Sunday, August 9, 2015

Watching paint dry... Literally.

"Honey...we are literally standing here watching paint dry."

My husband, Jason, and I stood about 15 feet back from the house.  The sticky air and unrelenting Florida sun penetrated our entire being; sweat dripped down our backs.  Jason held the paint can, I held the paint brush.

We watched the house - hoping that the lighter and darker shades of paint would somehow become the same color as we literally watched the paint dry.

It all started about a month ago, with a mysterious white stain on the front of the house and a letter from the Home Owners Association informing us that we needed to deal with it.

Attempt #1: So, a couple weeks ago, we took a trip to Home Depot and Mr. Paint Guru told us to get some CLR (Calcium Lime Rust Remover) and a scrub brush.  So we did.  We hosed down the wall, sprayed the CLR, brushed it and rinsed it - several times.  The stain came off, but not completely.

Attempt #2: So, we decided to paint over the stain - as a few people had suggested.  Well.  Have you ever tried to match a paint color before?  If not, let me just say that if you want to feel ridiculous, humiliated and have your pride hurt a bit, go ahead and try it sometime.

It is basically impossible.

Let me explain.

We brought in a paint chip the size of a quarter from one side of the house to Home Depot to see if we could get the same color paint.  Mr. Paint Guru mixed us up a sample of that color.  And just to be sure, we went ahead and got samples of a shade lighter and a shade darker.  We bought two paintbrushes and returned to the house.

We tested the 3 shades on the side of the house - and found one that matched the best.

The problem is that the Florida sun has totally bleached the right side of the house, but not the front.  So the color that works well on the side doesn't exactly show up as the same color on the front.

Needless to say, we painted over the white stain in a semi-inconspicuous area on the front of the house to test out the paint.  Initially, it looked much worse than the original white stain.

But then, as we watched the paint dry, the color darkened to match the color of the house much better!

And thus began the "paint a little, wait for it to dry, check it, then paint some more" routine.

After several cycles, we finally finished.  We do think it is less noticeable than the white-stain from before.  And after sweating and struggling through the 'watching paint dry' process, I don't think we're biased at all.

Still, as the outcome wasn't perfect, both Jason and I kind-of felt like we had wasted a bunch of our time - especially given that we need to re-paint the whole house anyway in the next few months.  Painting the stain was only to buy a little more time with the Home Owners Association, which might work, or it might not.  We'll see.

Either way, watching paint dry today cause me to wonder if there are other situations that I am going through right now that feel similar to the agonizing process of waiting for paint to dry.

Normally, I'm all about efficiency and making the most of the time while I wait for something else.  However, today, there was nothing else we could do, but wait for the paint to dry.

If we had gone ahead and painted more before it was dry, it would have been a huge risk because we couldn't be sure of the outcome since the smaller section hadn't dried yet.

If we had given up at first glance thinking the paint was the wrong color, we might have missed the hope-filled moment when the shade ever so quietly turned darker to more closely match the color of the house.

What areas in my life am I currently finding it hard to be patient?  Where am I tempted to rush in and take over before waiting to see how it might end up without my interfering?

What relationships or tasks in my life have I wanted to give up on because they didn't turn out the way I initially planned?

What situations in my life appear to be much worse at first glance, but in reality only need a little more time to reveal something better than I could have imagined?

Maybe sometimes, in a particular decision or attitude or action, the only response I am called to in that moment is to wait and watch.

Maybe sometimes there's more to be revealed in the process than I realize.

Maybe sometimes I need just to watch the paint dry.

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