Painting With Murph

Well, not literally. He does keep me company when I am painting & I like for him to see what’s happening in the house.

But, he’s not looking

Since moving to this home, we recently had another less-than-a-quick-fix room with which to contend!! I have been wanting to paint this room since the moment I saw it. The photo below shows what I was seeing upon the removal of layers (yep, that’s plural) of wallpaper border at the ceiling & paper glued the entire length of 3 corners.

Why along the corners, who does this?! It’s obvious there was once thin trim in the corners (also, why?), which were removed for the purpose of wallpapering them.:


“My lizard and I share the same design sense. I’m not sure which of us is more relieved this room has changed.”


Lil’ Murph, is happy enough with the new color that you’re about to see. My lizard & I share the same design sense. I’m not sure which of us is more relieved this room has changed. The chosen color is similar to a color we used before (some photos of that room are in our gallery). Murph did not go with me to choose the paint. The new color is a touch too pink. Maybe he would have mentioned it had he been there, I dunno. It’s fine though, the room is better than it was & brighter in that NW corner. This room tested my patience, largely because of the border, but I got it all down – sanity mostly intact! Those lines you see above is where the border use to be. Looky at the change!:


This photo is when we’ve nearly got the room where we want it. I changed it 3 times since this pic & am now done!:

I would say Murph may be confused how his surroundings change colors so often, but because I make him a part of the alterations, he understands – to a degree.

It’s been said I paint so often that we lose square footage & Murph may agree. There are reasons these changes of colors occur around us more often than in most homes, but, let’s not get into that.

Many people may consider a 19 1/2″ long lizard to be big, but, he is actually itty bitty sweet stuff .

I started this post to show you how cute & tiny Murph appears, as well as to show a window into another aspect of Murph’s life at home – one that doesn’t get many spotlights. Yet, what I intended is just growing as long as that da** wallpaper border laid end-2-end!! Some of you understand how that happens. Let’s not get into that.

If you want to learn (or relate to) a bit about the painting world & see more start-to-finish photos, hang out with us here a bit longer. I’ve added them below. Otherwise, you may want to abort now.

In regards to the room above, irritants included with this room’s renewal are, but not limited to:

° While drywall tape & drywall mud are drying to seal the corners where someone removed trim to apply border vertically, I must scrape more border & sponge away glue residue elsewhere. For efficiency, I time things so that everything is dry when I’m read to 1st coat cut. Paint application is cut in with the brush > roll when dry > 2nd coat cut > 2nd coat roll & so on. Why? Because sometimes, despite how well the paint can is shaken or the paint is stirred between coats, what is called “flash” appears. It’s where brushwork was applied after rolling. When the light shines just right, one can see that cut line (or touch-up spots done with a brush), whether ‘feathered out’ for blending or not.

°Caulk ceiling line, around window trim, baseboards, & wherever needs it. Egad… too much caulking, holes worn in gloves!! Fingertips are okay!! 1 3/4 tubes caulk gone in one room. Wow! Next, spackle (like wood putty for walls) roughly 50 small holes &/or dents. Dear God, what is the history of this room?!! View this slideshow.:

You may zoom in on any photo. Every gap, crack & hole you may have noticed is now gone, and oh we are having fun now!! Hundreds of tiny, wet wallpaper bits will dry, harden, stick onto, perpendicular to, & around a tarp. I throw the scratching tool (with grand grumpiness) out of the line of vision – don’t put the scraping tool (5 in 1) away, it is now needed to scrape wallpaper bits … again … this time from off the floor & lower walls.

° Take the tarp that I just stopped using (with more grumpiness) & spread it out in the way somewhere to dry. When it’s dry, drag the da** thing into the kitchen where there’s not much room & swipe off most of the paper. Then, just sweep the kitchen. Collect new trail of paper fragments leading to the kitchen. Instead of burning the tarp, fold it neatly & stow away.

°Good thing I have a tarp, I need it to cover the bed & dresser to paint the ceiling (see photos of Murph above). Other items were moved out, just to go in again. Roll & cut ceiling line. Ignore the skippers (itty bitty spots where the paint on the roller didn’t cover perfectly) found upon drying, this bastard’s only getting one coat. Also prime gloss door spots, with flat, where loose, old paint was scraped (see slideshow above) & prime wood window trim with white, flat finish paint. Murph was strategically moved. He did not catch a drop of roller rain. Okay, that’s it, I’m throwing in the tarp! Done for that day.

