Thursday, March 17, 2016

I'm Irish EVERY day!

Top o' the mornin' to ye!

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all, whether you're Irish or not (and, yes, I'm about 1/2 Irish, with Welsh and English as well).  No green beer for me today, but soon I'll make my customary Guinness Irish beef stew, which my wife and I will enjoy with some Irish soda bread from a local bakery!

And today is also a day that some say should be a national holiday, given how it robs American business of so much productivity.  I'm speaking, of course, of the official start of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, also known as March Madness.  My Kentucky Wildcats play later tonight in Des Moines, Iowa, having been relegated to a #4 seed by the NCAA Selection Committee (who apparently had difficulty selecting their clothes for today as well).

Recently been spending some of my spare time painting here at the ranch.  Regular visitors to this space will recall that we had engineered hardwood floors installed about a year ago in our main living spaces and new vinyl in our hall bath and master bath.  The installers put new white-primed moulding in at the bottom of our baseboards, so that has been my project-du-jour of late.

Let me tell you a few things I've learned this time around about painting:

The type of paint you use matters.  Last time I painted baseboards, windows and doors, I used a semi-gloss variety of latex paint that was characterized as suitable for walls and other surfaces.  This time, I bought TRIM paint, which has a much harder finish, dries more quickly and covered better in one coat than the other stuff did in two.  Muuuuuuuch better!

I also have long been a firm believer in using lots and lots (and lots) of masking tape, in order to preserve the already-painted walls and new-ish floors.  I believe that more than ever, since all I've been doing has been trim work.  But don't be fooled into getting "good" tape.  I fell for that, and had more paint bleed under this tape than with the conventional masking tape (which has come in that lovely shade of Kentucky blue for a long time, of course).  And when you tape, it's best to run the edge of a putty knife between the newly painted surface and the tape, to ensure that it comes apart cleanly.

Section your job into parts that you can complete.  I did bathrooms on one particular day, doors and hallways the next, and then went room-by-room.  Each time I came to a logical stopping point, and that helped keep me on track.

Finally, it's important to clean up daily.  I used to try to preserve brushes and such by putting them into plastic bags, but now I wash them out each time I use them, and THEN put them into plastic bags.  Easier to work with the next time around!

All of this may seem obvious to those who paint more than I do, but, believe me, if you had seen how I formerly handled some of these tasks, you'd be amazed that our house ever got painted at all!

I also just stepped out to mow our lawn for the first time this year.  We seem to have a bumper crop of some sort of ground-based weed this year.  Time for some weed killer, I suppose.

So that's the story from this Irish household (not true, my wife has Austrian and German heritage, but today she's Irish, too).  May the road rise up to meet you, and may you be dead an hour before the Devil knows you've gone!


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