Our satellite dish was dislodging from our wood frame house because a piece of siding split. The one measly board led to "Hey, honey! Let's paint the house. We can do this!" After nearly 25 years of marriage, my dear, sweet husband has figured out it's just easier to nod and smile.

Beyond excited and on a mission, I opened my trusty laptop, called up Google, and began to plan our attack. Pressure washing, changing out the few rotten boards, chipping and sanding loose paint, slap on the new coat, and voila! Our house would look like something to be featured on HGTV.

Not so fast, Little Suzie Homemaker. There's lots to do before the new paint can be slathered on. And it's never as easy as it seems on the internet.

  • Tracy's house ominously waiting for paint
    Tracy's house ominously waiting for paint

    "Prepping Is Key To A Good Paint Job"

    That's what nearly every site tells  you. Type "diy painting the house exterior" into Google. Everything from tips to YouTube videos to someone wanting to give you a quote will show up. The line at the top of the results page should say, "Are you SURE you want to do this?" The next line should read, "Clear your calendar for the next three months and take at least a week of vacation." Following that should be the names of good therapists, individual and marriage counselors. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to include a list of liquor stores in there somewhere.

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    The Pressure Washing Myth

    Nearly every DIY painting site says you must pressure wash your house before you do anything. That's true. My sweet husband wants to invest in a pressure washer, and I think that's fair. He has indulged my venture into the land of Chip and Jojo. Pressure washing ensues. The house gets washed, and so does anything else that will stand still. Loose paint starts flying from the house, as well. Knowing this will need to be removed anyway, I rush to my keyboard and find what I believe may be a wonderful shortcut. If we get a jet-propelled nozzle, Bob Vila says the paint will come right off! We obtain the appropriate nozzle and borrow a more powerful pressure washer for good measure. We blew up the first nozzle and my house looks like a horror movie set. Mr. Vila, my therapist and I will be discussing trust issues.

  • Tracy and her handy-dandy scraper
    Tracy and her handy-dandy scraper

    Chip, Peel, Scrape, Repeat

    There was a time when I told people I went to work, came home, and spent time with my family. Now, I don't often talk to people unless it's on the radio. I scrape paint and sand the side of my house, and I do other things in between. My family is concerned I may need an intervention. I DID research (okay, I Googled) other ways to remove paint. The top paint removal method is using a propane blowtorch. Are you kidding me? I almost cut myself with the scraper! Could you envision me using a blowtorch? A list I read suggested ways to paint your house without going crazy. I may have passed that point. Twice. I grab my handy-dandy tool and my earbuds, load my playlist or Radio Pup, and off I go. Don't let the YouTube how-to videos with those smiling guys fool you. They are smiling because they have either already gone crazy, or they are painters and know you will be calling them to finish the job.

  • "Dr. Sandy" (OK, it's Tracy)
    "Dr. Sandy" (OK, it's Tracy)

    Paging Dr. Sandy

    I'm no carpenter, but the concept of sanding seemed pretty simple to me. This house painting project taught me that you need a PhD when it comes to sanding! There are orbital or disc sanders, belt sanders, mouse sanders, palm sanders, and the list goes on. You need to select the proper grit for the job. For those of you who are like me, this is not the grit you serve with butter or shrimp. Google searches determined I needed an orbital sander. Suffice it to say that Google was wrong. We bought a belt sander. I broke it within 24 hours. Or it was defective. Or I used the wrong grit. Then, I did something my wonderful husband didn't do. I read the directions. I am now a master of the belt sander. My back is not a fan, though. I'm only about 15% done with the house. I'm now shooting for a completion date of Christmas. 2017.

  • Tracy's house of many colors
    Tracy's house of many colors

    Tracy's House of Many Colors

    My husband and I didn't spend this much time and energy deciding what we would name our three children. I knew I was in trouble when I found out the paint samples I could actually put onto a small area of my house were only $3.98 each. We ended up with 14. I went back to the store so many times in one day, I think I'm on the payroll. Do we want green or brown? The store doesn't have a color called "brown with an attitude." I didn't like that one because there's too much gray in that green. That brown is too boring. He didn't like that green because it's too bright. I don't want to be in a house that looks blue. At one point, the lady in the paint department just suggested she give me a lovely shade of eggshell. Our house currently has 12 different colors on it. The neighbors are stopping by to vote. We settled on Olive Grove. It's ordered and mixed. If I don't like it, I may revisit the blowtorch method.

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