° Next day: 1st coat cut all of room: around windows, doors, ceiling trim, above baseboards, in corners. But wait, the mud cracked in the corners! Whip out the caulk again? No, flood it with paint & cross fingers. Turn on fan. Go clean while it dries. Then, 1st coat roll all of room. Very grumpy. Done for the day.

I flooded the corners with paint & am pleased to anounce it worked!
I was shown how & why to not ‘tape off’ trim, unless it’s necessary to protect it from overspray or roller rain (droplets that are flung from a roller sleeve). Must not have a cheap brush to accomplish this. Become one with the brush! Manipulate & bend bristles thusly, always controlling the tip. Observe paint level leaving the brush, act accordingly. The window trim you see is primed in flat. Semi-gloss will be applied after walls are finished. I don’t have to be slow & careful priming the trim, only the finish coat.

°Next day: Repeat with 2nd coat. Let dry. Notice a few thin spots. Touch-up. Darn, upon close inspection, a painter would notice this one wall needs a 3rd coat of roll. Why? Don’t know, don’t care. No one else will notice. Draw the line somewhere. 1st coat cut & roll semi-gloss on trim. Where the cut was 1st applied, it will be dry by the time I get back to that point with the roller. “Cut” means the brush work where the roller can’t touch, such as the vertical edge of a door trim, grooves & corners.

°Next day, oh boy, time to 2 & 3 coat cut (drying to ‘tacky’ between coats) with semi-gloss, the drawers, doors, around the knobs & hardware. But hey, someone already painted all the door hinges. At least I don’t have to cut around those! Paint those hinges, but keep checking I have no ‘runs’. Paint trim, baseboards, & window trim

°2 & 3 coat roll doors & 4 drawers built into the wall (ugh) with a weenie roller & sleeve. Spread this last round of work over a 3 day period, because I’m burned out.

*A weenie roller is tiny & used for less post-work cleanup. Tiny screens are made to fit into a paint bucket to roll off excess paint.

°Am I done, can I move things back yet?! Nope. The paint bubbled there below for no apparent reason. Scrape it. All the previous paint colors remind me of a world map in “Everlasting Gobstopper” candy style! Does anyone remember that candy? Do I mud, sand, & prime that area to fix it? Nope, who needs smooth walls? That’s a luxury I can live without. Paint is still nearby. It will take 3 coats to cover the interesting color combination. Feather out to blend. The room is nearly empty, I might as well scrub paint specks, the still stuck paper fragments & dirt from the floor. A scrub brush, the scraper, hot water & strength is needed. Oh, nice… the sealant on the wood floor is so old it’s washing away. Okay, that’s fine. The sheen is gone. Guess we’re going with a rustic appearance. I will bring items into the room as each coat of paint & sections of the floor dries – efficiency!!

*Roller work doesn’t show ‘flash’ as much as brushwork may – if paint is well blended. Feathering means to lighten the pressure you apply to the wall as you move out & away from the problem spot. This leaves no definitive touch-up lines to draw the eye.

Those were dumb & unexplainable bubbles.

It is one weight off my shoulders to be finished & it’s Murph approved!

It is the Westerly sun hitting that blanket that causes the walls to look this way! It’s aglow! I use to wish for a silver, fuzzy blanket for this bed, but this one has a magickal effect & does the job it’s designed to do.
If someone sees any room in the house with a response of either “Oooh!” Or “What the ____?!”, I am pleased. : )
I didn’t bother lighting the candles for every shelf. You can imagine it’s wicked pretty!

Prior to this room’s work, I had to strip wallpaper in other rooms… or, throw up my hands in defeat & paint over sections where wallpaper possessed upmost stubbornness!

Reason: To abolish the blue flowers on the mauve (yeah, mauve) background that prevented me from decorating – or simply concentrating.

The living room, the dining room (more like a room to walk through to get to the kitchen), and the hallway – THEY WERE ALL FLORAL! As far as the eye could see – like ’80’s polka dots. They flourished! I began to wonder if they multiplied when I blinked.

Then, there is the kitchen. – don’t even know what I was seeing in there!! It involved something of brown-ish & words that made me cringe.

Two and three, 3 layers of border under the ceiling line. It appears someone attempted to remove some border & gave up, which is why there were 3 layers on 2 of the walls. I understand why… because of the da**ed glue! THE WRONG GLUE!! Hell’s glue!! What kind of glue did these people use? Surely not wallpaper adhesive.

Perhaps, they applied some dissonant blend of evil commercial grade adhesive & 2-part epoxy that, I am assuming could hold a bridge together!

Whatever it is, it was hellacious enough to make me, with adequate removal tools, make fists, grumble unmentionables, & paint over the remnants that didn’t succumb to my wrath!

