Dateline, July 5, 2016, Podunk, Illinois. rudyblues, local malcontent and all around grumpy old man, has decided to take the week off and paint the exterior trim on his house. That he made a decision at all is news enough for some, but that he has decided to do something productive is truly a man-bites-dog type of story. (If the ASPCA is listening, the dog is fine and is expected to make a full recovery).
Did I mention I was painting the house? Yes, that’s the same reaction I had when I made the decision. “Are you nuts?” Not that it’s all that big a deal. It’s really just the trim, since the whole thing is a small sea of vinyl siding. And it’s really just on the front of the house. But still, come on, it’s rudyblues we’re talking about here. The last time he decided to do something this ambitious Jimmy Carter was president!
Now, as you might be able to tell from the photo, my home has zero curb appeal. No, in fact, it has negative curb appeal. In a recent survey of passengers in autos that stopped when I flagged them down, and of pedestrians who weren’t fast enough to outrun me, a full 62% said the curb in front of my house was more appealing than my house. Now mind you, it is a fine curb, but it’s high time to improve my home’s curb appeal.
So, as with all home improvement projects, the first step was a trip to the local home improvement center. There’s no sense doing a big (big, really?) home improvement project until you’ve exhausted a few hours wending your way through the aisles of stuff. Besides, I needed paint. And a paint brush. And that neat thing that keeps the ladder from tipping over. And that multi-tool thingy. And, well, you get the idea.
Approximately two hours later, and with a plethora of things, including paint, to insure that the project would not fail from a lack of things, I faced my first challenge. As we all (should) know, the first step in painting is a thorough reading of all the fine print on the paint can. It’s important to do this before you start, since any fine print that may be on the can is immediately rendered illegible by the first rivulet of paint that runs down the side of the can. And that’s where the challenge arose.
Did I mention the last time rudyblues got this ambitious? When Carter was the U.S. President? You can do math, right? rudyblues is about a bazillion years old! And did I mention that fine print hasn’t gotten any bigger? In fact, I would argue it’s actually gotten smaller with the years, given the advances in printing technology. Well, it seems that way. It’s harder to read than the bottom line on the eye doctor’s chart, which I swear is actually just little ink blobs, they’re not really letters. Tiny little Rorschach images.
I’ve got the paint can, which isn’t really a can anymore, it’s a square plastic jug, and I’m peering at the fine print, moving my head up and down like some aging bobble-headed doll, trying to get the fine print just right in the bifocals. Nope, just like the bottom line on the eye doctor’s chart, illegible blobs.
Now I’m off to find the magnifying glass. Can’t start painting without reading the fine print. Might be something important, like “Never start painting on July 5, 2016,” or maybe “Caution, use by old farts is strictly prohibited by common sense!” You can never be too safe, especially if being safe aids in procrastination.
Thirty minutes later I have located the magnifying glass, and lo and behold, there are actually tiny little letters on the side of the paint container. Let’s stop calling it a can. It’s not really a can. Letters so small that, to anyone who doesn’t have the Hubble telescope at hand, they appear as tiny motes. Wow, that’s some printer!
Well, after a thorough review of all the fine print I could find (had to go to the web site, just to see if it was really there), I applied my first stroke of paint. The Dutch Masters would have been proud. And at the rate I’m going I may well be as old as the Dutch Masters before I finish.
Good thing I took the whole week off.