Friday, October 12, 2012

The Thin Blue Line

I am a very, very patient person. I didn't start out that way. I was born impatient. I have always hated waiting. The months between taking the bar exam and finding out whether or not I passed were excruciating. The fact that I was waiting for a baby to finish baking did not help. 

And then there was the whole waiting for the baking baby to be born thing. Jon was due on Christmas Day. He had the unmitigated gall to NOT ARRIVE when due. What was I supposed to do the day after Christmas? Celebrate Boxing Day? I had no plans. I was supposed to be busy being a new mom!

Point made. Impatient, hate waiting. But I'm over all that now. Part of learning to be a grown-up and a parent was growing a buttload of patience. Apparently I'm going to need to grow a bumper crop for my continued work on this *&^% bathroom.

Because I made a mistake. A rather large mistake. In fact, were I to indulge in hyperbole, I might even say a mistake of epic proportions. I did something different. I tried to be prepared and professional in my approach to painting. I decided to do something that was, by all reports, supposed to make my life as a painter SO MUCH EASIER. 

I taped. I have never taped before. Even though I have very wobbly hands (familial tremor?) I found that I could, by painting slowly and carefully, achieve straight lines and thus not need to tape off areas. I was almost seduced into taping during my last project. Even bought some of that special thin blue tape that's supposed to be easy to remove, non-marring, etc. But I didn't bite. 

Until now. I pulled out that previously purchased tape and I taped my bathroom with a vengeance. I taped all around the bathtub. Taped the edge between the bathroom ceiling (remember the bathroom ceiling, now freshly primed, primed, painted and painted?) and the walls. Taped the woodwork. Tape, tape, tape, tape, tape, tape, tape. The thin blue line, all over my bathroom.

The result of this taping worm around my bathroom was supposed to be freedom: freedom from care. Freedom from slow and methodical painting. Freedom from using the watercolor paintbrush all along the edges of things. 

And it worked! It was so much more pleasant, just painting right up and over the tape, secure in the knowledge that the special blue tape was defending the wall, edge or ceiling from invading paint marauders. 

I did have a moment's concern when I finished. I couldn't quite remember how long I needed to wait before I removed the tape. Looked at the tape roll itself for advice. It said something about 14 days. I couldn't quite read it because I was tired and didn't have my glasses on and was too lazy to get my glasses because I'd just been painting for 5 hours straight. 

Clearly, I wouldn't want to pull the tape off immediately, right? After all, the wall and tape was still wet with paint. Paint would get all over. So I figured I'd better wait at least 24 hours. Then I got busy yesterday and 24 became 48 hours.

Ahem. I proceeded with the joy of ripping off tape. It was very satisfying for, roughly, 7.5 seconds. Then, something happened that my mind struggled to comprehend. As the tape pulled off, it pulled with it a lovely triangle of cream film. Revealing the old paint job. 

It is entirely possible that I screamed out loud. I may have screamed something fairly profane. It might have been so vociferous that my dog may have hidden under the computer. 

When I finished verbalizing, I went back to the tape. Tried very gingerly to pull off another tiny little swatch. Same result. Now, a wise woman would immediately stop what she is doing and google the topic at end. Or call her father to ask for advice. 

I, however, am not that wise woman. I persisted. I persevered. And, unfortunately, I continued to peel. Finally, I admitted defeat and walked the dog to the Hiolski residence. After consuming most of a beer, I posed the paint/tape question to the adults in the household and was told quite clearly that tape comes off while still wet. 

Harumph. If this is such a verity, why is there no warning label advising me so? I mean, really. Hot coffee has labels. My tape should've had a label. It's all the tape manufacturer's fault, clearly.

Of course, it might have had a label when I bought it five years ago, then threw away the packaging. Further, perhaps using tape that was five years old was also a mistake. Perhaps aging adhesive is suspect, and aids in over-adherence. 

Or, perhaps I should've read something about the process before I started. :-) But I was too impatient, just wanted to get going, for heaven's sakes. 

Google now confirms T's advice: tape comes off when wet or it can peel, as the paint has not yet fully adhered to the wall or primer below it. And again I say, harumph. 

So now I get to practice being patient. As the solution that I came up with (and have confirmed with Google) is to slowly, carefully and painfully score the entire line of tape with a straight edge. Then I will slowly, carefully and painfully lift the tape off. Bit by bit. Excruciatingly slowly. 

Then I will have further practice in being patient, as I will next have to traverse the same line of now removed tape with a small paint brush. Twice. To cover all of the paint I have peeled off. 

And remember that freshly-painted bathroom ceiling? On which I placed tape all over the perimeter? Think of the possibilities. I could potentially rip paint off of both the ceiling and the walls. I might have to apply four more layers of primer, primer, paint, paint to that ceiling. 

I believe I will continue to contemplate those possibilities for the rest of the evening over a very large gin and tonic. 


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