With sore shoulders from scratching wallpaper & a mess of water & paper everywhere, who needs perfect walls anyway??!! Don’t care about smooth walls!! Just white it out for now!

Did I mention I hate wallpaper?

We could share Before & After pics from other rooms, but, let’s not get into that.

A challenge for later: paint anything left that is brown. Poor craftmanship here and there may be concealed with caulk & other tricks. I think Murph will approve. It is said the painter hides the sins of the carpenter.

Some people just should not carpent.

200 frustrations aside, it’s a good place where we are. It took time to feel like home, for a few reasons, and Murph did not like it here in the beginning – for atleast 2 months. He was clearly uncomfortable & stressed. It was not the home he knew. I think he was concerned about his fate & what was happening. He wanted his other home & our squirrel friends. He still refuses to like a neighbor’s dog & cat, but he loves it here now. He only likes his dog brother & that’s just sweet.

I complain, but I know it’s from conditioning. I see what others have & wish things better. On the flip side, I see how a large number of other people live. In which case, I could kick myself on the rear-end for complaining.

You have probably concluded that painting makes me grumpy. See, I suffered from ‘burn-out’ years ago. Helping to get a business in motion, the hope of making great money, supplying jobs for others, & not doing that painting part of the work any longer, never saw fruition. Despite good pay & independence, it’s difficult to find dependable employees in the painting world (& elsewhere). If an employer cannot find leaders to stay & take the reins, so to speak, that business will last only as long as the owners are willing to do that side of the work as well. I became tired of carrying 5 gallon buckets of paint up flights of stairs in a rush. I never enjoyed inhaling paint molecules from a sprayer (like a power-washer for paint). I no longer wanted my hands to feel like sandpaper from paint coverage, cleaning brushes, buckets, 5’s, paint screens & filters (nets), & roller sleeves. There is much about cleaning them I do not like. Oh yeah, and pretty fingernails … nope, not in this line of work.

Anyone ever blow your nose and secrete paint strings from being near a sprayer in use, despite all attepts of avoidance, such as wearing masks (the real kind w/ replaceable filters)? Yet, those miniscule droplets ricocheted off the walls hover in a room, like a cloud, for quite a while. I’d open windows and not paint in the room where the sprayer is used, but these things helped only a bit. Anyone have knees that often pop because man-sized knee pads only slowed your awesome baseboard painting speed? Good educational times there! I need knee pads made for a Smurph, I suppose. I had had enough!!

Now, after a full day of painting at home, I am reminded, “Oh yeah … I hate this sh** now!” But, those 1980’s flowers on the walls needed to be buried under paint. The 80’s were cool, but I am not a fan of that decade’s decor. It is good, however, that we don’t have to pay a painter or look at shoddy work.

I am grateful I have the ability & opportunity to make tiny cosmetic alterations, despite my attitude problem. I ended up with painting skills, I might as well use them occasionally.

I do not often share personal stories, but I am today, not just for the story, that I hope it gives you a grin, but I learned a valuable lesson that will reveal itself later. I hope it helps someone, somehow. So, the story starts… it may seem to stray from the point, but it’s for full story setting… it will resume to an understandable conclusion.:

I was recently reminded of 2 characters I encountered while experiencing a realm in the past, & that is too many years in apartment re-paints.

“Why are they called apartments when they’re all stuck together?”

– Gallagher

I spent 1 of those years with a contract of cleaning at one of the apartment complexes where we painted. When I completed cleaning schedules of apartments, duplexes, halls (2 carpeted levels) & the clubhouse, I was back to painting. Cleaning them is worse than painting them.: Scrub until muscles give out. Wait 20 seconds. Get 2nd wind. Scrub until muscles give out. Wait …. try not to throw tools & chemicals down & walk out in rebellious defiance & scrub some more!! Ooh… that took discipline!

I was self-taught & ultimately had this cleaning bit down to a science. It was still a nightmare! I’d soak the tub & appliances in chemicals while I did this, that, & the other. I’d then put on a mask (the real kind with filters) to protect my lungs from fumes & microscopic molecules & return to the tub & shower doors to scrub & scrape (with a paint scraper : ). Those hard water stains are a force to be reckoned with!! I had to make everything look new again. I’d wrap up some loose ends, then finish with a beautifully lined vacuuming job right out the door! “Voila” … “&#)@!!”

So, at that complex, when I painted, I got to see what I’d be getting into later. Often, I did not want to go back to clean it.

