Eco-friendly Painting? Part 1

Painting and the flow state.

During the last NSW school holidays and while Greater Sydney was into its fourth month of COVID Lockdown 2.0, I painted the interior walls of my home. Coupled with some good podcasts it was a marvellous way to pass a week in home-bound productive mess-making!

Some of you may find painting a chore, but I like it! It requires my attention, but not too much. While it’s within my skill set, I need to concentrate on the tricky bits like cutting in the edges around windows, door frames and cornices. I can do it all day and lose track of time. Some days, I get a sudden pang of hunger only to realise I haven’t had lunch and it’s nearly dinner time.  I know what I have to do and how long it will take so it’s an activity with a clear goal. The new paint job looks fresh and bright and my home is looking good.  You may recognise that these parameters offer a wonderful opportunity to enter a state of flow

The idea of flow is not a new one and the concept was developed by psychology professor and happiness researcher, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in the mid-1970s. If you are not familiar with flow, this TED Talk will get you up to speed. (And help you pronounce his name! Chick-sent-me-high!) 

Preparing the walls

My steps to Eco-friendly painting

Finding flow is a bit like finding the Holy Grail for happiness seekers like me but is not really what this post is meant to be about! My goal was to write about eco-friendly painting.

Before I started, I considered the best way to reduce the impact my painting would have on the environment. Even so, I seemed to be using an awful lot of plastic!! The steps I took included:

  • wrapping my brushes and rollers in plastic bags at the end of each session rather than washing them out to save water and save all that paint going down the drain. 
  • using the same plastic wrappers each time to reduce plastic use.
  • using plastic roller tray liners rather than washing the trays out each time,  again to stop water contamination. Mind you I stood in the aisle in the hardware store for a long while debating this point with myself! 
  • using more expensive paper-backed plastic drop sheets that I could re-use next time I paint rather than single-use ones. 
  • Buying wooden-handled brushes (win!) but they had synthetic bristles (lose!). A win-lose rather than a win-win
  • Using old cloth rags to wipe my hands and drips rather than “new wipes” although I still did use a whole roll of paper towel because I am not a very neat painter.

On the whole, I thought I was doing ok! High five to me!

It’s a bit smelly in here! 

With the painting finished and the mess cleared away it struck me (a little late in the piece)  that I had missed an eco-warrior opportunity.  After all, I had essentially just coated my walls with a thin film of plastic, the very thing I was trying to avoid. 

And then there was the smell!   It took the next three days, even with all the windows and doors open, to vent the fumes that lingered. Thankfully the weather was perfect; a light breeze swished through the house to chase that painty odour away. 

Although I deliberately bought a low fume, water-based paint, it still stank! I mulled over a barrage of questions. Were those fumes bad for me? Was there a more environmentally friendly non-plastic paint? Would a non-plastic based paint also be smelly?  Would it work as well? Would it be in the colour I wanted? Would I have been able to buy it in my area? Would I be able to afford it? So many questions!

Google was invented for questions such as these!

After a few hours down the painted internet rabbit hole, I came away with some answers and even more questions. The answers to the seven questions in the paragraph above are: yes, yes, yes, maybe, perhaps, no and probably not! 

The desk was too heavy for me to move, so I painted around it!

So what did I find out? Stay tuned for the answers in Part 2 in two weeks time! 

Earth’s do-over.

This post is a thought bubble. The idea is not yet fully formed. It may never be. It is unlikely that my train of thought is unique or original.

How far back in mankind’s* history would you have to go to do a successful do-over that would right the wrongs of today? Not just “fix” these problems, but make sure they never actually happen. What alternate decisions should we have made? 

What sliding doors did we need to close to prevent the damage we are doing to the earth?

What other path should we have chosen to prevent all the -isms which lead to wars, violence and death. 

What survey questions should we have answered to prevent marginalisation, discrimination and poverty based on how you looked, and who you love? 

Which box should we have picked to prevent the divide between super-rich and everyone else?

Which ancient parents should have practiced better birth control? And then, what behaviours should they have ignored so they were not encouraged?  

What inventions should never have been developed? 

What eureka moments should have been left in the bath?

Religion – more harm than good?

My big three do-over steps

A few ideas come to mind.

  • Money?
  • Religion?
  • Humans themselves?

As I said my idea is a thought bubble but on very shallow inspection it would seem that perhaps humans should not have been invented. Every problem stems from there. I don’t see any other living things causing as many problems as we do. What about art and music and poetry and all those beautiful things we create? Not much good if we can’t breath the air or can’t stand the heat or are worried about land mines.

I’m going to leave this parked here and do some reading and find out what other people think. 

*The fact I had to use that word as opposed to a non-gendered term in itself is something to do-over. 

and don’t worry mum! I’m fine – just thinking out loud 🙂

Freedom day In Greater Sydney

Freedom Day? October 11th 2021.

Today has been unofficially labelled as “Freedom Day” for people in NSW and especially those of us in Greater Sydney. We have been in lockdown since June 16. We started with Lockdown Lite followed by full-strength lockdown since 28th June. Today, the Monday after the State reached 70% fully vaxxed, we are getting out! But not completely. 

The shops will be open, not just the essential ones. Cafes and restaurants will be open under various density rules that limit the number of people who may enter. We can have up to ten people  visit our homes. We can ditch the masks when we are outside but still need them indoors. The “roadmap” is long and precise. 

Everything you need to know!

Tourist in your own town.

We can travel beyond our LGA but we can not leave Greater Sydney and conversely, regional people can not travel to Greater Sydney. We have to wait till 80% vaxxed for that. There’s no firm date for the 80% day, but it will be some time in early November. By December 1 2021, everyone including those confined to the “leper colonies” of the unvaxxed, will be allowed to do basically anything with no density or occupancy limits. I guess this means for the next little while we will all be tourists in our own town or city.

Finding little delights while out COVID-walking

Nervous Nellys?

I have to admit I am a little anxious about going back out into the big wide world, and I know that there are plenty of other nervous Nellys like me. Will people go crazy and forget to keep their distance? Will there be a spike in numbers? (The answer to that is yes, of course there will be!) Will the lockdown we have just endured be for nought? I hope not. 

It doesn’t help that our Premier, Gladys quit last week and the new fellow seems like a backward sort of person who supported Trump! He made some significant changes to the roadmap including bringing schools back a week early while still demanding all teachers are vaxxed before they can return. Many teachers have bookings but can’t get the jab in time, but they won’t be allowed to come to school. Just who will take their classes?

Keeping a low profile

I have decided I’m going to continue to keep a low profile until we reach the 80% target. I am fully vaxxed, but that does not mean I am not capable of being a transmitter. Some of my work colleagues are very vulnerable and I don’t want to put them at risk.

Besides that, I quite liked some of the aspects of lockdown. Not ”having” to go out. Saving truckloads of money. Enjoying walks after dinner. Picnics. Outdoor crafternoons with a singles buddy. I am hoping these habits stay after today. The thought of going back to a noisy pub or restaurant as the preferred entertainment option does not fill me with joy. At least lockdown gave me a good excuse to pamper my introverted side.

More COVID-walking!

I am rather glad that the craft stores will be open though! 🙂