Sandy DicksonView all articles by Sandy Dickson
After Dad’s house had been on the market for about a year with no real bites, we siblings decided to paint the paneling in the living room, since it gave the living room a dark and dated appearance. There are a few other little things that make the house less than perfect, but since it is being sold ‘as is’, whomever buys the house will be able to fix it however they want. Still, I had advocated painting the living room from the beginning and it had been nixed by the others for the simple reason that it was being listed as an ‘as is’ house, and where would it all end?
When it didn’t sell, the sibs changed their minds, so agreed we needed to lighten the living room. First, it needed to be coated with primer, which I have been advised by a professional painter, is paint mixed with glue so it will better cover anything underneath and the next coat will better adhere. Granted, the living room needs new carpet, but we weren’t going to go there, considering that a new buyer might not like the color we chose anyway.
I took this project on myself, moving the furniture to the center of the room and covering it with plastic drop clothes, as well as the floor with newspapers and more plastic. Since no one’s schedule seemed to coincide, I did the masking of trim and all the priming by myself.
Two sisters came over the night I was going to start painting the walls, and we knocked it out in the same night. One of them commented that we would have to dispose of the entertainment center, as it was so wobbly, it could never be sold and carried outside. Still, it filled most of one wall, so was good for now, just as a furniture-filler.
The next day I went over to remove the blue masking tape; a scary proposition because one never knows how much paint seeped underneath the tape. Well, I soon found out and spent the next few hours trying to spiff up the trim with brown paint that sort of–but-not-quite-matched the trim. Those hours also included scrubbing little paint spots off the carpet that sneaked by the covering. A carpet cleaning man told me once years ago, that the best way to clean carpet is simply by scrubbing it with ammonia and water. In doing so on the tiny spots, it worked wonders.
I was very pleased with my spot-fixing and was packing everything up to leave for the realtor to see before showing again. I pushed the furniture back against the walls and removed the newspaper and plastic drop clothes. However, I noticed that the entertainment center was not centered on the wall, so pulled it from one side to get to the line on the carpet it had occupied. Now I heard a pop, like the other side had separated from the shelves. Upon inspection, it had. So now I went to the other side and tried to push, pound and kick the side board back, whereupon the other side also popped out. The whole unit was now entirely lopsided with the pegs that had held it together completely exposed on both sides. There seemed no rectifying it. The more I tried, the worse it got, so, remembering my sister’s words, I decided it was time. It must be totally disassembled and taken to the garbage: a task which occupied my next half hour.
All of a sudden, the paint can was lying on its side with voluminous paint gushing all over the gold-colored carpet. It looked like that hot, thick lava flowing slowly along a surface that one sees on the science channels. Viscosity—that’s what it had. I’ll probably never get to use that word again. I hope not, if it has anything to do with paint and my handiwork.
“Noooooooooo,” I think recall hearing a loud and urgently plantiff but futile cry, as if that would stop the action, though I was the only one there. The plea had no effect. I quickly uprighted the can. Looking helplessly at the mess, I dashed to the kitchen where I looked for something to scoop it up as best as possible, with no idea how I could clean the whole mess to any satisfaction. I settled on a measuring cup and a tablespoon—the kind one eats from.
I rolled the nearby vacuum cleaner out of the way, which now made a wheel trail across part of the carpet because the wheel had been in the line of fire too.
And right near the entry door from the hallway to the living room—a very obvious place that certainly couldn’t be covered and hidden by furniture! I’m thinking throw rug or runner now. Of course that would certainly tick a buyer off when they picked it up and found a huge paint spot the width of the rug. The Golden Rule need be applied here.
I scooped the paint off the carpet as quickly as possible, dumping each cup back into the paint can until I could get no more that way, then started scraping the paint with the spoon from floor to can. When I could get no more pure paint with that method, I started scrubbing it with the ammonia water, then scrapping the spoon across that. Each spoon of the now white watery-paint mixture, I dumped into an empty plastic 32 oz yogurt container. It got to the halfway mark before I dumped it outside, afraid I’d knock it over, then started the same process again. Eventually, I got it to looking very good, surprisingly, though not perfect, as I soon saw when I stood up and looked at it from a bit farther back. I worked so fast and hard to try to get to it before it dried, I got a rug burn on my index finger from dragging the spoon across it.
I spent a couple hours at it and finally had to leave because I had to pick someone up at the airport.
I didn’t have a moment for the following two days to go check, but when I went back, I did so armed with a wet/dry vac, planning to saturate the large paint spot of about 1 ½ feet by 2 feet, scrub, vacuum and spoon if necessary. However I was surprised how good it looked—hardly detectable that any paint had been spilled there. It actually looked better than the rest of the carpet, which was now another problem, because the rest looked dirty by comparison. But, no, I am not doing the whole rest of the carpet that way!
Sigh. This renovation is a tough business. By the way, though, I am for hire and I work cheap if anyone is interested.