Allow me to paint this scene for you.: At one complex was a maintenance man who spoke like Boomhauer on “King of the Hill”!! He was dubbed “Bobhauer”. Maybe he was aged 55 (ish) years. …

I’m running on fumes. It may have been another day when we were painting at our 3rd complex of the day to paint 5 (1-3 bedrooms each) apartments in total, making one hell of a long day. Occasionally there were days of nearly 4 hrs. of driving. there was no rest, for a while, when I got home. I had people, a house, errands, & a lizard, Copper, to care for. I also needed to see my parents when I could. Often, I’d be so drained & needing a good laugh, that when finishing an apartment, running around pulling tape that protected light switches & door stoppers from overspray became my favorite thing.

How? That’s because at that point, pulling tape meant we were almost outta that one & yanking tape from the doorstops (the kind that are a spiralling spring) creates a funny “boing” sound!!! I’m smiling just thinking about it.

When one is loony from overworking, it is possible to laugh at any stupid thing. And, if I am the one pulling tape & the others hear my giggles echoing through an empty apartment, they all knew what it meant!!! Rarely and oddly, I’d find needles in the walls. I’m guessing people hung lightweight items from them. If you flick them with your fingertip, you will sometimes hear a funny “boing” from them as well. Sometimes the unexpected gets us through a workday.

When I worked a different full-time job (not painting), one that I enjoyed, with many people there I cared for, I cleaned an elderly couple’s home each week on my only 2 days off from that job. That full-time job was also fast-paced & required much mental & physical stamina. At points I was able to break away & sit at a desk to handle other business. I do not like being at a desk too long. I have an innate urge to rebel toward anything confining me to stay put. The balance between activity & the time at the desk was often good. Once, while having this job, I had only 2 days off in a year. I also had other responsibilities & family, as I mentioned above. I’ve never taken a sick day. I don’t need a pat on the back. I’ m simply stating that we have to be silly or daydream for a minute sometimes to stay sane. Let people be goofy (not stupid), you may not know what they’re going through! : )

Let’s drive this story back to a funny maintenance man who may have, at times, required an interpreter for the listeners.

So, we’re wrapping up this apartment, when I, needing a good laugh, happened to be in the room when the guy walked in for whatever reason I forget now. So, there I am, the first encountered person, so a conversation arose. I have no idea how it began, or what was spoken. All that I recall is his saying (verbatim), “My grandpappy’s been makin’ Moonshine since I was knee-high to a piss ant!!!!”

What?! Did you really just say that? Are you a real person, dude??!! What exactly is a piss ant??!! I deduce you weren’t born & raised here!!” I didn’t say that, thunk it, though.

Man, o’ man! I told someone soon as I could inch myself away from that gem of a speak, because I couldn’t believe it transpired!

Nothing bad about the guy, he was simply an endless source of entertainment & never knew it!! I just had to share it with someone who knew what timeless a statement such as that really was!!

I don’t know if anyone will again live a life that makes those words utter from their lips in such a truthful (assuming) & comedic manner. Not only do few people make their own Moonshine, but perhaps ol’ Grandpappy lived during Prohibition (Ya know more laws only make more underground trades & black markets). Strange times, indeed!!

Another maintenance man at a complex, maybe 20 minutes from that one, he was a trip because he was so relaxed. I didn’t speak to him often, but overheard his talking with others. His voice sounded exactly, I mean exactly like Chong’s (of Cheech & Chong, & no joke, his name was Tom (as in Tommy Chong)!! Bob & Tom were 2 characters, for sure!

This is what I wanna drive home here.: This was one tough time. Some amount of good came from it. An education was had. I also learned how to make $25 feed a family of 4 & a lizard for a week back then. Things got better. We had a lot of work, repeat customers & almost enough employees. Things get better, then, they don’t, then, they do … you can almost get sea sick from it.

I tell you this, I’d give up that education to get back my time!! I lost valuable time with loved ones doing something I didn’t like anymore. Among those handful of special beings, was a precious lizard, Copper, whose highlight of her life was being held by the people she loved. I let her, and not only her down, by not being around. Although we may believe we could be better or do more in life, our simple lack of presence may be more detrimental to the well-being of others than we give ourselves credit at the time.

I know what it’s like to be ‘stuck’ doing something you don’t like to do to financially afford things. But, if someone had told me … no, rather, shown me, how to find a few options to change courses, I would have done it. I still havn’t figured out what I want to be when I grow up : ), but I have learned if you are stuck sacrificing time that prevents you from being with your favorite souls, do it with something or someone that fulfills, or is atleast contentful to your heart.

