Like everyone, I have my moments. Like everyone, those moments tend to be quite spectacular in their carnage and destruction. It was quite a feat that until today, the fourth day of my home improvement spree, nothing untoward had occurred. But in waiting so long, the disaster was just that stellar when it finally happened.

The last few days have seen many projects completed, all successfully. Here’s a list of a few of the things I had accomplished:

  1. Cleaning of the garage.
  2. Painting of the 150+ bottle wine cellar.
  3. Changing oil in the Camry.
  4. Hauling off a load of junk to the recycling center.
  5. Finishing wrapping Christmas gifts.
  6. Removing labels from 25 wine bottles.
  7. Removing the last load of leaves from the yard.
  8. Filling the planting beds in the back yard with gravel cover.
  9. Cleaning dirt and rock out of the truck bed.
  10. Adding digital audio and video cables to the sound system.
  11. Installing new wall mounts for the rear surround sound speakers.
  12. Touching up paint in the house.
It is this last item where our story begins. Item 11 started it, because the new mounts were incompatible with the holes for the old mounts. The old mounts removed, the holes in the wall filled with plaster, sanded and then painted, I had those walls ready for the new mounts.

While the paint was drying on project 11, I moved on to the other spots in the house which needed touching up. First up was an old mount for the HVAC controller. When the new heat pump was installed last month, it came with a new control unit. Being of different size and dimension than the old one, one of the wall anchors from the old unit was exposed. I popped it back into the wall, filled the hole with plaster, sanded and painted.

The next room to see my attentions was the bathroom. A few months ago, I had to tear out two walls and rebuild them as the old walls were rotting away. Once that work was done, some of the paint needed to be touched up around the seams where the new tile and old plaster walls met. Since the old paint had turned sour, I had to replace it with new. Sadly, the new top coat, as the wall has a solid bottom coat and two upper sponge coats, was the wrong color and was lighter than the existing top coat. Since I did not paint the entire wall, only the places damaged, the repair job looked quite horrible.

So, out came my new sander, received from my wonderful girlfriend as a Christmas gift, and the incorrect color was removed. In its place went the solid undercoat.

At this point, three gallons of paint were open and two quarts were still to be applied. Since the paint was stored in the basement, and the hammer to bang the lids closed was still there, I grabbed the three open cans and walked them down the stairs to bang them shut. Upon arrival in the basement, I sat the three gallons on the workbench. Well, that is what I tried to do anyway. Two of the gallons made it successfully onto the bench. The third bounced off the lip, out of my hand and landed on its side.

You can probably see where this is going, paint went everywhere. On the floor. On my clothing. On my sandals. On my motorcycle lift. On my floor jack. On my broom. Even on the push broom.

Definitely, not one of my better moments.

Damage control was initiated in full. Since the clothes washer was directly behind me, off went the clothing. Next, on came the overhead lights. Before, only the stairwell light was illuminated, but a spill of this magnitude called for greater light. It turned out to be more paint than I had feared, but not nearly as bad as it would have been had the can been only one quarter full. Still there were several sizable puddles and a few outlying arms of paint that were strung during the fall and landing.

To the side of the work bench is a collection of what used to be kitty litter bins and now store all manner of things that need airtight containment. Several of them contain rags created from old shirts. Once opened, three old shirts were sacrificed to clean up the 12oz or so of paint that now covered some of my most valuable tools and toys. By the time the spill was contained and cleaned, I had as much paint on me as did the floor. The gray paint that was already on the floor, which I had put down nearly four years ago, was now touched up but with a paint that is far more slippery than what was already there.

After taking a quick rinse down in the bathroom sink and gathering up some dry clothing, I returned to my work on the house. The second coat of paint is now drying in the bathroom, and the third will be applied once I finish up with a little time spent enjoying the enhanced resolution and sound quality of my home theater.

Lets just hope that nothing like that happens with the rest of my projects. I’ve still got six more days of vacation left and I would prefer to finish them without any further mishaps!