Vacation Adventure Part Four: The Leather Rembrandt

Also known as… paint and I don’t mix.

My last couple days have been occupied with getting the Maxwell ready to go on the car run. I almost wish I meant my cat as I miss him terribly, but no, I’m talking about my favorite antique car, the 1908 HC Touring car that is my grandfather’s.

This year, Shadow, as I like to call her, needed some patch work done on her seats. Leather is a resilient enough substance, but it will crack when it ages, and the leather with the car is over a hundred years old. So Grandpa had put the patches in the back seat, and there was one minor problem (well, the clamp wouldn’t work to hold the leather in place while gluing in the patch, but that was less minor, I guess.) The leather patch was brown, and Shadow’s seats are black.

The black leather was too thin for a proper patch. I asked Grandpa if he was going to paint the patch to match the rest of it, and he said I was.

After doing other prep work to get the car ready, Grandpa finished the patch on the back seat and turned to me, going, “okay, Rembrandt, your turn.” So, that was what I did yesterday, took leather dye and applied much like I might nail polish to the patchwork places and a few other areas that needed it on the doors.

I asked Grandpa if he was going to repair the front seat where it was just horsehair, and he said he’d tied it in so it wouldn’t come out. I just kind of looked at him. The car run is long, and I’m a bit thinking of my poor dresses getting snagged on the seat, and he relented and fixed the other seat, too, though with a great deal more frustration than the last one.

That was last night, and it had to wait to be glued, so this morning I got to do the larger patch and make it black. I ran out of the dye and think a bit too much of it ended up on my fingers and wouldn’t wash off.

It’s gone now, but then I had to resort to paint thinner because of the spray paint.

This is the part where I explain why paint and I don’t mix…

I got done with the painting and oiling the steering rods and tire rods and we loaded up the Maxwell after a few other disasters (um, no, not really kidding, either, the Maxwell got stuck and the winch didn’t want to work.)

Grandpa asked me to trim the hedge, which I did. Then he was looking around at other projects, and he asked me if I wanted to mow the lawn. I didn’t. In retrospect, maybe I should have, but my carpal tunnel was hating me for the hedge. I wanted a smaller project, so I chose the spray paint on the trailer, which seemed like it would be less strain on my hands.

Not so much, but then I’m getting ahead of myself… I was fighting some wonderful masking tape that didn’t want to be attached to the trailer and the paint didn’t seem to want to work. (I didn’t shake it enough, though I swear I shook it.) Finally got one can working, did the back of the trailer and one of the sides and ran out of paint. I went back one of the cans I’d tried earlier that didn’t work because the sprayer broke. I used the one from the empty can, and it seemed to work.

Key word being seemed.

I ended up having to repeat that process multiple times as I worked, and by the time I was done and out of paint again, my hands were white with paint. Sticky paint. I walked inside to wash it off only to have both bathrooms occupied at the time. So I waited, sticky hands and all, unable to do anything while I waited. Finally, space freed up, and I tried to wash it off, but it didn’t come off with regular soap. It didn’t come off with dish soap.

I had to go look for paint thinner. I couldn’t find paint thinner. I looked in the paint cupboard, missed it, and later went back only to find that bottle was empty. I made another attempt with dish soap and was told where to find paint thinner. So then I got to go into the shop and scrub my hands with the paint thinner, getting a little bit woozy from the fumes, and I swear, it took a good thirty minutes just to clean one hand, and even now there is still a bit of paint there.

On the bright side, the grease from yesterday and today is gone, but I’ve still got white paint on my nails and knuckles. Fun times.

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