If you do something you hate that keeps you from those you love, it’s like double jeopardy. If you’re like me, this will only add to your guilt for not having found a way to juggle everything AND have life with loved ones. It strangely feels like 2 sets of parallel lives, both your own, with wasted years lived simultaneously. While this crap is happening over here, that crap is happening over there, and you’re experiencing both of them. I believe if you don’t have peace-of-mind, you may not be able to be entirely present anywhere – mentally or spiritually. That is not the way it should be for you or those those that love you. It already exists, that even good times are pregnant with the state of their own impermanence. You cannot get lost in the enjoyment of good times that are irreplaceable with those whose clock is ticking – just as your own, if your mind is all hopped up on stress crack and your heart is anxious & fearful. You won’t be able to be there with your entire self when you do find time to be there physically. And that, will add to regrets. How often do we hear stuff like what is mentioned here & not heed the warnings? How often do we hear, “Do as I say, not as I do.”?

The special lizard in my life (& yours too, from afar) is Murph. And, I don’t want to do things I don’t like anymore. I don’t want regrets anymore. I want to make a living & not leave Murph alone for 10 & 16 hours a day (or ever, really), as I did to Copper for a time. Also, there is human family time I can’t get back. We often feel we’ll have certain people in our lives forever because it only seems fair that we will. But, they leave or get taken from us. Regarding that, I say, “Fu** the Reaper. We are not friends”. I, so far, have always sensed him, leading up to and especially the day of a loved one’s leaving. He is a thief in my eyes. Sometimes, death is better than years of severe physical suffering which will also become mental suffering, but I still don’t like feeling the soul collector’s presence.

We have to do what we have to do, but it extra hurts to have lost time with others only to be miserable & feel the outcome wasn’t worth the input the entire time.

If you’re starting a business in hopes of not working soon, or partly anyway, but can’t find the right people for your endeavours who will be leaders or do great work (who won’t call in sick because they are hung over, or who won’t leave a mental note stating they had to leave their responsibilities due to mental ineptness to function, & thus complete a job), you may possibly regret beginning. After all, you have the other end of business, like paperwork, taxes, scoring more work, supplying jobs for those that need it, etc.

You will be stuck working long days until you get so sick of it that you start the work day later & end it earlier than you did before. Just because you’re good at something, doesn’t necessarily mean you have a passion for it & should do it. If you’re doing work that makes you miserable, you know you won’t retire with it, get out of it now, or as soon as possible. Time is our most precious commodity. We cannot get it back.

To those who own, operate, or are considering beginning a new business, I’m not suggesting to not pursue such. It may be successful & help many families & the economy for years to come! You may do such a fabulous job & get with the best people for success, that the company may outlive you!!! You may possibly leave the business in the care of your family and it will help them and others for generations!! I am suggesting that if you pursue something, make certain you enjoy it.

If you are unhappy in the way you make money to survive or thrive, take the lessons you have learned & run like hell. Better your life, lengthen the time spent with the most important people, animals, & experiences in your life and persevere to be the best you that you can be. If something keeps you away from those who truly love you, they probably atleast want you to be happy. Do it for them. Do it for you.

Our Murph would certainly have boredom, sadness, and loneliness if I were again gone (on average) for 13 hours nearly every day.

We are wishing happiness in whatever you, our friends and supporters, are doing out there. Thanks for the valuable time you have spent hanging out here. Hopefully, you experienced wonderful times visiting & chatting with loved ones before sitting down to rest & read this small book. There will never again be a post of this length from us, not even comparably, because we all have other things to do, learn, or love.

“Give me Lizardry or give me Death!” – Dawn Renée


  1. thank you for this post. It was a really long one, but thank you for getting a look inside you and your thoughts and feelings and not to forget the work you’ve done. Wise words with the time we can’t get back. I can imagine how it is to have 25$ for a week. I have also learned to live with little money. by the way, I like the colours of the room, all of them pink, purple, blue. And I do like wallpapers! 😉 love xx


  2. Thank you for that. I am honored that you read so much. Strange isn’t it, how experiencing living with little money, if only for a time, helps to build character or compassion in some, but aids in the acts of thieves & a**holes in others?

    Im glad you like these colors. Wallpaper is fine if it looks good, more importantly, if I don’t have to remove it! You can keep the wallpaper! All of it … everywhere!! : )

    Liked by 1 person

  3. you’re right.
    Well, I only like wallpapers if I don’t have to remove them :-). I am not having any, because of this. When I am moving out, I would have to remove it. It’s a ungrateful work.

    Liked by 1 person

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