Sunday, March 8, 2015


I love working with paint and varnish.
Fortunately I've never had any problems with the fumes I work with,
but I can't say the same for my beloved wife.
Fans, closed doors, and all other efforts have not fixed the problem.
If I'm brushing something in the garage, it's not long before it 
gives my wife a headache and triggers her asthma,
as she sits at her computer in the next room.

Now, I do love my wife more than painting and varnishing,
but the work still needs to be done, and I'm pretty good at it,
so over the years I've tried using more fans, kept the door to the garage
closed, and even stuffed a towel into the space beneath the door.
Eventually, however, the fumes get through and she's miserable.

My wife is not a lightweight.
She just has issues with these particular fumes.
I could point fingers and complain, but then anyone who accompanies me
to the grocery store would see the depth of my hypocrisy as I coughed
and gagged my way down the place I call "the stinky aisle" - that's where
they keep all the laundry detergents and fabric softeners.
The place kills me.

Like I said, I'm lucky that the paint and varnish products I use don't
bother me, 'cause laundry detergent sure does, and vinegar is my
complete and total kryptonite!

The struggle continues.
The work still needs to be done.
I can't just farm it out to some woodshop and pay top dollar for work
that I can do at home for the cost of the varnish and thinner.

I line up the next batch of remi that need varnish, and discover that I'm
out of my normal varnish.  The backup brand is also not present on my shelf.
I look further and discover the cans of Dutch varnish and thinner made by Epiphanes.
Months ago I found them for a good price and have been saving them for whatever "special project" might require such a high-line product.

I brush the Epiphanes varnish onto the freshly sanded oars,
Patsy Cline sings from the old tape player in my garage.
A fan blows over the surfaces that I'm varnishing,
and wife opens the door to the garage.
She props the door open, asks me a question, and leaves it open!
It's quite possible that you don't understand just how amazing this single event was in our household.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that the Dutch varnish and thinner I was using, had no adverse affects on my wife's nose or head.
No asthma either!
Four days later she still had no complaints.
I spent a few hours in my garage tonight with brush in hand,
rejoicing in the fact that a simple change in product could solve my problem
(and I get to keep my wife!).

The Epiphanes varnish might cost more, but for me,
it's SO worth it!

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