Monday, May 19, 2008

why do I even bother?

Ever notice how sometimes the most mundane household chores turn into ludicrously complicated and nearly insurmountable tasks? Simple things. Like, oh, for instance, painting. The basement stairs. It should be easy, right? Not too involved. Vacuum. Wash. Maybe sand a bit. Paint. Done.
Not so fast, sucka!

Around here, it gets a wee bit more complicated. First, I have to consider that Caitie lives in the basement. Second, the door to the backyard is on the landing to the basement. This means there is regular traffic on the stairs, so any painting has to be done after all traffic ceases for the evening, which is generally around midnight or later. That doesn't leave a very big window right there.

Then, there are all the other little things to think about, such as: which way do I paint? If I start at the top and work my way down, (the easiest and most obvious choice) I'd be trapped in the basement all night, unless I'm willing to climb through a window, which I'm not. If I start at the bottom and work my way up, well...as you can imagine, it can be a difficult balancing act.

Finally, there's the problem of the drifting dust bunnies and tumbleweeds made of dog hair. No matter how thoroughly I vacuum, by the time I've washed the surface and let it dry and start to paint, the hair is back! On that point I've given up...I just think of the hair as texture now.

So this weekend, when I realized Caitie would be away for a few days, I thought I'd seize the opportunity and get the job done. I vacuumed thoroughly, washed (scoured) the stairs, and let all the animals out one last time for a pee and late night romp, and assessed the situation. I painted from the landing to the bottom, leaving a trail about 6" wide on the top few stairs as a path to get out, then balanced precariously on those spots to paint out the trail behind me as I ascended. It was a little tricky, and I only got paint on my ass once while backing up the stairs...and did I mention I was in my pajamas?

The next part of the plan involved placing a baby gate at the very top of the stairs so nobody could violate the fresh paint while it was drying overnight, then painting my way down to the landing and out the back door. I could then reenter the house through the front door. There used to be a gate, complete with hardware, at the top of the stairs, but it had become redundant when we put a gate across the lower stairs. I decided to improvise by wedging a gate across the top step as a temporary barrier. We've learned that the dogs are so used to the barriers that they don't even bother to test them anymore. We could probably make a gate out of crepe paper at this point and it would be an adequate deterrent. (What can I say? They're not the brightest bulbs in the pack.) The cats, however, are another matter entirely...I'm pretty sure you can guess what happened next:


Needless to say, just as I was painting myself out the back door, the gate game crashing down, followed (or maybe preceded by) one crazed long-haired cat bouncing off the wet stairs, the wall, and then leaping over me and shooting out the back gate into the night. When I was done cursing like a longshoreman and wiping the paint off my back, I went to look for him so I could wash him off before the paint dried (a foolhardy venture, best not attempted sober), but he was nowhere to be found. Until the next morning, that is. He came sauntering in for breakfast as if nothing had happened, his butt and paws and chin and tail covered with dried paint embedded with leaves and all manner of stuff from under the porch where he had obviously spent the night...




He left me with no other choice but to break out the scissors.


6 comments:

Magpie said...

I don't know which picture I like best - the cat with the paint on his hind quarters, or the one with purple squiqqle illustrating trajectory.

Runningamuck said...

First of all, thank you so much for your sweet comments on my blog. =0)

Second, this story is hilarious! Probably because it wasn't me having to cut chunks of paint-encrusted hair off the cat. I think I'm going to be visiting you often. lol. I can totally relate to the trials of painting... and the hair bunnies...

Thanks for the laugh.

Mercedes said...

Ha! Poor Chubs. At least you made a dent in the stairs and were able to get rid of some cat hair before it became a dust bunny to marr the paint job...

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Been there (almost), done that. In our previous house, our cat Otis got very excited about the woodwork being painted and thought he'd try a bit of stencilling with his paw. That mark never did come out.

foolery said...

Yes, the trajectory picture is inspired, but I'm partial to the last shot, of Mr. Indignant Bruised Ego.

Very funny post. With two kids and four cats, I'm SO glad I don't have stairs to paint.

Flowersbyfarha said...

Next time, perhaps you could paint every other step from the top down, doing it in two separate session?

And use two different colors...

And just leave any paint on ol'butt'npaws and stick him in the yard with the bowling balls as yard art. :-)