I became obsessed with gloss white paint.
I admit it.
In my defense, I should point out that gloss white paint has a miraculous, generally unrecognized ability to cover up a multitude of sins. You can paint it on pretty much anything and said thing, whatever it is, will look brighter, cleaner and often like new.
Trust me on this.
I woke up one morning during our July visit determined to paint all of the upstairs woodwork—three doors and a large cupboard in the bedroom—by the end of the week. This sounded perfectly reasonable.
My plan was to paint two doors that day and ease my way through the rest of the project by week’s end.
But once I got started I couldn’t stop. The curse was upon me.
First of all, the cheap stained wood I was trying so industriously to disguise absorbed paint like a sponge.
Wouldn’t you know.
I would paint the upper half of the first door and by the time it had dried, the color had faded from pristine white to splotchy beige. This was disconcerting, to say the least, but I told myself to move on and paint the lower half. But I got the same effect all over again.
To make matters worse, the strip where the two coats overlapped, mid-way up the door, became gummy and turned yet another shade of oatmeal.
At noon Michael ostentatiously consulted his watch, sighed, and mentioned something about the beach. “I’ll be done soon,” I tossed out, barely believing my own words.
At 12:30 he began harrumphing and stuffing his beach towel into his backpack. “Any minute now,” I assured him.
At 1:00 p.m. he was gone. “I’ll take my bike,” he said. “When you’re done, just drive over to Secret Beach. We can put the bike in the back of the car when it’s time to come home.”
“Great idea,” I said, barely looking up from my labor. This paint wasn’t going to get the best of me.
By 3:00 p.m. I was sweaty, aching from head to toe, and covered in paint. And the job was far from finished.
At 3:15, in what I considered an amazing demonstration of free will, I tore myself away from my mission and jumped into the shower, determined to salvage a tiny bit of the day for myself.
At 3:30 I pulled out of the driveway. The sky was perfectly clear. By 3:40 I was halfway to the beach. I could hardly wait.
Then, out of nowhere, it began raining. Hard.
That’s when I saw Michael headed toward me, pedaling like hell. I stopped. He looked dejected but gritty.
He didn’t say a word. We loaded his bike into the back of the car and drove home, damp and frustrated.
At 4:00 p.m. I began painting again. Two of three doors were finished and I was ready to tackle the bedroom cupboard.
After a brief break for drinks (my work admittedly became a little sloppy at this point), I painted like a fiend until midnight.
First thing the next morning, I walked around inspecting my handiwork.
Then, like a reformed alcoholic tossing out his empties, I threw away my paint brushes.
All eight of them.
It was strangely cathartic.
And yet the fact remains: gloss white paint is a minor miracle