Monday, June 22, 2020

I know how to paint. Yes. Really.

Today I applied a coat of primer to an ugly 4' x 3' board near the front entrance of my house at the top of a steep hill  (In case you do not know this, primer is a kind of paint that "primes" the surface to more readily absorb the next coat of paint in the target color.)

PG&E mounted its electric meter on this ugly board, and  refuses to reinstall it with something less ugly.  That's why I decided to paint it.

Since humans do not read meters anymore, PG&E could have installed the meter close to the ground in a small container.  The meter provides the homeowner's electricity usage data when a truck drives by and "wirelessly" scans  the meter.   But getting PG&E to do anything is to rage against the machine (not the band by the same name, but rather, to put energy into pointless attempts of reformation of cultural imperialism).  It is just easier to paint, and ultimately camouflage, the unsightly, poor workmanship of PG&E.

I put on my painting clothes.  I gathered up old newspapers, about six clean rags, the one gallon can of primer, a screw driver, a stirring stick, a paint rolling pan, and a brush.  The paint rolling pan was not strictly necessary because I was not using a roller (the surface was way too uneven), but I did not have a more appropriate small container for the primer.  So why use a paint rolling pan -- why not put the brush directly into the can of primer?  Several reasons:   (1)  I am painting outside and there's a breeze, so little bits of debris could blow into the can of primer and contaminate it.  (2)  I am painting at the top of a rugged hill and one misstep would tip the can of primer over and depending how fast I am, something like half of the primer would now be soaked in the ground.   So the trick is to pour just enough primer into the paint rolling pan, so that I would have enough primer to cover the ugly board, and be out of paint when I had finished priming.  That way, no paint is wasted, and I do not have to make an extra trip to refill the paint rolling pan with more primer.  I estimated this perfectly; when I finished priming I had about a teaspoon of paint left in the paint rolling pan.

While I was applying primer, my husband came to the front door and called out "You need a roller."  I ignored him.  My husband knows nothing about painting.  My husband grew up in Southern California, where, if something needed to be painted in your house, you either moved, or you hired Mexican day laborers that you met outside the hardware store.  They know how to do painting.

My painting disturbs my husband because I am a middle-aged white lady, and he thinks it is a job for Mexican day laborers.  Also, every time we have decided something needs painting, he volunteers to pick out the color.  He returns from the paint store with one quart of the color he selected for a 12' x 12' room.  I go back to the store to buy two gallons in the color he selected and a gallon of primer.

But then another thing happened while I was applying primer on the PG&E ugly board.  The young man who lives next door came by and looked at me with grave concern, "Do you want me to handle that for you?" he asks.  "Well," I reply, "I have all my painting clothes on and I am in the middle of it, so it is probably best for me to just finish."  I think about saying "I know how to paint.  Really."  The young man chats about landscaping and then he leaves. 

Yes I am a middle aged white lady and yes I know how to paint.