The aquamarine Adirondack chairs looked adorable in the French furniture store on Abbot Kinney, so adorable they had to come home with me. Four years later, not much use out of them, but still brightening up the otherwise plain back-yard, the paint is chipping away and the effect is not so much “distressed” as just uncared-for.
For those of you who have been reading this for a while or personally know me, you are aware that I can be defeated by a remote control, that I would rather live with malfunctioning appliances rather than try to fix anything myself and my DIY experience is limited to painting a cabinet an improbable shade of blue many years ago and some arts and crafts back in school best forgotten by me and the recipients of my handiwork. I might have some talent at cooking but am otherwise useless with my hands.
But I have decided to change this state of affairs – I got so much flak for my post about my ineptitude and for relying on the series of handy guys that populate my Rolodex (yes, I still have one of those) that I am embarking on the adventure of repainting the chairs. And there is also that thing of constantly needing to learn something new as we age to keep our brains exercised. Apparently the chairs need to be sanded first. Uh? Then a coat of primer needs to be applied (I am actually not even sure what a primer is) and then finally paint. It’s all more involved than I would like but Martha’s website assures me it’s as easy as pie and if her assortments of assistants and magazine editors can do it, who am I?
The garage that I perpetually try to empty actually spits out a Black and Decker sanding machine on which I have to secure some sanding paper. It seems easier than using plain elbow grease. The first hurdle is the assortment of sanding paper I have to contend with – it comes in a million different variations, from light sanding to heavy-duty. I settle on a 100 count although I initially leaned towards the 600 but I am told it’s too aggressive. Wouldn’t it be faster? But I know better and I amazingly shut up this time and just take what I am suggested.
Armed with gloves and my new-found toy, I drag one chair closer to the outlet and I start. If you have never used one of these handy-dandy toys before you might want to know that a) the noise will annoy the neighbourhood and will drive your dog crazy b) it vibrates exactly like a powerful vibrator, just a lot bulkier and heavier and c) by the time you are done, your arm will keep on shaking for 15 minutes but it might give your muscles a work out.
While alternating sanding with the toy and using my bare hands and paper to get to the crevices where the machine will not do, I understand while this type of labor always eluded me. I am bored. If I can find some poetry in shelling a case of peas or chopping onions, I have a much harder time keeping myself entertained while painting or chipping off at the paint. Even visualizing the finished project doesn’t help much which is why I stopped at one chair today, promising myself and Ottie (who was extremely unimpressed with the ruckus and abandoned me half way through) that I will tackle the second one tomorrow. Next week-end I will prime. With some luck and no other interesting plans I will have the chairs restored in a month. I swear I will get it done to prove to all of you and to myself that I can. And I will also try not to wonder how much it would have cost had I called one of my handy guys.