Saturday, June 25, 2016

Paint, Panic, and Physics

Orange is the new hue on my house.

Today was the big paint-the-outside-trim day. It had taken quite a while to decide on just the right shade of paint that would complement the new roof's color ("Terracotta"), pale yellow house siding, and the brick on the front of the house (not quite red, orange or pink). I took the opportunity to wash the outsides of the windows, and also wiped down the brick trim before I started painting. It all went smoothly.

Of course, actual painting is only half the job. Afterward comes the clean up; including scrubbing my paint-covered hands and fingernails, and cleaning the brushes. I live in a small house without the kind of slop sink that is often in the basement  or laundry room. My old house had one that was great for cleaning all sorts of icky stuff. But with only a kitchen sink and a bathroom sink in this house, it was a dilemma to decide how to clean the brushes.

After shuffling the job between the two sinks and scrubbing each one sparkling clean again, I returned later to my brand new, just-installed kitchen sink to see a sizable smear of reddish-orange. It was pale, but definitely there. I took a sponge and soap and scrubbed it away. However, when I moved my hands, I saw it was still there. More soap and more scrubbing. Gone for sure now. I lift my hands to grab for a towel to dry the spot and there is the paint, still there. Now I took one of those miracle scrubbing pads that seems to get grime off of anything. The same result it looked like it was working until I moved my hands out of the way.

I began to panic. Was my brand new sink ruined? I stared at the stain, it was faint, but that didn't matter to me. As I stared at it, willing it to go away, it actually disappeared. What the heck? Then it came back. And then disappeared. And came back.

Suddenly I realized what I was dealing with. I reached up and moved a colored glass vase that was sitting in the sun in the garden window behind my sink. The stain disappeared. Yes, I had been trying to scrub away a beam of light. I can hear Neil DeGrasse Tyson laughing.

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