We're the ones your mother warned your about...No, seriously. We are.

Note to self: Manual labor is hard.

I had this great idea. OK, two great ideas. The first of which was to not hire professional movers in my big move to Oakland. This was to become The Moving Disaster of 2003. I am still mulling writing about it, but suffice it to say, it was a MF. At least 5 carloads, two separate rental trucks, and three days of hard ass labor. (Thanks to the Willas, Tamerlane, and Opus for their help.) But my second great idea was to paint my new loft myself. By paint my loft, I meant one large wall. By myself, of course, I meant enlisting the help of the Willas.

I have one wall in my loft that is about 45 feet by 13 feet which has no windows, doors, or anything that would make painting complicated, save for a few pipes up by the ceiling. This being a new (re)construction, the drywall was freshly painted white, so I anticipated no problems. Willa had a great idea of doing a ³Queer Eye² stripe of a contrasting color across the top of the wall to add a visual break. Colors were chosen, and many painting supplies were bought. I was able to secure a 10 foot ladder from my apartment manager, after agreeing to not sue them if I killed myself. I don't think this was legally binding, but I am still here, so I guess it is moot.

Day One:
We started by taping off the wall with that cool blue tape that they use on Trading Spaces. This involved the baseboard and the before mentioned pipes. I had this roller-edging tool for painting the ceiling joint, so I didn't bother taping it. It turns out that this was a good decision, not because of the stellar performance of the edging tool, but because the tape wouldn't hold an edge due to the texture of the wall. This would almost prove to be the undoing of the entire project.

In most new (read cheap) construction, builders have a choice when hanging drywall. Basically, you can have smooth walls, or textured walls. Smooth walls mean more labor and cost because any imperfections show up dramatically, while textured walls are cheaper and cover up most wall irregularities. They textured the shit out of my walls. I knew this ahead of time and had bought paint roller pads good for textured walls, but having never painted before, I didn't know what else this would affect.

The cool edging tool started fraying after about 10 feet of edge due to the friction between it and the wall surface. The paint rollers worked really well at absorbing paint, but not so much at depositing it on the wall. It took a lot of force on the roller to get it to give up the paint. This worked fine up to about 7 feet or so, but when you put on an extension rod on the roller, you couldn't put enough force on the roller to get it to work. We ended up having to do the wall in three vertical sections, trying our best to blend them together as we went.

In my college thermodynamics class, I learned that a smooth surface is less effective at radiating heat than a textured surface of the same size. This is because the textured surface has more actual surface area than the flat one. This fact was in my brain, lying dormant when I was calculating how much paint to use for my wall. After we burned through all the paint before getting 3ˇ4 of one coat on, it suddenly sprang into light. I love it when I can use my skills to figure out a problem, but my timing was a bit off.

I made a short trip back to Home Depot to get more paint and replacement edger pads, and to get some food for my hungry painting crew. There were only two problems with my plan. Everyone in Oakland was at Home Depot getting paint. Also, since I live in the DMZ, there are not many choices for fast food. Throw in that I don't know where everything is yet, and my short trip turned into about two hours.

We lost Mr. Willa to a rave in Sacramento, so Willa and I finished up the wall about 10:00 or so after taking a break to watch the new Trading Spaces episode that had a LJ person it it. (See http://www.popgurls.com).

Day 2:
After a fine hotcakes and sausage breakfast, Willa and I left a very hung over Mr. Willa to get some sleep before he had to head off to work. We pulled off the blue tape and found an edge that would look razor sharp if viewed from 100 feet away. Because of the damn texture, the tape couldn't seal properly against the wall. This meant that we had to repaint the trim edge by hand. It also meant that the cool QE stripe was probably impossible to pull off. We decided to just paint the adjacent wall the contrasting color instead. This would look fine, if not as good as the stripe.

Willa set off to painting the second wall and I started on the second project of the weekend, the hanging of a ceiling fan. I had previously bought a cool remote controlled ceiling fan with a light kit to replace this sad hanging light that came with the loft, and to provide some much needed air circulation. I have hung fans before, so I did not anticipate any problems. Haven't I said that before recently? Hanging a fan from a 13-foot ceiling adds a bit of excitement to the project that I really didn't need at this point. Balancing on a tall ladder while holding a 40 lb fan off to one side with one hand will make you question your sanity. I managed to get everything wired up and bolted together with no falls or fun with electricity. I took the remote control out to test the fan, and discovered that they didn't include batteries. A short trip (actually short this time) to the drug store later and the moment of truth was upon me. The light turned on, but no fan. After swearing a blue streak, I re-read (Ok, read) the instructions to see how the remote worked, and to see if I left out a step. I am really pretty handy and the thought that I screwed up the wiring was an affront to my handymanness, so I rewired the whole thing again, with the same results. I had a broken fan. This called for another trip to Home Depot, this time on a Sunday. Wonderful.

I took the fan apart and repacked it, and we headed off to Home Depot at about 5:30 with the idea of replacing it, and possibly scoring some food. As luck would have it, the return line was only one person deep, and they even had my original choice of fans in stock. After having to show the friendly customer service guy where the down-tubes were stored, and experiencing the joy that is self check out, we took our final leave of Home Depot.

The second fan, was cheaper (also a different brand name; screw with me once and I will never buy from you again), but also much more complicated and had an ass load more parts. It also had a misleading parts list, but I was undaunted. It also didn't include batteries, but I had already bought some for the old fans remote, so I anticipated no problems. Sonofabitch! OK, so it used different batteries, but I managed to scrounge up a 9 volt of questionable vintage. After more fun with heavy objects on tall ladders (with electricity!), I managed to get the second fan installed. A click of the remote, and success! Lights and motion!

By this time Willa had painted as high as her acrophobia would allow her, so I finished up by edging the ceiling and rolling on the last of the paint above the window and door. I say last because this was the last I would paint this day, not because it was the last coat. We finished up about 10:30.

So after roughly 24 hours of hard labor I have learned a few things. One is that I have great friends. Another is that the next time that I feel the need to paint something, I will hire it out. Oh, and that goes for moving too. Now I do think I can hang that new dining room light. I have all the necessary tools and wiring, so I don't anticipate any problems......

CB Bro
~ September 9, 2003

Also, I still think it was wrong of CB Bro to borrow the screws from the satellite rotator-thingy over the weekend to make his new ceiling fan work. Look at the havoc you've caused! *g*
- Claris
It was broken when I found it. Besides, they weren't going to launch until 2008. I would have returned them by then. Sheesh.
- CB Bro
that's what you said about the Hubble, and look what happened there!
greasy lenses, my foot.

- Closet B