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Travis: All's fair in love and painting
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I painted the floor of my back porch last weekend. It took a day to clean it and move the stuff on it to various other places. Then I had to sweep, vacuum, and repeat and repeat. Then I mopped. That took a day.

The next day I painted.

I had to use oil-based paint. I am used to dealing with oil-based paint, since my porch floors and all the trim in my house are done in oil-based paint.

It lasts a lot longer and cleans up shiny. My only problem is that it is getting harder and harder to find paint that is oil-based.

Anyway, I had to issue a "green alert" when I went to work.

If anyone sees green specks on me, don’t worry.

It is just paint, not an exotic disease. Oil-based paint doesn’t wash off.

I have very few virtues as a painter. I work cheap and clean up after myself. That’s about it.

I am probably the messiest painter known to man. I get paint all over me. I drip stuff because I am impatient and don’t try to knock off the excess paint before applying the brush to my floor.

Somehow I always manage to get the handle of my paintbrush gunked up, and my hands become whatever color I am painting. I then transfer that paint to my nose and other spots on my anatomy.

This time, I thought I had that problem solved. I had painted the side porch floor the same green earlier.

I knew I would use the same brush to paint the back porch. So I used a trick my younger daughter taught me.

I wrapped that brush in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer.

No cleaning needed, no mess. When it is time to use it again, just defrost.

But when I defrosted my brush, I found that the handle was sticky green.

So I wrapped the handle with plastic wrap, thinking that would keep my hands clean.

Yeah, right.

I have a set of paint clothes that I use every time I paint. You can see from the various colors dripped and smudged on the pants and shirt that those clothes have a long history. But they serve me well. If you know you are messy, why ruin different clothes each time you paint?

I tried to plan carefully. I put a small container of gasoline with a rag at the bottom of the steps and painted my way out of the porch and down the steps. I had left the side porch door unlocked.

It took me about three hours.

I am not speedy. And I had to contend occasionally with my cat, who wanted to know what was going on and why her food wasn’t in the regular place, which I was painting.

Anyway, I finished and got my rag damp with gasoline, sat down and tried to get as much green off me as possible. It took about five minutes and several applications of the gasoline.

Then I packed up the paint and threw the brush away.

I was through with green.

I went in and hoped to take a bath and rid myself of all the gasoline. The problem was that I discovered a huge swath of green paint over my left chest area, so to speak. Don’t ask me how it got there.

My husband wasn’t home to help. I did not want to bring the gasoline rag into the house and smell up the house. I did not want to put on my paint clothes again, as they were smelly and dirty and I was mostly clean.

I did not want to put on clean clothes because I still was green in several places.

So — and I hate to tell you this — I put on a nightgown, slipped out my side porch door and scurried to my carport and the gasoline rag.

I hid behind my car and got the remaining green paint off my chest area and then slipped back onto the side porch and into the house.

I got back into the bathtub, finished my bath and then dressed.

I sure am glad no one drove up in my driveway and found me in such a peculiar situation.


Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at