I Enjoy Long Walks, Donating Blood and Stain-Blocking Primers

bigstock-closeup-of-a-blood-bag-with-a--92288108_smallerThere’s nothing more important at the beginning of a relationship–whether it’s a personal relationship or a professional one–whether it’s a girl you’re meeting for the first time . . . or a potential employer your interviewing with, or even a resume your creating, or a job application you’re filling out–nothing’s more important at the start of any potential relationship than making a good first impression–you know, getting off on the right foot.

And yet, even though it’s absolutely critical to start well . . . so many times we bomb out.  So many times, we just say the wrong things . . . we do the wrong things . . . we write the wrong things.  For example, I found a number of true, real-life mistakes people actually wrote down on their  job applications.

Yeah, under the category of personal interests . . . on a job application . . . somebody wrote:  “I enjoy donating blood and have managed 14 Gallons so far.”  You probably like long walks on the beach and long, meaningful conversations, too.  I mean really, who writes that down?  It’s creepy?  14 gallons of blood.  So far?  I mean, I guess that implies real commitment . . . but think about it . . . he never says it’s his own blood he’s donating . . . .   Makes you wonder.

Or, there are these–under the category of REASONS I LEFT MY LAST JOB:  Number 1:  “I left my last job because the company made me a scapegoat – just like my three previous employers.”  Yeah . . . no deep-rooted issues bubbling just under the surface there . . . .

Or, number 2:  “I left my last job because they insisted that all employees get to work by 8:45 every morning and I couldn’t work under those conditions.”  Yes, those 8:45 am start-times are grueling.  I suppose you probably had to limit yourself to 1 hour lunches, too?

Or there’s this one:  Number 3:  “I left my last job because responsibility makes me nervous.”   Again, who writes stuff like that down?  And really, what job doesn’t involve at least some responsibility?  What employer would advertise:  Great starting pay, great benefits and best of all . . . job requires no responsibility at all.  Heck, you don’t even need to wear pants most of the time if you don’t want to?”  Yeah . . . every job requires at least some responsibility . . . and even if there is one out there that doesn’t, chances are no employer likes to think of it that way.

Anyway, I could go on and on–and I will in another post because these are so good–but the point I want to make today is that none of these people made a good first impression.  They didn’t get off on the right foot.  They crashed and burned right out of the gates.  They never got running . . . they never had the chance to  hit their stride . . . .  They tripped over their shoelaces the minute the race started and that was it.  They were out.  The guy giving all the blood probably never got to an interview . . . at least not with the employers, maybe with the police . . . but certainly not for the job he was hoping for.

Anyway, starting on the right foot is critical to success.  Absolutely critical.  And it’s not just that way in the search for a job . . . it’s also that way in pretty much anything else we do.  And since my line of work involves paint . . . I’ll apply it to that.

See, one of the big things right now sweeping through the paint world . . . thanks to some very effective ads . . . is the notion that you don’t need primer anymore.  Just go out and buy that special paint that primes and paints all in one and you can skip a whole step.

Yeah, it sounds great . . . and, in some cases, it’s true–though we’ll talk more about that another time.  But in other cases, if you follow their advice and skip the primer, you’re going to find yourself getting off on the same wrong foot that all those people we just talked about did.  You’re project will crash and burn before you even got into your stride.

See, there are certain situations that NEED a primer.  One of those–today’s focus–involves stains that might be on your walls.  And these stains could be anything from ink to markers, to crayons to grease.  Or, maybe they’re stains where water leaked in once–you know those brown, yellow rings–or maybe it’s a smoke stain.   And, honestly, the stains don’t have to be visible.  It could be that your walls stink.  Literally.  Charred wood, kitchen odors, even the overpowering smell from years of cigarette smoking.

All of those stains–in fact, most stains on your walls–are water-based or water-soluble stains.  If you topcoat them with a water-based paint or primer . . . that stain–or the stink–that stain is going to bleed right through.  It may take a few days, a few months, or it could happen within a few minutes, but however long it takes, those stains will bleed through.

In order to prevent that from happening, you need to make sure you use a very specific stain-blocking primer.  We’ve got a couple different ones at RepcoLite that will seal these trouble spots in with one coat.  Remember that.  If you’re trying to coat over any unusual stain or mark or smell . . . stop in at RepcoLite and explain to us what you’re seeing.  Don’t screw up your project right from the beginning.  Avoid the mistakes and start strong.  And seriously . . . watch out for that 14 gallon blood donor guy . . . he’s probably really pale and tired . . . but he may be dangerous.

