Friday, October 17, 2014

Old Dog

You know that ancient saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” I am here to tell you that either a) it isn’t true, or b) I’m not old yet. I have been painting walls since I was 10, or thereabouts, but painting my office has managed to teach me a few things I hadn’t thought about. It’s also kept me too occupied and distracted to do any research into science things to talk about, so that will be next week, I hope.
1. Since my family was poor, I was instructed to “make that paint go as far as you can!” That means there are always streaks in my first coat to show where the paint brush went back and forth. Try as I might, I could not stop doing that, probably because I was trying to paint the entire room with 2 pints of different colors of paint, not a gallon of 1 color. A 2nd coat was absolutely necessary. And when I looked at my finished 1st wall, the streaks were not horribly noticeable, but in the proper light, I could still see some. The 2nd coat needs to be applied with the paint brush going at an angle to the strokes of the 1st coat. Those streaks disappear so much easier! Lesson learned: If your first attempt at a project doesn’t produce the result you want, try approaching it from a different angle.
2. I was taught to always tape around the wood trim, etc., that you don’t want painted. It doesn’t do me much good to carefully tape up the woodwork when the last person who painted this room didn’t bother. (Now, how am I supposed to get those bits of 25+ year-old splotches of white paint off the dark, dark wood?) Lesson learned: Always do your best, so as not to be ‘That Guy’ that makes more work for someone else.
3. The door of this room sits in a corner, in a small ‘alcove’ that’s barely larger than the door. The section of ‘wall’ to either side of the doorway is narrower than the paint brush I was using. In this case, an artist’s brush reached that area much easier than the brush I used on the rest of the room. Lesson learned: Get the proper tool.
So, even doing mundane things like painting a room can provide you with a few ‘learning’ moments. I love to learn, so I try to make the most of those moments.

How about you? Any tidbits you’ve learned recently while doing something mundane?

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