May 27, 2009

Every summer, I have to paint our porch and deck with Olympic Wedgwood Blue. To begin, I need a sunny weekend and a gallon of the paint from Lowe’s, where I have to pass an annual Trial by Sales Clerk.

Last summer, the paint man said flatly, “They don’t make that color.” He slid the Olympic chart across the counter. “Okay,” I said, placing my fingertip on the chip in question, “how about Wedgwood Blue instead?”

This summer, the paint lady was familiar with Wedgwood Blue, but said, “What color was your can last year?” Curve ball. We went over to the paint rack and I pointed out the all-too-familiar can. She picked it up and read aloud, “Solid Color – Deck, Fence and Siding Stain?” I would have thought this was obvious, but perhaps she was so taken by my charm that she didn’t register the first half of our conversation, the part about painting my deck.

As painting projects go, I like painting the deck. It’s not a moving target; it’s basically horizontal; the paint does not run. You can’t spill.

At the outset, I pondered the merits of using a pressure washer or sander before painting. But I wanted to finish this job before lunch, and dismissed those notions with a shiver. A broom would have to do, leaving behind some dirt, rust, pine tar, bird crap and recently liberated paint chips to give the fresh paint some body and personality. As I worked on this windy day, these surface enrichments were joined by pine needles, bugs and blossoms which I smoothly painted under as they arrived. Just out of my reach, an unfortunate fly on his back, his wings blue-glued to the deck, will have to wait for the second coat for final internment.

When my wife asked if I planned on a second coat, I said, “Yes,” usually the right answer, and assured her that I would do that as soon as I could be sure the first coat had dried completely, next May.

I finished at 11:58 a.m., with two minutes to spare. The results are best viewed from the air, but the job is done and I am on to other pursuits.


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