Some folks hate to paint, but I look at it as a way of keeping the stress down in the house and getting a workout in at the same time.
Recently, I was relieving stress and exercising in what used to be the nursery. The nursery was vacated and at our house, whenever a room is vacated it must be painted. The color is really not at all important but painting must take place along with spackling.
The walls in this room had been used to hold up everything from pictures of exotic animals to favorite sayings. The fact that the occupant was several years away from reading or knowing the difference between a gazelle and a salamander made no difference. Words and pictures had to be on the wall and with those words and pictures came tiny holes that gave the room a dartboard effect when emptied.
I used to be pretty good at painting, when I could see, but now the drips, thin spots, drops on the floor and other absolutely horrific screw-ups only the pope could forgive, go unnoticed until madam supervisor sticks her head in the door and starts this violent shaking motion. That I can see.
I worry about the neck strain that might ensue from all that shaking, but it hasn’t happened yet, probably because her neck is used to being violently twisted. So she sticks her head in the room and says, “Looks like you missed a few spots.” This presents the perfect opportunity to work on my conditioning, so I slowly bend over, getting as close as I possibly can to view the horror firsthand. Lord in heaven, there they are, a drip, drop and run in plain sight. My burning, cataract laden eyes have let me down again. What would I do without Sherwin Williams’ version of Nurse Ratched to keep me on the path of healing through painting? I believe it’s referred to as “pealing” in some texts.
There are also thin spots along the wall that went unseen until the “commandant” entered the room. Sometime today I will have another chance to break out the brush, roller and tray and get some needed stress relief and exercise. Nothing relieves stress like doing woodwork. Some would say woodwork is tedious but I prefer to call it homeostatic repositioning, whereby I move the stress received from “ol’ Swivelhead” onto a piece of wood.
The wooden baseboard is challenging because it tests my geriatric back in all the right spots. I can also work on stretching and developing endurance in the upper arms. The burn you get when holding the brush out for extended lengths of time is difficult to describe to a novice. The amazing thing is you never get used to it. You can set the brush down for a few minutes pick it up again and experience the burn anew.
Stretching is another animal altogether. Painting the baseboard is where you can get the most stretching because it requires a position few can attain on the first try. Immense flexibility is required in order to place the upper thigh and the buttocks as close to the baseboard as possible when one is visibly challenged (best done while singing that old favorite, “Hokey Pokey”).
If you can picture a 70-year-old trying this maneuver, while sitting on a hardwood floor, you have an accurate picture of the “workout.” Getting up and down is a whole ‘nother ballgame. It is suggested you have plenty of water and towels on hand when painting. Not to hydrate and wipe sweat from your brow, but more to clean up the mess from the water-based paint. I guess it’s how you look at things.
If I didn’t think of painting as a workout I would have to view it as some type of harassment and since Title IX does not exist at our house, we shall go with the exercise motif. Over the course of the next several months I’m probably going to be in the best shape of my life. We’re remodeling.
Sonny Harmon is a professor emeritus at Georgia Military College. Visit his blog at http://sharmon09.blogspot.com.