The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Things I've Learned While Painting the Bathroom

Subtitle: A strategically shaved monkey in coveralls would stand a better chance of passing as a painter than I would. (I do not, however, hold this against the monkey.)

1. The countertop around the sink, when covered with painting paraphernalia and draped with plastic, is not a good substitute for a ladder.
2. When discovering number 1, flailing is of little help, and will likely result in repainting of the wall that is flailed into.
3. My elbow does not actually look good in "pale sand" colored paint, any more than the wall is improved by the presence of an elbow print.
4. Should it be noticed that an area painted earlier appears to be a bit "thin", it is not wise to simply go over and brush a bit more paint on unless certain that the surface is not still tacky. This may be disregarded if there is a desire for wall "texture" formed of tiny balls of peeling latex.
5. Should number 4 be disregarded, wiping the offending area with a paper towel is a pefectly reasonable idea, assuming that further "texturing" with shreds of sticky paper towel is the aesthetic goal.
6. Numbers 4 & 5 will not ever occur in hidden areas behind the toilet, in back of the door, or even near the baseboard but at eye level immediately across from the door through which people will enter the room.
7. Eye level on the wall across from the door through which people will enter the room cannot be made into the right spot for a clock, mirror, or framed print no matter how hard you try....particularly seeing as how it's under a window.
8. Music can be a wonderful way to keep oneself motivated while performing a lengthy task. However, should you (like Ms. Knitingale) be inclined to shake your groove thing enthusiastically when Bob Seger starts singing about "Night Moves", you will want to either a) change radio stations, b) set down the paintbrush, or c) accept that little globbies of paint will be flying in an undesirable and erratic fashion.
9. Pursuant to number 8, latex paint is not nearly as tasty as you might think.
10. It is unwise to allow the cat into the bathroom while painting unless he/she is the precise color of your wall paint (few cats are actually "pale sand" colored). This piece of advice may be ignored, however, should hairy, shin-level borders come into style in the decorating world.
11. All paint droplets contain tiny homing devices, cleverly programmed to locate the smallest gap between dropcloth and wall. We all know this; we do not believe that it applies to us. (This is much the same as the way we do not truly believe that the discontinued yarn we've been hoarding will run out one inch shy of sweater completion. I put to you now that there is a fine line between optimism, and an hysterically sobbing woman, trying to convince herself that she really has one arm shorter than the other anyway. I think we all know which side of that line we want to be on.) For this reason, blue tape is your friend, even if it does seem to be slightly less sticky than the post-it note you found at the bottom of your purse three weeks ago.
11. Bending over in a small, freshly painted room is only a good idea if you really want to touch up your roots in "pale sand", or if you've painted the bathroom in Miss Clairol Dark Brown.
12. It is harder than you would think to get latex paint out of your hair.
13. If you assume that some of the wall paint will get on the ceiling so that it, too, will need to be painted, you will be a happier woman when all is said and done. There will be far less crying, anyway.

As to knitting, remember the pink cashmere sweater I'm making for my mom?

(It actually isn't "pancreas pink", by the way. That was a trick of the light, due to my misguided attempt to be all artsy and photograph the pieces on a bush outside. It really is a much nicer color.)

The front of this sweater is a lovely pattern of ribs, cables, and a lace panel in the middle. The lace pattern repeats over 10 rows, the cable repeats over 8 rows and, since my mother selfishly refuses to grow either a hump or a FF bustline to accomodate any errors in measurement, I also had to keep count of the total rows so front and back would match. (I know--what's happened to mother love??) But it was fine. In fact, it was interesting and pretty quick going. The back, however.....the back. Well, it's all k4p2 rib. All the way up. Which means it's a lot like eating soup with a fork: lots of movement, not a lot to show for it. But, after approximately 124 hours (no, I'm not listening to you--I'm absolutely CERTAIN there were 124 hours in the day yesterday) I'm almost to the armhole shaping. Thankfully the sleeves are short, so I should have this off the needles soon. Then I can obsess about what to knit next....and then start wishing IT was off the needles so I can obssess about what to knit next and......does anyone else feel dizzy, or is it just me?

Oh, and before I forget--thank you so, SO much for the comments. I LOVE comments. I've tried to answer people when there is contact information available; if not, I've been leaving answers in my own comment section. Mardi, I did that for your question about k4tog, but I'll put it here, too: I cope via liberal amounts of chocolate and creative profanity. The only other suggestion I have is to make sure you're using the sharpest needles you can find (I like Addis for this; I've been hearing that Knitpicks Options are even better). For my shawl I'm using Denise needles which are wonderful, but about as sharp as a spoon, so it's good that the yarn is fingering weight and the needle size is 5. Hang in there, Mardi. I hope you'll send a pic when the blanket is done.

Marianne, thank you so much for thinking I'm funny! I don't know if I've ever thought I was funny....but I've always thought that LIFE was funny, and I do enjoy pointing that out. (This has not always made me tremendously popular--like, when I was 8 and my devout, Calvin Christian Reform grandmother told me that "pride goeth before a fall" and I helpfully chirped back "No, Grandma--SUMMER goeth before fall". Lead balloon, people, lead balloon. I didn't even know my grandmother HAD the ability to make her mouth look like a white prune.) There are many things that I just find funny--for instance, rubber ducks, duck-billed platypus (bonus points for being funny looking AND having a funny name), the fact that my friend always calls those same animals "plat billed duckypusses" (cracks me up like you wouldn't believe) and, for some reason, cows. Not just any cows, but black and white dairy cows. They're just intrinsically funny. I tried to figure that out once, and suggested to Hubby that it might be the udders. I mean, c'mon--a bunch of pink fingers waving around underneath--that's funny. Hubby said no. He used to work dairy farms when he was young and remembers having nightmares about being attacked by udders. I know it makes me a bad wife and all....but....well, I think that's pretty darned funny, too.


  • At 9:25 PM, Blogger Kate_knits_a_bit said…

    You words of wisdom will, I hope, come to mind when we eventually take the plunge into homeownership and thence dip our toes into the murky waters of (fingers crossed) minor renovations.
    I wonder if my mum still has that old painting radio? So-called due to the speckled evidence of being the music source during the painting of 3 different bedrooms...
    Here's hoping any little accidents can be successfully transformed into 'design features' a la the YarnHarlot!

  • At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Marianne said…

    Oh my, yes dear one, you are funny, more than that, make me explode and snort, most likely because I can relate only too well.
    Sounds like the painting is coming right along and all points par for the course, and yeah, latex paint in the hair...make me scream, loud and long, but mostly internally.
    Your Mom's sweater is gorgeous, can't wait to see it finished and...see what next you find to obsess over.
    I must say I'm impressed with your writing...and posting so often..I'm working on it,but find so many things blocking the path, arghhh.

  • At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Jill said…

    Just started reading your blog. I find your humor almost level to that of the Harlot.

    Keep it up


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