Eye’ve Had About Enough of This

Monday May 30, 2011

We’ve been working hard to get the boat in the water as soon as possible this year, but since up until two weeks ago I’ve spent every Sunday working (at an actual paying job) I haven’t been able to help Matt and the progress has been a little slow.  Since he’s working on more intricate things, the supposedly easy job of painting the bottom of the boat was left to me.  Matt had been able to do this last year by himself in only two hours and his only advise was to move fast because the paint dries even faster.  He had applied two coats with one can of VC 17, very thin ones, so this year we bought two.  And since I did have a fight against the quickly evaporating paint, I was told it should not be poured into a paint tray to then be applied to the roller, but rather be put in a squirt bottle (like for hand lotions) and squirted directly onto the roller.

Even though this had been a two hour ‘Matt’ job, I was giving myself a two day time limit since I’m well aware of my strengths, or lack thereof.  After the waxing and polishing last spring I knew my arms would not last very long on a project containing the entire hull.  May I just say that I did want to pump iron to put some bulk on my arms over the winter, since my job of waitressing consists of carrying heavy trays above my head for hours at a time, and  I did not want to go into work with weak and wobbly arms after an extensive workout.  Losing a whole tray of food onto someone’s head would not be worth it.  So as I prepared myself to hire commercial painters in Connecticut, a hull I knew it would be hard and time consuming for me, but I had no idea just how much that would be so.  Even though I expected my arms to get tired from the workout, I also expected that the paint would actually spread when applied.  Not so much.  At least not for me.  I originally asked Matt for a 4″ roller because I knew I’d have to put most of my weight behind it and figured the more weight I could put into a smaller space the better.  But no matter how hard I tried, every time I’d go to roll the paint it would come out spotty.  And even though we had purchased two quarts this year….it was still only two quarts.  I did not have the luxury of fixing the problem by just throwing more paint on it.  I’ve probably said this before, I know it happens a lot, I don’t mind a time consuming project as long as there is progress being made.  But when you are working on something and it isn’t going anywhere…..it’s maddening.  This is what I felt like on the first day of bottom paint application.  Almost 8 hours later of hard labor, this is what I was left with.

I think I’m done now

Day two: There is no way this is going to get done.  Not this weekend anyway.  Which means that Memorial Day weekend will now be spent painting as well.  I think it made everything worse today, going in with defeat after the lack of progress made the day before.  Although the dark skies looming overhead did give me hope that maybe we’d be rained out..but then that would be just one more day I’d be behind.  Then at some point during the day a stroke of genius struck me.  Finger paining.  I may not be able to get the paint to spread on a roller, but I sure as hell could apply it to my gloved hand and spread it over the hull pretty easily.  I was pretty happy working along like this until I shared my plan with Matt, and he told me that ‘finger painting’ wouldn’t spread it easily and I’d have to go back to using the roller.  Boo.  Just when I thought I was getting somewhere.  So back to the roller it was.  Working like this for a few hours I was making even less progress than the day before because my arms were sore and could only be held up for two minutes at a time before needing a break.  Nearing the early evening Matt and gone in the cabin to do work and left me outside alone to work.  Without any prying eyes I decided to go back to finger painting.  Screw it, it was progress!!

I was actually quite happy working along with this and could have kept going all night except those dark clouds from earlier were now becoming even darker and there was thunder in the distance.  I assumed that we would go home with the rain but the direction was ‘keep working’.  When the rain actually did start I was saved from getting wet by actually working underneath the boat.  Cradled in the boat’s cradle I sat there while my bum slowly started to lose feeling.  People who were passing through the lot gave me strange looks as I worked that way, and a few even came over to tell me that severe storms were on the way and I should get moving.  After about three ‘warnings’ I was finally able to convince Matt that the whole boatyard was fearing for our safety and that it might be about time to pack up.  With my two days gone I didn’t get all of the painting done, basically only one side, but it was still feeling like success to me!


Seeing as the world didn’t end yesterday like it was supposed to, we went back to the boat and put in more work so we could get it in the water as soon as possible.  I knew I was going to have a long day in front of me, but at least the sun was shinning and temperatures were close to 80.  My first order of business was to re-tape around the water line again before I could get into the daunting task of actually painting.  Matt jumped into the lazarette to start painting that a nice clean white while I struggled with with the 20 knot winds blowing my tapes sticky sides together down below.  It was definitely getting more spacious in the yard with more and more boats going into the water, but it seemed that 70% of the people still on the hard were out working on their boats today.

