The Garden Chronicles ~ September 12, 2010

Paint by Gender

Last summer Mark built a handsome fence for my garden.  He dug the post holes by hand. He lugged two by fours and four by fours and mixed quick-set concrete in the blazing sun. He screwed everything together so it would be sturdy and last forever, unlike our neighbour’s fence which is already warping because it was “nailed and not screwed.” He put solar caps on the four by four posts. They illumine the night with a cool blue glow. The evening ambience is worthy of Style at Home, so you know I’m happy. The fence provides structure and a sense of enclosure to the garden and is the perfect natural backdrop for the plants and trees.

It seemed only fair that I offer to apply the weatherproofing sealant. I don’t mind painting. Not so fond of digging. 🙂 But, because Mark used wolmanized lumber, I had to wait a year for the wood to weather enough to accept the new finish.

The day finally came a couple of weeks ago when I was ready to paint. I made the mistake of mentioning this to Mark. He didn’t say too much, and disappeared into the garage.

In the meantime, I got ready. I had to change my clothes, of course, and don my painting outfit, a pair of shorts and tee-shirt already covered with the spatters of previous painting projects. I had to switch glasses. I wear my old frames when I am painting so as not to get any paint on my Vogue glasses with the trendy bling. I had to put sunscreen on my nose because, alas, it’s my own personal oversized facial solar panel that attracts UVA rays and UVB rays and every other evil alphabetized kind of ray looking for a landing pad.

Then I had to gather my implements and accoutrements. I had to go down to the laundry room and find the small brush I like to use for painting because it fits my hand well and prevents me from getting a sore wrist. I had to find my gloves. Wearing a glove on my right hand also supports my wrist and prevents “wrist fatigue.” I’m pretty sure that’s a genuine syndrome. I think I read about it in Divas Don’t Paint: The Style Guide to DIY. Furthermore, gloves are necessary for brushing away spider webs, pulling weeds away from the bottom of the posts, and basically keeping the stain off my fingers. I had to find my small dustpan brush which I would need for two reasons: first, to sweep away bird droppings, crumbled and dry (not so bad), or recent (gross), and caterpillars (both the smooth green ones and the fuzzy white ones … neither of which I want to touch), and, second, to flail wildly at bees, yellowjackets, and wasps. I had to put a few Kleenex tissues in my pocket because I was going to sweat and I don’t like perspiration dripping into my eyes.  I”ve discovered that if sweat drips in your eyes, your mascara starts running and that’s not really a flattering look, especially in the harsh mid-day sunlight. So a dainty wipe of the forehead occasionally with a tissue forestalls that eventuality. (This is not my first time working outside, as you can tell). Finally, I went to the garage to find the step stool which I would need to do the top of the fence since it’s seven feet high. I couldn’t find it.

I thought the step stool might be in the shed, so I headed outside. There was Mark with the step stool, a gallon of sealant, and an oversized paintbrush that he tried to hand to me. I said that I had a brush, thanks. He pointed out that his brush would be more efficient. It would cover more area with each stroke. I politely responded that the smaller brush fit my hand better. He gave me what can truthfully only be described as a patronizing look. He then asked me what took me so long. He’d been waiting for me. I described all the things I had to do (see previous paragraph). He laughed.  Uproariously.

I got to work. After about two hours Mark came out to check on me. “Is that all you’ve got done?” he asked. There was only the slightest hint of condescension in his tone. You probably wouldn’t have even noticed, but I’ve had some practice.  “You want me to spray the fence?” he offered. “It would be quicker.”

“No, that’s OK,” I replied sweetly. In spite of the aforesaid withering glance and scornful comment, it’s best, I find, to remain conciliatory. There’s always another garden project in the future.  🙂

I certainly did NOT want him to spray the fence. The stain would end up all over my plants and the coverage on the fence would be drippy and uneven. I wanted a neat and carefully applied finish, precisely covering all areas with as consistent an application as possible.

I’m still not done.  🙂


3 thoughts on “The Garden Chronicles ~ September 12, 2010

  1. I loved this! I howled. I could picture every scene vividly. Like Shannon, I am in complete sympathy and agreement with your accoutrements and preparation. Especially the ‘flailing wildly’ — yeah, that’s me, too!

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