Painting without Garbage Bags

Once upon a time I was asked to paint a room.  At the time I was working a summer job as a custodian at a school district back home.  There was one room, a closet with cinder block walls, that needed a coat of paint (or several as it turned out).  That responsibility fell to me.  Now I’d seen my dad paint walls before, but had forgotten one key lesson: paint loves people.  As you might guess, my clothes were covered in paint by the end of that day.  When it came time to apply the second coat, I complained about getting paint all over myself.  So the head custodian had a solution: put one of those huge black industrial sized garbage bags over myself with holes for my arms and head.  Sadly I don’t have a picture.  It did save my clothes, and I actually used the tactic a few more times.  But the idea of a grown man wearing a garbage bag is a bit much so yesterday it was time to lose the training wheels so to speak.

As you will recall, last month I went to a kickball tournament with the Cleveland-Bolivar Young Professionals.  This month they had a community service event.  Our task was to paint a local elementary school, Bell Academy.  I wasn’t about to go walking around in front of other people (not to mention a photographer from a local newspaper) wearing a garbage bag and so opted for old clothes instead.  As it turns out I managed to keep myself relatively clean.

In any case the day started off with biscuits, those great Southern kind made with buttermilk (at least that’s what they tasted like).  Coffee came later, mostly because our chosen place wasn’t open yet.  Someone from the Academy was on hand and pumped music through the PA system.  They didn’t do that when I was in elementary school; it was a nice touch. The funny thing about this event was that it only lasted about three hours.  But we were so productive that not only did we paint the walls, but we moved on to the doors and trim as well as the Phys Ed office.  

There were different faces than last time which was good because I got to meet new people.  It was also a great chance to give back to the community.  Most of the volunteer work I’ve done in the last few years has been related to my profession so this was a nice change of pace.   It sure was more interesting than sleeping in.  All in all I had fun and look forward to the next event.

Article by Mike

Mike is the Head of Discovery Services for the Delta State University Library. He has lived in Cleveland since May 2013.

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