Adventures in home repair: The paint edition

I haven’t felt this foolish in many years. Call it a slip of the grey matter; a symptom of being on the downward slope of my 40s; or a simple error. To paraphrase a hapless fictional radio general manager – as God is my witness, I thought there was something wrong with the paint.

Last week, I attempted to touch up a few marks on a wall in the humble abode my family resides in. It should have been a simple project – it was anything but. And that was all my fault.

The paint cans for various rooms in the house are organized in a basement closet. I only had to go and select the can of paint, grab a brush, mix, and go to work. In this case, a nice frosted Glass Green. Four marks on the wall, how simple could this be?

I looked an hour after paint was applied: colourful language could be heard from Casa-del-Blancher. There was something wrong with the paint. It was darker than what is on the wall. I returned to the hardware store where I bought the can of paint from last year to seek help. Maybe I didn’t mix the paint enough before applying it. The can was shaken (not stirred) and I brushed on another coat. More colourful language followed. I took a photo of the two paint colours on the wall and solicited advice from the internet – a rather unwise and unhelpful activity. The most plausible suggestion was that the green pigment may have deteriorated in the can.

“Is there something wrong with the pigment in the paint,” I asked the helpful paint expert on my return to the hardware store the next day.

The helpful paint expert replied with a “maybe”, while placing the paint can back in the shaker. I did not hammer down the lid tight enough, so the shaker also received a new coat of paint (sorry Nora.) With assurances to try the shaken and stirred paint, and that it could be colour corrected if there was still an issue, I went for attempt number three and day three to fix a simple problem. Failure again.

The definition of insanity is to try the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome. This was driving me to that destination, and I was beginning to consider changing the whole room colour. That, or add some left over brown to turn the room into a military camouflage paint scheme.

Entering day four of this self-induced dilemma, I returned to the helpful hardware store. Before doing so, I cut a small swatch of the proper green from behind a picture to bring to the store for reference. It was the paint expert’s day off. The store owner offered to help. He was already aware of my issue with the paint. He looked at the can, and questioned why I had used exterior paint for an inside space. Silence.

The light bulb finally went on. I sheepishly excused myself with the can of paint from the hardware store and returned home. A more detailed inventory of the paint in the closet revealed that the correct can of paint marked with the appropriate room was sitting at eye level on the shelf – staring right at me. More colourful language.

I returned to the store to have the paint shaken, but said little out of the fear of embarrassment. Four days and four trips to the hardware store down the street to complete a 30 minute painting project.

The lessons here are plentiful: Always check the label Phil; Always read the label Phil; Don’t over complicate the simple projects Phil; and don’t use similar paint colours for your front door and an interior room. The last lesson: even if you think you’ve missed nothing, ask an expert. I think it may be a wise idea for me to not paint anything else until after the holiday season is over.

This column was originally published in the December 13, 2023 print edition of The Morrisburg Leader.