Friday, September 23, 2016

Painting the Condo, or The Odessy, Part 1

On Sunday, September 18th, I went over to The Home Depot (3200 Secor Rd, Toledo, OH) to get a few paint samples. I'm going to have my condo painted, and my chief concern is paint selection. I have the innate sense of color coordination that one generally finds in a Russian bordello; Ergo, my plan is to buy some sample colors that I optimistically think will coordinate well together, then try them out and see if I'm still psychotic or if the medication has finally kicked in. I'm somewhat cheered by the fact that whatever I do, it won't be as bad as the former tenets, who put this monstrosity on the wall of the master bedroom, and then painted the place in some weird color not found in nature (or Sherwin Williams).

Wall Paper Mural

Nice, huh? So it's off to Home Depot at Secor and Central, where the first of many difficulties is encountered. Ever go out to a club and try to make conversation with some hottie over the eardrum scorching music and the drunks around you, who are all shouting to make themselves heard over the music and the background noise? Add to that the acoustics of an empty oil drum, and you have the paint counter at Home Depot.

There are two clerks, one male, one female. The guy is talking football to another guy, and neither of these pinheads have indoor voices. They aren't talking, they're shouting at each other. The girl that's waiting on me either can't or won't speak up, which adds to the problem. I finally get across to her that I want a few samples, and give her a list. I've selected:

  • Lemon White P300-1 : Walls 
  • Polar Bear 75 : Ceiling 
  • Fresh Day PPU13-17 : Bath 
After I got my samples, I picked up a brush and a few other oddities. When I passed the paint counter again the football fans had broken up. I asked the clerk if her coworker was always that noisy, and she informed me that he was. Moreover, he was a really nice guy, and the paint shaker made more noise than he did.

So there.

I bring this up for my own amusement, and so that anyone who is considering shopping at the Home Depot on Secor will know what they are in for. In all fairness, I visited the web site and complained about the experience, and I got a reply from the store manager, Mike Nutter, who delivered an apology and promised to address the situation. So whatever happens, happens. I won't shop there again, but that's just me.

The next day (Monday) I'm off to Columbus to apply the samples and see what I'm going to be living in. The samples don't look too bad to me, and painting a small area of the ceiling in Polar Bear white shows me how dirty it is, if nothing else. Frank Fischer and his brother John are driving in tomorrow, and will paint the place. Looking at my efforts, I congratulate myself on hiring someone to do this who knows what they're doing. I, surprising no one, am a lousy painter.

On Tuesday I get myself out of bed early and go down to my local Home Depot  (2480 Brice Rd, Reynoldsburg, OH) and buy the paint.  I get 5 gallons of Polar Bear, 5 gallons of Lemon White, and 1 gallon of Fresh Day.  On the advice of Frank, I bought Behr paint, which comes in three grades; economy, kinda expensive, and you-gotta-be-kidding.  The technical names are Behr Premium Plus (Behr Premium), Behr Premium Plus Ultra (Behr Ultra), and Behr Marquee.  After some discussion with the clerk, I settle on Behr Ultra.

The first thing Frank does is attack the rustic art on my bedroom wall, sending this particular area of the Med the way of Pompeii.

Destruction Begins

Just think, in a thousand years or so some misguided archeologist may pull the pieces of this mural out of a landfill, reassemble it, and conclude that 2016 was an artistically dark era.  Maybe he'll be a college student working on a doctoral thesis.  We can only hope.

While Frank desecrates the walls, John starts painting the ceiling, and I'm here to tell you the new ceiling paint makes a world of difference.  The place starts to look cheerful, and the Behr Ultra covers in a single coat.  A few places could be touched up, according to Frank, but by and large the ceiling is done in a single coat.  So naturally, the trouble starts.

About the time that I'm cheering the demise of the wall paper art, Frank and John come up with a problem - the sample I painted on the wall (Lemon White) does not match the stuff coming out of the five gallon bucket.  I take a hard look at this, and he's right.  It doesn't match.  After denying myself a shot of whiskey, I ask the obvious question: Do I really care?  The color of the paint that Frank is using looks good to me, so my only reservation is this; if the guy at the counter screwed up the mixture, that means I've got a brand new color unknown to Behr, which means that if the project takes over 5 gallons, I might be up against it.  How would you ever match it?  The answer is that you wouldn't.  But Frank thinks that 5 gallons will work, and I trust Frank's judgement, so I give them the green light.

Then the second problem surfaces.

The wall paint isn't covering in one coat.  It isn't even coming close.  After a brief discussion between the three of us, Frank puts the lid on the 5 gallon can and we go back to Home Depot for an exchange.  Frank tells me that they'll give me a hard time about this, there will be a lot of argument, and they probably won't take it back.  Well, maybe so, but we're going to try.

When we get to Home Depot Frank leads the way to the returns cashier and explains the problem.  The cashier listens politely, and responds with, "That's not right.  The paint should cover."  Frank looks a little surprised.  The cashier, whose name I think is Terri, takes us over to the paint counter and explains the situation to the paint clerk, who agrees.  This is Behr Ultra, not Glidden Speed-Wall.  It should cover.  Home Depot exchanges our five gallon bucket of Behr Ultra for a brand new bucket, saying maybe it's a bad batch, here's a new one.  Have a nice day.

We go back to the condo, and Frank and John start painting again.  While they're painting I'm writing and I knock out a thousand words or so, which is nice.  After an hour and change, Frank and John come downstairs.  Frank looks worried.

"It's still not covering.  Take a look."

I do, and he's right.  We're using Behr Ultra on Behr Ultra, and it isn't covering.  This is two coats of Behr paint, and it should definitely cover the wall now, but it isn't.  I feel a little sick about this.  We've already been back to Home Depot once over this; but twice?  I wouldn't put any bets on what they'll do about this situation.

Frank seals the paint up and we head back to Home Depot.  It's now late afternoon, and I'm a bit tired and out of sorts.  Frustrated, I think.  We get a different clerk this time who listens to our story, then takes us to the paint counter where we repeat the story.  This is Behr Ultra on top of Behr Ultra, and it isn't covering.  Moreover, the ceiling paint is Behr Ultra and it covered just fine in one coat.  The viscosity is noticeably different between the two.  The man at the paint counter nods and says, "There's only one thing to do.  Move up to Behr Marquee."  I breathe a sigh of relief.  Then I get the surprise of my life - they don't charge me a dime extra for the Behr Marquee.

Frank is stunned.  He doesn't know what to say.  I'm effusive with my thanks, and we leave with five gallons of Behr Marquee grade paint.

Now comes the good part.  The Behr Marquee has a written guarantee on the can that states it will cover in one coat, and it doesn't.  It comes close, but it's going to take two coats to cover the walls.

John Paints the Living Room Ceiling

John Hiding Behind the Door

Frank Lying Down on the Job
That's twice the paint, and twice the time.

The paint I can deal with.  Every once in a while something goes wrong, and you have to fix it.  In this case the staff of The Home Depot at 2480 Brice Rd, Reynoldsburg, OH, went the extra five miles.  I'm sending a letter of thanks and appreciation to their general manager, and to the global headquarters.  I'm also writing to Behr paint.  We'll see what happens with that, but I'm betting not much.

Frank and John are coming down this Saturday, and we'll see what other surprises are in store for us.  Meantime, I'm just thankful that we did, finally, find a solution.

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