Enter sandman

Whose cockamamie idea was it to paint that metal chair?

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so — actually they seemed right up close like they always do. But yesterday I looked online and Bob Villa told me what to do to get that chair ready for painting. I took everything he told me to get and plunked it all into a Lowe’s order and picked it up curbside. Then I drove to Lowe’s and pulled into the special you’re-a-coward curbside parking, which by the way, when you pull into a spot, the sign reads: Call us to tell us you’re here at

Then after that you can’t see anything. Once you pull up you totally can’t see the sign. It’s too low. Did no one test this out at the fine offices of Lowe’s? Maybe that’s why they call it Lowe’s. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

So I had to stand up in my car like I was the Pope and call so they could bring my my coney dog to my window, along with my paint, primer, methadone, you know the drill.

Then I drove it all home and got it out of my car and got a dropcloth and got started and OH MY GOD.

I was supposed to brush the chair with a metal brush and then sand it smooth. No one would come out and tell me if that meant, “Sand the chair till it’s down to the metal” or what, so I just kept sanding. And sanding.

And sanding.

I was sweating like Whitney Houston. I was Mr. Sandman. I sanded and I sanded and I hope you’re getting the picture. And after like 92 hours of sanding? That damn paint was still all over the chair. I used the metal brush they insisted would work so well, and when it didn’t I put it away and found a brush exactly like it in my everything closet where I put stuff like that.

Anyway, next thing you know it was time for my trainer and you know what I didn’t need yesterday? Exercise. Oh my god they should add Sanding a Metal Chair classes at your local Elaine Powers or wherever. After all that, I had to lunge and plank and lift up my voice and what-all, and I barely made it to bed before I was asleep. I slept from 10:30 till four minutes to 9:00 this morning. I woke up and all four cats were sleeping on the four corners of the bed like the four agreements or the four directions or the four fabs.

I would have admired that longer but Alf, my absurd handyman, was coming at 9 so I was in a bit of a panic. And here’s the problem with Alf. Here’s why he earns his moniker. I stampeded outside with my coffee to prime that


as soon as Alf got there because the directions on the back said to only use the primer when the humidity was less than 65%. When I read that last night, I’d checked and we were at 64% right then but I had the trainer and then after I was exhaust pipe. So I wanted to get out there as soon as I could today because September in the South is not low in the humidity.

I just asked my Google machine and right this minute my personal humidity here is 95%. This is what I’m saying about the urgency of doing it right away this morning. I had not meant to sleep till four minutes to Alf.

“Why are you painting without a mask?” asked Alf, my ridiculous handyman, whose work was supposed to be both in the front yard and also at my sink, which needed caulked.

“If you get that in your hair you’re going to be very sorry.”

“Is that the brush you’re using?”

“Actually, I think it’s pronounced Bob Veee-la.”

“Why did you—“

“ALF,” I screeched, because we have the kind of relationship where we can screech.

So Alf made his way to my front porch, where the stucco on the stoop has a crack. But while he caulked and he cracked and he sealed and he also took down this stupid curtain that had literally been screwed into my kitchen window, during all that, he complained that I splash water too much on my counter. He complained that back behind the toaster, there were crumbs. He complained that I had a fourth cat. He complained about this. He complained about that. He listened in on a phone call and asked why I’d talked about myself. He asked why Edsel stared at him.

Finally I took out my guillotine and sliced Alf’s head clean off and had it jauntily mounted, and when his family comes looking for him—assuming they even do—I need you to cover for me.

Meanwhile, it began to rain on my primed-and-drying metal chair. Alf complained as we dragged it to the snake shed together.

“You’re gonna need to give that a day to dry now, since it’s sitting under a layer of water,” Alf said, and then lectured me on why me finding a handy boyfriend would pale in comparison to continuing to hire him. He mentioned this because I had mentioned it in my phone call, a phone call he shamelessly eavesdropped on, did I mention? Say “mention” one more time.

So that’s where it stands now. My chair, a chair I’ve named Sandy, is drying in the snake shed and I have to wait yet another day to paint it, but at least I’ve crossed fix the stoop, caulk the sink and murder Alf from my list of to-dos.

