I like the risk of taking on a daunting project of a scale not normally tackled by a five-foot-two female but I’m risk-averse to exposing myself to a toxic environment so except for the no-breaks slip-up, I’m serious about suiting up for the task at hand. In this case that means protecting the largest organ — the skin — from exposure. Here, the Smart Girl’s Guide to Spraypainting in the Summertime:
1. Cover it all. If you’re of my stature you will search but never find Carhartt coveralls that fit your female frame, and Home Depot’s one-size-fits-all disposable painting jumpsuit just doesn’t have the majority of the people who do home painting (women) in mind. You will have to improvise. I wear a (particular) man’s business shirt over a workout top and loose cotton pants. The cuffs and top-buttoned collar has it covered, plus the breast pocket is perfect for storing gloves. All this goes over light cotton pants and runners.
2. Speaking of gloves, I like the snug, waterproof Watson gardening gloves, because you won’t find painting gloves in your size at Home Depot. And disposable gloves and painter's tape are a bad mix.
3. Respirator and Safety glasses. These should be viewed as a two-part must-have unit. Silly dust masks are for chumps. We like our brain cells. If you can smell the chemicals through the mask, it’s not working, but that’s not to stay that the cartridge is not done. It’s hard to predict when a cartridge should be replaced but I switch out the filter pads as soon as they look less than pristine and change the cartridges as I'm psyching myself up to embark on one of these harebrained art schemes, which is about once a year.
4. Head scarf. I tie it snug and low around the forehead so it meets the top of my glasses. Spraypainted hair is nasty.
Now onto Phase II....