My daughter, Cressy, said, "I want a new color paint in my room. Also a new kitten. A McDonald's in the back yard. Justin Bieber in the bathroom crooning to me as I take a shower. Some other stuff I will only use once and then disregard as useless." Okay, she didn't say all of that. But she did want her new room to be a different color. Her last room was **PURPLE**. I believe I have previously discussed (ranted about) this issue. Painting over the **PURPLE** was like asking for a favor from a Sicilian crime lord when he's about to get indicted on RICO charges and he hasn't had his morning cup of cappuccino.
So stupidly I said, "Okay." We went to Lowe's and picked out a new color. It's a kind of purpley-blue. But it's not **PURPLE**! Even more stupidly I pointed out the...da-da-dahhhhh....magnetic paint. I will explain for those of you who don't watch the DIY channel. This is paint that you paint on a given wall and then you can stick magnets to it when it's all done. Kid's room cool, right? Sounds fab, correct? Whiz bang, great?
It isn't that easy, buster.
Whilst reading the back of the can I said to HIM, "It doesn't say if it's cleaned up with water or turpentine." HIM said, "How about that?" You might imagine HIM's insouciance as being tactful, but on the inside HIM was thinking, "I don't have to paint shizz, so I don't care how it's cleaned up." Okay, I'll come back to HIM later. Here's a clue for all of you who want to rush out to Lowe's or Home Depot or whatever and buy magnetic paint to do a cool wall for your kids. IT'S NOT WATER-BASED! IT DOES NOT CLEAN UP WITH WATER! IN FACT, IT ONLY CLEANS UP WITH MYSTIC WATERS FROM THE DEEPEST DARKEST DEPTHS OF AFRICA AT A MAGICAL WATERFALL BLESSED BY PYGMY CANNIBALS! I'm just sayin'.
Another lesson I learned: One can of magnetic paint only covers a four foot by four foot square. It says on the can that it covers sixteen square feet. Well, it was telling the truth and not one flipping, farping, furdling inch more. Four frickin' feet by four frickin' feet. So if your only beloved child wants a magnetic mural of epic proportion, you're going to spend about $22 per can that only covers FOUR FRICKIN' FEET BY FOUR FOUR FRICKIN' FEET. (It does not say frickin' on the can, but it should.)
Before I purchased the paint I did read the back of the can for instructions. It says, "Must be well-stirred." Well, campers, well-stirred is somewhat misleading. I set up at home. I put out a drop cloth. I had all the paint tools. I even had a tool for the drill that would stir the paint for me. HIM bought it specifically for me to stir this...frickin'...can...of...magnetic paint. I opened the can and looked at the blackish oil. It didn't look like paint. It looked like vegetable oil that someone had used to deep fry about ten baskets of hushpuppies. (No, I never did that. Once. And it was deep fried something or other. I don't remember. I'll use the Ronnie Reagan defense.)
I picked up the drill and immediately discovered that the stirring tool was too large to go into the quart sized can. Duh. I thought about it and decided I would get the paint stirrers downstairs. Upon going downstairs it occurred to me that if I put the can of paint in a larger container I could use the drill tool thingy. So I got a very large plastic tub. I went back upstairs. I poured the paint into the tub. The bottom half of the paint can was like semi-hardened black dog poop. (Don't ask how I know this. We had a Siamese cat who was about 20 years old and the poor cat had to have a teaspoon of Metamucil in his wet food everyday. Is that too much information?) I had to use a tool from the drill's box to scrape it out. Seriously it was the consistency of antique peanut butter. (Arnold Schwarzenegger would have had trouble stirring that shizz and I mean back in the Conan the Barbarian days, too.) I hurt my shoulder doing it. In the process I got black crap all over my hands. I got Cressy to bring me the roll of paper towels. The black stuff wiped off but left a beautiful black stain on my hands.
I sighed and went to use the drill on the container of paint. Immediately the drill roared and...did anyone see this coming?...splattered black/oil/paint/ickiness everywhere and especially off of the drop cloth onto the carpet in my daughter's bedroom. Well the magnetic paint does not wipe off Berber rugs. I know. Really, I know.
After the cursing died away, I managed to stir the paint up to approximately the right consistency. (See how I bravely struggled on?) However, it did not matter how much I used the drill because there were still clumps at the bottom. (Clumps that magically attached themselves to the rollers and disengaged themselves onto the walls in question.) These clumps reminded me of the oil spill a couple years ago in the Gulf. It looked just like those little clumps of oil washing up on shore. Any minute there was going to be some blackened animal bleating at me for assistance and I was going to have to call Exxon or Green Peace or maybe a celebrity.
The lesson there: have the store shake the frickin' can of frickin' magnetic paint up before you take it home.
Finally, we began to paint. Thank gawd for drop clothes. I immediately stepped on the stirring tool, shrieking in pain, and dropped the roller. More cursing commenced. There was a couple of black hand prints on the wall where I caught myself. Cressy thought I was going to pop a vein in my forehead. After a brief respite, we managed to paint the section we wanted to paint and then I had to use impromptu paper towel shoes to get to the bathroom to clean up. (My daughter thought that was some funny shizz. Paper towel shoes. Hilarious.)
Cressy and I both discovered that the magnetic paint didn't want to come off of our flesh. Out came a scrub brush and a bottle of Goo. (Goo is a hand cleaner for those of you who don't do dirty stuff. Not that kind of dirty stuff. Dirt-y stuff. Goo is the scrubby creamy stuff that helps get the dirt off your hands. Or feet in my case. You know, everything in this whole section could be purposely misconstrued.) A half hour later, Cressy still had little black spots on her hands and a couple on her face. I had black toes and hands that appeared as though I had dipped them in black indelible ink. Cressy wanted to go back and help with the second coat, but I decided I didn't want to scrub her down a second time.
I opened the second can, but not before I shook the holy living carp out of it. That didn't really mix it up but it did help avoid the whole scraping the bottom of the can thing. I used the drill again. (Stupidly.) I splattered the rug again, but worse this time. I also got a part of the wall that I hadn't intended on painting with magnetic paint. Bullheadedly I persevered and got a second coat of paint on the walls. (The directions say you need two to three coats. However I didn't want to go back and buy another can for a third coat.) I bagged up everything but the drill and threw it away. (Well, I didn't throw Cressy away.) I went and scrubbed my flesh until it screamed for mercy. When I was done there was literally a black ring around the tub. I felt like a coal miner just in from a double shift.
My daughter's rug is ruined. There's still black crap under my nails and I've been invited to a neighborhood coffee tonight. (I'm thinking of wearing some of my daughter's purple sequined dress gloves. Should be a great look with jeans and a LA County Coroner's t-shirt.) I have sworn on my parents' graves to never use frickin' magnetic paint again in my life. (Never. Never. Never.) My daughter's moron cat managed to avoid the whole sorry affair. (I think he remembered getting paint on his paws from a month ago and said, "Eff that. I'm getting catnip instead.") But magnets WILL stick to her wall. On the downside it just occurred to me that I might set off the metal detectors at the airport when I go to the book conference next month. That should be a lot of fun. Maybe I'll get strip searched. At the very worst it will make a great blog.