Paint Lessons from the Leaning Tower of Pisa

"The Leaning Tower of Pisa" by McPig

“The Leaning Tower of Pisa” by McPig is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I’m sure most of you have heard of the Leaning Tower of Pisa . . . you know that tower, in Italy?  That leans?  Yeah.  Anyway, I’m sure you’ve heard of that tower, but I dug into it a little bit recently and learned some things I didn’t know . . . things that are, in the end, extremely paint-related!

Originally, the tower was built in 1173 and was supposed to be a work of art.  That’s important to remember.  It was meant to be something people marveled at–something stunning, astonishing, breath-taking.  It was art!

With that goal in mind, construction continued for the first 5 years, until it halted in 1178, after completion of the third floor.  It was at this time, during this pause in the construction, that the tower started to sink.  Now, we’ve all heard in elementary school about the reason for the sinking:  the tower was built with a thinner than usual foundation that was set in a weaker than normal substrate.  Basically . . . it’s that classic object lesson about how a poor beginning will produce sketchy results.  (You can almost smell the paint-related info!)

However, there’s more to the story–nothing groundbreaking–but something I didn’t know until recently.  See, after the tower started to sink, construction was halted–mainly because wars kept breaking out.  But after all the fighting was finally over, construction again resumed in 1272–nearly 100 years after the first three floors had been built.

When engineers started this continuation of the construction process, they analyzed the situation and came up with a solution:  to compensate for the tilt, they would build the new floors with one side lower than the other.  I never knew this, but it’s true.  If you look at the tower, you can see that it’s actually curved.  It leans to one side and then kind of starts to curve back the other way because of the goofball construction techniques.  In the end, this didn’t fix the problem entirely but it helped.

The tower existed like that for another chunk of time and then, in the 1990’s, another attempt was made to fix it.  Cables were attached to strengthen the tower and some excavation work was done to try to straighten it as much as possible.  This worked to some extent and the tower went from a 5.5 degree angle to a 3.9 degree tilt.

And that was about the best they could do.  Apparently, after that work was completed, engineers looked at it and determined that it’d last another couple hundred years or so.

Now, I bring all that up to build on the obvious point–and it’s something that’s definitely paint-related.  See, the obvious point is all about the foundation.  If the foundation’s bad, you’re going to have sketchy results.  Yeah, that’s the obvious point, but I thought the rest of that story was interesting because it continued to hammer home this point, expounding on it.  See, not only will you get sketchy results when you start with a poor foundation . . . but you’ll also find yourself doing all sorts of crazy stuff to get things back to good.

Think about it . . . the original designer of the tower would probably have been rolling in his grave if he knew that the people continuing his project were building floors with one side shorter than the other.  This was supposed to be a work of art–not something I built in my basement.  (And really, come over sometime–that’s how I build.  I start something and if it’s not level, I just make the next part a little crooked, too until everything kind of balances out in the end).

Now, I’m not saying the tower of Pisa isn’t cool–it is–and honestly, the leaning thing is really what makes it cool.  But that still doesn’t mean that it’s a great example of engineering.  It’s a mistake followed by a bunch of bizarre fixes that never really end up fixing the original problem.

And the reason they don’t fix the original problem . . . is that you can’t.  Not when your foundation is poor.

In construction and in painting and in most of life . . . the first steps you take in almost any project–the groundwork you lay–is going to determine the outcome.  If you start the project correctly, use the right tools and the right supplies and take the time necessary to do things the right way . . . your end results will look great.

If you take shortcuts, skip steps, don’t prime when you should or don’t sand or wash a wall down when it’s recommended . . . you’ll probably get your initial work done faster, but it won’t be long before things start to look shoddy.  Your work will start to lean, so to speak.  And when that happens, you’ll be in the same boat as those folks who were tasked with adding on the additional floors to an already leaning structure:  you’ll have to get creative.  And chances are, no matter how creative you get . . . you’ll never be able to fix the original problem.

So the lesson–the paint related lesson, the life-related lesson is this:  start with a good foundation.  Use the right tools, take the time necessary and start on the right foot.  Use primer when you should.  Wash the surfaces when it’s recommended.  Do a light sanding when you’re in doubt.  Doing these things will take more time, but they’ll save you grief down the road.  Think about it!  And call us with any questions!