From “vacation,”

41 thoughts on “Enter sandman

  1. Oh, June!
    I have been so busy–and still should be grading and creating content–but I hit a wall and came here to just read. It gave me solace. Thank you.

    Lovely post(s), lovely June!


  2. What are the spots on the wall behind the spoon-wielding woman in the header? Did she paint over blood spatters? Maybe she also had a ridiculous handyman.


  3. Somebody probably told you this already, but from someone who has painted a few metal things, the purpose of the wire brush is just to knock any loose chips of paint off the chair. Once you don’t see any more paint coming off, quit.

    And you don’t have to sand your arms off. You just want to sand down any high or rough edges in the old paint so you don’t see them again when you repaint. You leave most of the old paint there as long as it’s smooth and not loose or rough. The primer will cover many of those flaws, too.

    So hey, not much help after the fact when you probably can’t even lift your arms today. You’re welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I would love read about an encounter between Alf and Mile the Lumbee. Have they met? Is Alf threatened by him?
    I refused to paint because Michael mansplained so hard I got mad and quit. Future developments on hold for Tony and I.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is because they have “people” who do most of the work.
      This post would be a great script for a real life sitcom. HOLLYWOOD ARE YOU LISTENING!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. June , would you like to play yourself or if not, who would you choose to play your part.
        All the characters..interesting cast.


  5. Maybe that’s why they call it Lowe’s. Haaaa!
    Apparently sanding is just the way to burn calories. I power washed rugs for over an HOUR Sunday, and my fitness device credited me with zero minutes of movement. Hauled brush for 45 minutes – FOUR minutes of credit. I sanded a door for 11 minutes and it gave me all 11!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You are funny. I needed to laugh today and you sure gave me that opportunity!

    Thank you



  7. Oh my god, that doesn’t bode well for getting your list of things done on vacation. Alf needs a lil’ June talk.


  8. This post is hysterically funny! Sanding a Metal Chair classes is a hoot!
    Ohh, Alf. It’s so charming when *someone* mansplains all your (perceived) shortcomings, isn’t it?
    If I waited until the humidity was under 65% to paint, I would have the wide, wide window of about an hour and a half on January 5 each year. You can go on and paint, it’ll just take longer to dry/cure. Trust the lady who lives near the gulf coast. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. “Finally I took out my guillotine and sliced Alf’s head clean off and had it jauntily mounted, and when his family comes looking for him—assuming they even do—I need you to cover for me.”

    I will be laughing about this for the rest of the day.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Late to the party again, but I hope your chair turns out lovely. Can’t wait to see the color. I don’t remember voting on it, so that’s weird. I feel like readers should have had a vote. I like the part where Alf doesn’t eavesdrop subtly- just comes right out and comments on the conversation. Bless his heart.


  10. Alf asking endless questions and you screeching at him made me laugh out loud. Thanks for the entertainment.


  11. I am impressed that you are following all the directions to paint the chair. I kind of follow directions but usually decide there are some I can skip. Like when I had to reset my indoor/outdoor weather center and one step was “push any button 20 times.” What? That sounds like something they put in as a joke to make you look stupid. Turns out it wasn’t. Anyway. I have to paint the side garage door sometime this fall and I swear I will follow directions because it’s a mess and I don’t want to have to do it over again.


  12. I carefully read your account of the communication style you and Alf employ. Then I scrolled back up to your header picture and yup, there it was, a picture of what you probably looked like to Alf (only you’re prettier).


  13. Alf!
    You don’t have to sand/scrape the chair back to bare metal. Just smooth out the bumps – like the Duke boys – and move on to the fun part of painting.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Wax on. Wax off. Sand the floor (or chair).
    I can almost see you looking all Elisabeth Shue(ey) as Ralph is bent over busily sanding.
    You need a Ralph. Not an Alf.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Alf. Making it hard to love him since.. 1960?

    But checking things off your list — yay! Hope the chair survives the rain and humidity and looks as good as it can since it’s, you know, “vintage.”


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