Friday, April 20, 2012

moving in, and a gross miscalculation

One of the logistical difficulties with renovating a house on Fire Island, is that it's on an island.  Which means you have to take a boat to get to it.  Having a fair amount of experience schlepping personal effects, clothes, and food out to the island for the past few summers, we realized that our week of renovating was going to require a fair amount of prep work.  What this meant for me was a detailed shopping list, including a full week's-worth of meals for six people, purchased in advance, all of our home-improvement supplies, and all of our tools.  What this meant for Kathy was that we got to had to rent a U-Haul.  Her first real-life U-Haul lesbian experience.

We loaded every item we could possibly imagine needing for the week into our U-Haul (including a ping-pong table and some furniture we have been wondering what to do with) and brought it to the ferry.

This part went remarkably smoothly.  We were a bit exhausted by the end of the day, but we got our stuff out there.  Because we had to pick up Kathy's mom at the airport, we didn't spend the night on Fire Island that night.  Instead, we went back to Westchester.

This is where I have to come clean about the gross miscalculation.  We didn't have time to buy all the paint in time for the U-Haul day.  It's not that easy to plan moving in, a week's "vacation" (I use that term VERY loosely) and a home renovation project all at once.  Anyway. We went to Home Depot in Westchester on Saturday morning, before heading out for the week, and stopped into the paint department.

"How much do we need?" Kathy asked.

I looked at the back of a gallon of paint, which said it covered approximately 400 square feet.  "Well," I said, "we have a 21 by 23 room, with 10 foot ceilings.  21x23x10 is.... [pull out iPhone calculator] 4,830 feet?  So that's... 12ish gallons? Plus we don't want to run out.  So we better get an extra gallon or two."  And that is how we ended up buying three 5-gallon buckets of blue paint, plus two five-gallon buckets of primer.  

"What are you painting?" the paint man at the Home Depot asked us. "The Taj Mahal?" Haha, we laughed. He is so funny! we thought. 

This, we later told A, is why you need to pay attention in math class.  For those who were not math majors like me, and would not be able to figure out why, after we had painted the entire room, we still had not used even one of our five gallon buckets of primer, let me explain. 

I MULTIPLIED the length of the room by the width, then multiplied by the height.  That is a correct calculation.  Of volume.  But since we're not actually trying to fill the entire room with paint, that is the wrong math problem, even if we did get a correct answer.  We were supposed to calculate the perimeter of the room, then multiply by the height.  Which would be 21+21+23+23=88.  Times 10 foot ceilings, gives us 880.  So really, we needed about 2 1/2 or 3 gallons to do the entire room.  Not 12. 

We do need to paint every room in our entire house, so we will eventually make it through our 10 gallons of primer.  But the extra 10 gallons of non-returnable custom-tinted blue paint?  Craigslist, I guess.  Sigh.

1 comment:

  1. I started laughing right at 4,380 feet! This is also an important lesson for A that will probably not be learned until high school chemisty class - units are important!!!!