The Color Brown

I swore I would never paint the retro patio furniture again. It is so old I’m not even sure when I bought it. I’m not sure if it is iron, steel or aluminum, but it is indestructible. It has made several state-to-state moves without damage. The problem is the paint eventually chips and fades and starts to look bad.
The furniture has been painted every color of the rainbow at one point or another. It has so many layers of paint that I wonder if there is any metal inside or if it is only a million twisted layers of paint. The current color is green, the fashion several years ago.
Last year I bought a new patio umbrella. Umbrellas are not indestructible and have to be replaced every few years. I could not find a nice one to go with green, so I got one in brown. It didn’t match, but why worry about whether a hundred year old set of patio furniture matches?
I notice it is really beginning to look shabby again. “I could paint it,” I think. My mind must have gone numb over time. I forgot what a mess it is and only thought about how much nicer it was going to look.
Last night at Wally World, I bought paint — brown, of course. If I am going to repaint it, might as well paint it to match the umbrella. Although it is much easier to repaint it when you use the same color, I also forgot that.
Naturally, it is raining today, so I asked my son to move it into the garage. I figured moving it was the worst part, but again, my mind is on cruise control. I do all the usually stuff, sanding over the chipped places and the lumps. Actually, you hardly notice a few flaws in the total appearance when it is done but might as well make it look as good as possible.
Then I try to paint, but the paint doesn’t want to stick to the metal. I don’t know if it is because I got cheap paint from Walmart, if the metal is still a bit damp, if it is because I have latex instead of oil-based paint, or if I haven’t stirred it enough. Whatever it is, the green is showing through the brown.
It is frustrating to do so much work and have it not look right. I curse myself for not throwing the junk away. I’ve certainly had my money’s worth after using it for over 20 years. Murderous thoughts of metal crushers are reeling through my brain, but my hand keeps on painting.
I have to turn the table over to get to the bottom. “This stuff is heavy,” I think as I tug. Then I look behind me and realize that I have somehow turned over the can of paint. “Oh, no! I’ve never done that before. I’m really losing it.”
After I scoop it up, there is enough paint left to finish the job if I stretch it. I finally finish the first coat. Fortunately, I bought two quarts of paint. I will do a second coat tomorrow. I’ve had it for now.
I didn’t bother with gloves and my hands are covered with paint. “It is latex; I can wash it off.” I forgot that paint only washes off when it is wet, not when it is dry. My hands are now raw from scrubbing to get all the brown paint off and my sore shoulder is throbbing. But I’m determined to finish the job I started — tomorrow.
Do me a favor. If I ever even mention painting any stupid patio furniture again, show me this story and kick me in the head to reset my brain. I will thank you for it.

Copyright 2013 Sheila Moss

About Sheila Moss

My stories are about daily life and the funny things that happen to all of us. My columns have been published in numerous newspapers, magazines, anthologies, and websites.
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2 Responses to The Color Brown

  1. Painting metal furniture is the worst. You can do spray paint but it takes a gazillion cans and you end up spraying everything within 20 feet. It also drips. There is no easy answer except maybe the crusher.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. But, it gives us good reading material!


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