Friday, December 7, 2012

20 years of windows

Shannon and I went out to paint windows again last week.  She reminded me that we have been painting for 20 years now.  We started when we had toddlers and needed money for Christmas toys. That financial demand just became more expensive over the years as the boys gifts edged toward electronics and the girls graduated to fashion. It's a never ending financial drain. We both have very busy businesses now and there is not much spare time to paint, but it is easy fast money and we couldn't resist padding our pockets once again. We only cleared 3 days on the calendar, and didn't send out any reminder postcards to our clients as we sometimes have in the past. We didn't get any fliers ready. We didn't make any phone calls or appointments ahead of time. We did spend $15 freshening up our paint and paintbrush supply. We just got in the car on Monday morning and tried to figure out who would let us pop in and paint up their stores. We also constructed our exit strategy on the spot. "Let's paint until we each have $500".  We painted from 9am until 2 or 3 for three days and ended up with exactly $15 to cover our supplies, and $500 each. Go figure. There were times in years past when we had been working with corporate offices in August to get multiple store accounts, we would map our our painting strategy around town to get as many windows in as possible with minimal driving time between stores, we had fliers and a receipt book handy, we would freshened up our sample notebook and our reference pictures. We also made a lot more money those years too. (I use the word "we" loosely. Shannon actually is the more organized of the two of us and did all the above mentioned tasks)
This year, if anyone wanted to see some samples, we showed them our small folder with about 3 pages of sample photos and then just verbally agreed on a design for their store. I love it that way. It's much easier for us to paint and have it artistically pleasing when we have some leeway, than to have someone be pointing to crazy spots all over their storefront and saying "You can paint this picture, but angle the Santa so he's looking in the other direction, and add a puppy dog by the snowman, and decorate the bottom of the door and the window up above the vent on the side of the building? and the mirror in the lobby too? and something on my car windshield?"  Whew - people are crazy sometimes!
One weird thing has been the weather. It has been so stinking warm this year. From year to year, we never know what the weather will be like.  Sometimes, we have painted in the freezing cold morning hours with our hands absolutely numb from the cold. We've tried to paint with gloves on which I can't quite do successfully - there is too much water and rinsing brushes involved. We had to abandon our pre-planned schedule and find some south facing windows to paint to warm up for a while. We've had years that have been so warm that a windows in the direct sun was very hot to the touch. The paint would dry as we applied it, which made it hard to paint. We felt like we would get a sunburn on the back of our necks.
The down side to our short little painting season this year is that we usually have some good stories to tell - crazy people we run into or crazy managers  etc. Not this year. No drama, no crazy stories. So sad.
For a little trip down memory lane - Shannon, remember when we painted all the office windows for Bud? Did he ask us to do them? or was it his salesmen that asked up to put this on his office window? Anyway, for your view pleasure . . . "Rat Fink".

1 comment:

Robyn said...

I loved this post. What a cool talent.