The bathroom, called a “head” in yachts, on Kuna is green. A lot of things are green. The couches, the waterline stripe, the painting on the hatches, the “front door” and the UV strip on the jib (that’s the sail at the front). It must’ve been the fashion in the 90s because I’ve seen a lot of boats convicted to a similar fate. But I was committed to reversing it for Kuna.
Project remove green was going to start in the head!
I’d been dreaming over pictures of beautiful white heads with dark wooden trims and decided that was the timeless look I wanted for Kuna. I’d never painted a wall in my life, but how hard could it be? In fact, it seemed like the most fun and satisfying job on my to-do list!
I started with some sanding – a few nights of it because I was in no particular rush and could only handle an hour at a time in the small unventilated room before blowing my nose would produce a fluro green output.
After that I scrubbed the walls, stocked up on paints at Bunnings (a 3 in 1 primer and an external house paint with a hard high gloss finish) and then began taping the skirts.
5 minutes into taping and still on my first row of varnished wooden trim I decided to YouTube the technique. “Using masking tape for painting walls”, I consulted with Google. Was I missing something? Shouldn’t this be quicker or easier? I picked up a couple of tips from a 2 minute YouTube tutorial on how to tape the skirts of a wall and got back to it. It was tedious work though with over 30 skirtings of different shapes and sizes, curved and straight, around the small head.
When it came time to paint, I cut my teeth on the back of the door first – rolling out the bulk of it and then filling in the edges. It seemed straight forward and the primer was covering the green nicely! I posted some snaps and videos to Facebook (you can watch them here) and, luckily, some of the guys picked up that I should be rolling first and “cutting” (filling in the edges) second for a smoother finish. And I was also introduced to a thing called an ‘edger’ that could remove the need for taping. Ah. It made so much sense!!
On I went though, painting away as music blared from my JBL speaker. 1 primer coat. 2 primer coats. More time lapse videos of the progress on Facebook here.
By Sunday night I was done with that, and come Monday after work I finished the first topcoat. Tuesday night (tonight), after completing the second and final topcoat, I decided to wait until the morning for it to dry. What a great way to wake up and start the day tomorrow, I thought, revealing my freshly completed head!
A phone call with a friend, though, where I proudly showed off my newly painted head, took a turn for the worst…
“Wait, you’re not finished are you?” He said.
“Yeah!” I replied.
That’s when he broke the news, “Well the tape is still on and the paint is dry… I hope you bought good tape or the paint that has dried over the top of it will probably just peel all the way back to the walls when you remove it!”
Oh dear… Oh no…
I hung up the phone and faced the wall. Taking a breath I grimaced and peeled back the first bit of tape… Within seconds I could see his prediction was 100% correct. The beautiful white paint began to peel back along the edges – no more clean finish.
As I peeled back the tape, watching the two layers of primer and two layers of topcoat from hours and hours of work peel away with it, that little voice in my head started up. How did you fuck up painting? It’s supposed to be an un-fuck-up-able job, it’s like the easiest thing you could do! Just sell the yacht, live a simple life in a house away from engines that blow up, sinks that threaten to drown your home, and walls that you can’t even paint. Why did you need to paint it anyway? Stop trying to do things you don’t know anything about. You can’t do this –
I caught the voice midway, and smiled.
While my hard work that I was so proud of peeled away under my fingertips I began to take some kind of twisted pleasure in watching it flake off the edges. I watched the ugly green colour make its grand entrance back into the world and I continued to smile a little and shake my head as I did it.
I should’ve been furious at myself. I should’ve given up, bought a tub of Ben and Jerries ice cream and booked myself into a hotel. Instead, I was oddly happy. I was taking pleasure in destroying the hard work I’d put in because I knew it was likely the first and last time in my life I’d ever make this simple mistake. And sometimes, I think, you just have to laugh at those moments when they come up and take them all in. Because they probably, hopefully, won’t ever come again.
It’s just all part of the University of Kuna where I figure these things out the the hard way. I’ll have another go tomorrow.