After spending close to 30 minutes trying to perfectly apply the tape to the waterline I started gathering up my painting supplies while praying for 7:00 to come as soon as possible.  But with it not even being 11:30 yet I had a long way to go.   I was also nervous about switching to the 9″ roller we purchased on our way out since I wasn’t getting very far with the 4″ one last week.  If the new roller that was twice as big, was twice as hard to use, I had no idea how I was going to get through the day.  I started fresh on the port side instead of being discouraged by what I didn’t finish over on starboard.  I squirted a little bit of the paint on my roller and was elated when it glided across the bottom actually spreading the paint in a much larger area than I was able to achieve before.  I started happily painting away thinking that the first coat on this side and a second coat on both sides could very well be completed by the end of the day.

Things were going along well enough, and I had even taken a few breaks to chat with a fellow boater that was admiring our boat and had plans himself to leave soon and complete ‘The Loop’ with his wife.  Work was starting to slow down a little in the mid afternoon, and I was back to my position on the cradle painting areas above my head.   I was reverted to using a combination of the roller and finger painting, as a hand was much easier to lift above my head than a roller for these places.  I must have been getting a little sloppy and put too much paint on my gloved hand because when I went to raise it above me to spread, a big fat drop fell off and landed right in my eye.  Now it is never a good thing to get paint in your eye, but marine anti-fouling paint is highly toxic.  For a split second I thought to myself, ‘Ha, I don’t even feel anything.  So much for toxic’.  And then the burning started.  It was bad!!  Luckily we were only a few hundred feet from the restroom and I sprinted over there to flush my eye out while yelling “Matt!!  Matt!!”, although I doubt he heard me and wouldn’t have been able to do much to help anyway.  Busting open the door and throwing on the water, I started throwing handful and handful right onto my face.  When this didn’t feel like it was doing much I realized it might be best to get my contact out so it wasn’t blocking anything.  Trying to peel it off was so difficult, it felt like the paint had tried to attach the contact permanently to my eye.  Once it was finally free of my eyeball, the cool water felt like it was finally starting to take effect and I spent 5 more minutes with my face practically under the spout.

Deciding it was time to find Matt so he could tell me exactly how much trouble I had just gotten myself into, I marched back to the boat, unable to keep my eye open.  Climbing up the ladder to the cockpit with a paper towel covering half my face I don’t even think I had to tell him what happened before he knew.  Without freaking me out about how I probably just blinded myself, he pried it open to have a look and asked how it felt.  Although it was blurry and painful while open, it felt fine as long as I kept it closed.  I got a spiel about how we probably wouldn’t be able to know anything for sure until it had some time to recover, and I was pardoned to the car to begin a little of that recovery time.  While sitting fully reclined in the front seat with a cold paper towel over my face I thought about how this could permanently affect me, and how I might be sporting a bedazzled eye patch pretty soon.

Happier times

After an hour of praying for full recovery, I choose to get back to work as we still had a lot of daylight left and that bottom wasn’t going to paint itself.  Using some of the frog tape, I attached the paper towel to my eye as a makeshift eye-patch for the day.  Not wanting to get under the boat again and risk blinding myself completely I went to work near the bow and slowly plugged along until it was time to go home for the day.  Not before trying to capture exactly what my eye looked like though.  Those who do not want to see an extreme close-up of my eye, look away!  For those that find these things cool, look at the B-U-B-B-L-E that has formed on my eyeball!!

Ok, so it doesn’t look that bad here.  But it did hurt like hell.

The next day my eye was still a little sensitive and I wasn’t even going to try putting contacts in.  The bubble was still there but the redness had gone down.  There was a chance that I might just be alright after all.  Finally coming near an end of this 2 hour turned into a  4 day project, my body was exhausted.  The bottom paint had to be finished since the boat is being launched in a few days.  All I can say is on this last day I worked hard and breaked hard.  When Matt was away on one of his many trips to Home Depot I’d sprawl myself on the dirt ground and soak up the sun.  There was a crew that just came back from a race, celebrating with beers, and I was half tempted to walk over and ask for one myself although I couldn’t actually pull myself off the ground to do it.  At the end of the day, Serendipity’s bottom was fully covered in a beautiful copper colored paint, and I could look forward to visiting her the next time in the water instead of on the hard.

Finally finished!!

*Note:  I made an appointment with my eye doctor five days after spilling paint in my eye.  When I pulled up to their office I checked my eye in the mirror and it appeared to be perfectly back to normal.  I walked in the door and cancelled my appointment.  Looks like I’ve made a full recovery!!