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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Paint it Black

Sorry folks! Jon is out of the country, so there will be no glamourous and exciting projects posted for the next few weeks. You're all stuck with me, Queen of Drudgery and Introspection. Apologies in advance...

I spent the morning clearing ivy out of the alley between the Coat Shop and the Chinese food restaurant next door. What made this especially exciting was the fact that our neighbors, the Lost Coast Survivors, were having a meeting in our shared backyard while I was yanking and bagging. The Lost Coast Survivors, if you didn't already know, are a sober biker gang/club. Yup, that's what I said. I am in awe of them and they in turn seem mildly amused by me. I'll take what I can get. So while I was pulling ivy, they were planning logistics for a Gaberville rally and saying the Serenity Prayer. BAD....ASS.

I applied a coat of polyurethane to our back door, which is ancient. We would like preserve it exactly as is, peeling paint and all. So I'm sealing it with a few coats of thick, clear plastic. Each coat needs to dry overnight, so this is a week-long project.

Then I decided to stain the risers in the storefront. Jon has moved into the front of the storefront, turning the tiny space by the windows into his makeshift office. My fantasy was to stain the blond wood a dark teak, but alas, first I had to sand a thin layer of whitewash off of them, which proved to be futile. For those of you who are fans of sanding (And who isnt?), sanding off multiple layers of latex or oil paint is incredibly satisfying. But a thin coat of primer is dang near impossible to get off without chemicals and hours of labor. And if there's one thing I've learned about myself through this project, it's that I'm hella lazy. So I went with the next best thing: a quart of black latex semi-gloss I found in the basement.

Awesome, right? WRONG. The thing I did not realize about this project is that painting something black takes a million years. Your first coat is really more of a symbolic gesture. Yes, I plan to paint this object. The wood grain shone through like a rescue flare. The second coat gets you in the general vicinity of a paint job. The third coat makes you cry with futility and conclude: I am a terrible painter. My brushstroke technique is obviously flawed. I am not meant to paint. Why did I think I could do this!

At this point, you must assess the terrible situation . Also, you run out of paint. So I went to the hardware store (did I mention that my car is filled with 4 contractor bags of ivy I need to take to the dump but can't because the dump closed while I was PAINTING? So I'm driving a crazy person's car, with vines and leaves trailing out the windows.) and got more paint. They guy at the paint counter assured me that his black paint would match MY black paint. He said this with that tone of supreme confidence that pretty much guarantees he has no idea what he's talking about. But I was a black paint junkie at that point, sure that this next coat would really do the trick and stave off the shakes of a task failed. So he gave me my paint and some new paintbrushes and I climbed back in my Secret Garden of a car and returned to the Coat Shop.

On the fourth coat I experienced a revelation. Actually, two. One: Definitely not the same shade of black. GOD DAMN IT.
Two: The new paintbrush I bought was amazing. So even though the paint was a bit more blue than I was expecting, it was going on like butter. Thick butter coverage. In that moment, I realized that from now on, instead of deciding in the middle of a troublesome Coat Shop task that I suck at said task, I will curse my tools and upgrade.

Stay tuned for Before and After photos!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Old Town Walkabout

Summer is slowly creeping into Eureka. Tonight after doing some chores at the Coat Shop, I decided to savor the evening light.

Lo, the photo tour of the Coat Shops environs.



The Lotus Lady recently appeared on the brick wall behind the Coat Shop. It's not graffiti, exactly. It's a huge pen on paper drawing that someone carefully affixed to the wall. I'm intrigued by our neighborhood guerilla artist and fantasize about leaving out plates of cookies and pastels for him (her?).



Our corner of Old Town is filled with Art Deco remnants of the neighborhoods 1940s heydey, Before The Mall. Patrick's still makes candy by hand. The Eureka Theater hosts bands and film festivals. Swanlunds is still developing photos the old fashioned way (they also appear to be holding on to the Glamour Shot school of portraiture).



My favorite mural in Eureka. Jon dreams of rappelling down it, wearing hospital booties to protect the art. Such a Renaissance man.


I followed the sun towards the water, into Victorian Old Town.



















So nice to spend time tonight remembering why we choose to live here. Old Town is beautiful and haunting, not just because it sits on the mouth of the bay, but because so many of its historic buildings are still standing, held together by redwood and memories.

Good night...