There’s No Ain’t in Paint

Applying new paint is now only slightly more fun than scraping old paint. Painting used to be a blast, back when you had paint fumes for entertainment. But in their old age, paint manufacturers have become sticks-in-the-mud (rumor has it, Sherwin Williams never cracks a smile now, and Benjamin Moore has become a stoic philosopher) and now only sell low-fume paints so you can’t get high off your house siding. Without fumes, painting is officially a joyless activity that takes you to some pretty dark places. Yesterday, sun glaring, I was standing on a ladder painting the gables and started thinking about water, which strangely led me to think about water-boarding. I found myself wondering, Why didn’t the CIA just give enemy combatants old farmhouses to scrape and paint? 

My general philosophy is to let paint flake off the house naturally before repainting, but my wife says that’s unsightly. Built in 1897, our farmhouse has so many layers of lead paint adhered that I’m pretty sure it’s bulletproof. I’ve yet to see a bullet hole in our house, and I’ve inspected every square-inch of it with a paint scraper. Repainting the house is my goal this summer, which is why I’m completely against my wife setting goals. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried diligently to get out of painting, but she just repeats her new slogan whenever I approach and open my mouth. 

“I ain’t feeling too…” I’ll start to say, but before I can finish telling her about my feelings, she just says, “There’s no ain’t in paint.” This is only slightly more empathetic than her previous slogan: “You can’t spell paint without pain.” 

Of course, I’ve already tried the Tom Sawyer bit. But children these days are more streetwise than Mark Twain’s time. You’d think climbing a twenty-foot ladder with a sharp paint scraper would appeal to adventurous kids, but so far none of the neighborhood children have wanted to paint my house. They just stay inside and play video games. It’s sad really, the work ethic of children these days. 

Pretty close to an enhanced interrogation technique if you ask me.

What’s your least favorite farm activity or chore?

A Grilled Cheese with That

In the northern part of our county, the old Costner farmhouse burned down. Nobody was hurt, but six fire departments were called. It was a big shindig. Word got out quickly and a crowd assembled forthwith. And yet, despite good turnout, our local food truck failed to show. It’s normally ubiquitous at big gatherings, so I expected it to arrive griddles blazing, ready to capitalize and serve artisanal grilled-cheese sandwiches to the gawkers. Myself, I’d have gotten the five-cheese on rye with rosemary garnish.

Turns out a seventy-five-year-old man had been squatting in this dilapidated farmhouse–who knew? Apparently, the whole countryside knew; it was kinda of a well-known secret. The old man accidentally started the fire with a propane heater.

Only the absentee landowner was surprised to hear about the squatter. In fact, they were surprised to hear about the farmhouse. No doubt, representatives from the REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) had intentions to get out and walk the land before they flipped it to developers, but they just hadn’t had time to make it down from New York. In any event, they were glad to hear that an eye-sore on their property was now gone.

Personally, I cringe when I hear “eye-sore” used to describe a dilapidated farmhouse like the Costner house. It wasn’t trashy or even really junky, just old and derelict. If anything, I think old farmhouses add to the landscape. Though I like watching stuff burn as much as the next fella, I hate to see old farmhouses go.