I long beleived that I was cursed by the Gods of Porch Painting and now I know it for sure.
Rewind two years- summer of 2006. I had to paint this wooden front porch floor because years of previous paint were chipping off. I was a virgin to porch painting. I didn’t have any idea the hours upon hours upon hours of scraping that took place prior to painting. I had no idea that the muscles that connect my neck to my shoulders would turn to stone. But I persisted for the Greater Sake of Decor. I picked the most lovely shade of vintage green/grey. I did the thousand hours of insane working to get it done. Scraping, edging, wiping, second coats, third coats and so on.
It was beautiful. I was finally done. There I stood on the sidewalk, my knees covered in scraped paint, the skin itself scraped by little gravel from the sidewalk. My hair speckled in green, three dirty rollers- two ruined sponge brushes, one ruined bristle brush. The pride welled up in my throat. I really improved the front of this albatross of a house- just wait till the tenants come home and see this beautiful porch. Somewhere in the distance I heard a rumble- but ignored it. I started picturing my beautiful furniture all set up on the porch. The paint still shined in it’s freshness- but I was picturing it all decorated. Another rumble and this time it sort of registered. I turned over my shoulder and looked north to see a black and I mean BLACK cloud. Huh. It was not supposed to rain today. Just as I got done saying that in my head, drip-drop, heavier drops, sudden DOWNPOUR! The skies broke open into a torrential downpour of rain.
Almost immediately, I realized this was way bad for the porch. I looked down at the porch, not having sense enough to get out of the rain and in disbelief, the green paint was literally running down the steps, running like a waterfall of vintage sage green onto the sidewalks. Running down the sidewalk in a flashflood- running over the curb and down the street- now a sort of bright green- racing to the storm sewer drain and disappearing underground. In slow motion, my head turned back toward the porch- to see a sort of Dali-esque impression of my porch melting into the sidewalk, streaks of green, red, grey, white: every color it had been since 1939.
My beautiful porch paint had been washed away- more dramatic than the Great Flood.
The next year, Summer of 2007, I was ready to tackle the porch again. I had been so defeated the past year, I never had the heart to fix it. The tenants graciously never commented on our spectacle of a tie-dyed porch. But I was renewed. I was going to scrape again, I was going to be victorious. For the sake of new Karma, I picked a whole new color, a beautiful dark red to set off the slate blue of the house and white trim. I thoroughly checked the forecast on the internet and on the television. Clear skies ahead for three days.
So, with a bit of a resentment, but in an attempt to be of positive attitude, I repainted the porch. I painted despite the bitter complaints of the mail carrier, the tenant trying to move stuff in and out, despite the abnormal heat. I painted to prove that I would fix it. I wouldn’t let us walk on that streaked porch anymore, a daily reminder of my inability to perservere the previous year. I finished. It took me from dawn to dusk, but I finished. The dark red was striking. I loved it. Oh, how nice to have the whole porch one color again!
Picking up the painting supplies, I dragged my broken back into the house hoping a hot shower would help with the muscle pain and refresh me from the heat. Hobbling into the bathroom, I started the shower and went to get clean pajamas. The sound of the shower was really loud, coming out of that bathroom! Had Iris done something different with the shower head or the plumbing? As I went toward our bathroom, I passed a window and you can’t imagine the horror on my face. It was RAINING. Yah, it was.
I couldn’t bring myself to go look. I waited for morning. The red had dried more than the green the previous year before the rain, but not enough to be really dry. So it was streaked but only in certain spots. I couldn’t repaint again.
I set up the furniture and thought I could hide the damage. But what I didn’t know is that the paint didn’t really “set” right or something. Within three weeks, the red paint just started falling off. Seriously. My porch was now blue, grey, white, green and red. All summer the red continued to fall off the porch. First around the furniture, then in front of the doors, then the pathways to the doors, then finally the steps.
Once winter came and the need for salt and quick-melt the paint really got damaged. This spring the porch thawed to reveal bare wood and a mixture of 5 paint colors. It was horrible.
So now here we are, Summer of 2008. I am a New Person. I have a positive attitude. I will not “awfulize” my life anymore. Time to take control of my life and it has to include my yard, my house, everything! So, this summer we did a lot of landscaping. It was time to paint the porch once and for all.
I have been absent from this blog for a few days because I’ve been painting the porch! I checked our forecast. On two channels, on weather channel and on the internet. I knew “scattered storms” were coming late into the night on the third night. I got help from a tenant, help from my daughter and support from Iris. We put on some great music and started painting! Iris snapped this picture of us laughing and having a great time!
The first day went well. I did it right this time- extra sanding, excellent primer, nice thin coats of top paint. We went to bed and awoke to a dry, shiny new porch but the color was uneven.
We spent Sunday finishing the paint. My sister came to visit from out of state and we put her to work. She’s a pro at painting. Oh- she did a great job! We were very proud. We put up the wet paint sign and went out for ice cream.
We came home, admired our work and went in to watch tv.Three hours later, I see lightning to the north. Well, the storms keep passing us to the north- it’s okay. Plus, the paint’s been drying for hours! Rapidly, the lightning got closer. I went to ask Iris what she thought. It started to shower lightly. Should we get the tarp?- I aked her. (We were more prepared this time.) Naw? Yes? Maybe? Suddenly, the shower turned to a hard pour. I yelled to the kids- get the tarp! The dogs started barking wildly at our excitement. What a show! Get the tarp! The kids ran toward the front door with the tarp and a large commotion was heard outside. It was hailing. Horizontally. Wind was whipping the hail into a near white-out. The kids valiantly ran outside to save my paint job. The front door was caught in the wind and in the flash of lightning, I could see a huge tree limb straddling a parked car. Get back in the house! Get back in the house! I yelled!
The kids, undaunted, threw the tarp over the stairs. Boom! Another limb fell! The ice falling from the sky was small but painful. I can not beleive this is happening to me again.
We went in the house for the night. The storm passed in two minutes. Wistfully, I stared at the shining porch thinking of the earlier golden sunset on the perfect paint job.
This morning came, and I discovered still a red porch, but puddles of hot pink where the paint had not been dry and was pooled up with rain water and melted hail. I dabbed at it with rags and allowed it to dry. Guess what came this afternoon? Two or three hours of pouring rain.
Tomorrow I go back out to dry again. I am going to keep at it this time. It will not stop me. My neighbors have begged me to stop painting the porch. They think next time I paint, we’ll have a tornado or perhaps hurricane.
I refuse to be a quitter this year. Stay tuned for an update.