as “listen to your mother.”

I should probably just hang out with her all day tomorrow. Talking about what I’m not going to do next.

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