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Paint potpourri
Drift from a Driftless Place
JOHN GIBBS finished up his western adventures at a Farm-n-Fleet in Las Vegas, browsing the hat section. He'd been on the lookout for a good cowboy hat, and no surprise, he found his dream chapeau in the Wild, Wild West.

GAYS MILLS - I’ve been doing some painting lately, part of the final stage of the fix-up of a rental property. So, I’ve been thinking of paint and painting as I’ve dry walled, spackled, sanded, primed, and, finally, painted  finish coats throughout the house.

I can’t do any painting without thinking of my dad and his part-time painting business. Dad was a teacher for many years and supplemented his income by painting houses, after school, during weekends, and summers. My two brothers and I got involved when we were available, and, looking back, I marvel at just how many houses dad painted. It was something over 100.

Dad preferred to paint the exterior of houses, although he did some interior painting as well. The houses he painted in California were mostly one-story stucco homes, which made the jobs much simpler than working on two-story, wood-sided houses. He would be painting a house, usually in a tract of homes, and be approached by a neighbor about painting their house. In this way, he would wind up painting several houses right down the block in a given neighborhood. And when it came time to re-paint a house, Dad usually got the call.

Dad could really “sling the paint” as he used to call it. He would walk around a prospective house, taking note of any problem areas, like bare wood trim that would need to be primed, stucco to patch, bushes that needed to be trimmed or tied back, the number of windows and doors that would have to be “cut in” and come up with a bid. He estimated how many hours the job would take and figure his time at $10 an hour to paint it and that would be his bid.

As far as I know he never lost a paint job because the bid was too high. The homeowner would buy the paint, through Dad, and I’m sure he got a slice of that action, since they bought material at a paint store that Dad had a long-term relationship with. My Dad was a hard worker and a competitive sort; after he got the job he would work as hard and as fast as he could and usually wind up making more than the estimated $10 an hour.

Here’s a paint-related story you may have heard. A guy is sitting in a bar enjoying a beer when an attractive young woman sits down next to him. She said “Mister, I’ll do anything you want for $100.” He thought for a moment and replied, “Okay.  Paint my house.” Probably a true story but I can’t verify it.

It’s somewhat difficult to find house painters.  One fellow I know specialized in interior painting. I’m not sure if he’s still active as a painter. He was charging so much a square foot for painting interiors.

The exterior of my house is overdue for a paint job and this year is the year it will happen. My days of climbing a tall ladder are over, but I’ve got a friend lined up to do the high work and most of the low work. I’ll be his go-fer and help where I can.