I was planning to do some painting this week and was looking for white or off-white paint in the basement. Because we have been remodeling our old house, a little at a time for 10 years, there was quite a plethora of choices down there. Because the basement is quite dusty and not super high on my list of places to clean, I had to open some of the cans to see what color was actually in each of them.
Some of the cans had been so near to empty when we put them away that there was nothing left to the contents save some dried-up color on the side of the can. Others seemed to be nearly the same as one another, but the lighting in the basement can be deceiving on such matters, so several cans were carried upstairs into the kitchen where the light is better.
The trick became getting the cans open. Some of the lids were a plastic or rubber material that didn’t like to stay open well. I had to utilize a couple tools, lifting the lid with a screwdriver and then gripping it with a pair of pliers to be able to open one can.
Its pale green color was used as an accent color in my middle daughter’s room. Perfect for an accent color, I was not sure that it would make a great whole-wall choice, so I put the lid back on it. But that rubbery-plastic lid that was such a problem to remove, would now not go back on the can.
I pressed it down; I banged on it with a hammer; and when those didn’t work, I stepped on the lid. I was certain that my weight would encourage the lid to fit down inside the grooves.
I was certainly wrong.
The center of the lid went down into the can, creating a small opening at the edge. The pressure of my weight on the can sent paint shooting out of that small opening at high velocity. A stream of green paint came out and hit my daughter in the leg. It ran down onto her shoe and then puddled on the floor. At the same time, another stream shot out onto the carpet scrubber that was sitting nearby. The floor was also streaked in green.
The entire room was so silent that you could hear a pin drop. The kids, who were preparing to help me in my endeavor, waited quietly for my reaction. When I began to laugh, the tension broke, and everyone laughed. My son, in particular, found the whole thing quite to his liking. He just kept saying, “That was so funny!”
After we swiped and wiped the carpet cleaner and the floor to my satisfaction – and my daughter salvaged her shoe at the bathtub faucet – we went back to the job of finding paint. A few more cans and we found a nearly full can of blue-gray and a nearly empty can of white. I mixed the two together, and the result was an adequate amount of a lovely gray color that was perfect for the walls I was painting.
And thank goodness, too. I was not looking forward to replacing the lids on those two cans, either.
Laura Zoeller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.