My Green Thumb
and red and black…

January 8th, 2006

Ruth had to go somewhere this afternoon so Isaiah and I had some time to spend together.

“Let’s do a father and son project,” he exclaimed “and let’s do it on the back porch!”

The weather was amazingly nice here today. It was about 65° and sunny, so I kinda wanted to be outside myself.

“OK,” I said “but if we’re going to do it on the back porch, the first step will have to be cleaning up the back porch.” During the spring and summer I usually keep the back porch pretty tidy since I spend a lot of time out there, but with the onset of cold weather it frequently gets out of hand and is ignored until the birds sing again.

‘Alright, Dad– let’s clean up the porch!”

Well, with an attitude like that how could I argue. I didn’t figure just cleaning the porch would be enough of a project for the both of us, though. I had Ruth dig up a simple wooden model airplane kit Isaiah had gotten a long time ago but which we had never gotten to.

He actually did a pretty good job of helping me get the back porch straightened up a bit even though he seemed more interested in playing in the yard. We got some junk squared away and made the porch at least begin to look OK. Then I swept a section of the indoor/outdoor carpet clear of dead leaves and assorted gritty debris and brought out the model kit.

At that point Isaiah was out in the yard fooling around and I called him up and asked if he thought the model kit would be a good enough project of us to work on. He said most emphatically that it was.

We spread out some newspaper on the floor and poured the pre-cut wooden parts out on the porch. The kit was simple but very complete– all the model parts, ready for assembly; a small square of sand paper, five colors of paint, and even a brush. Surprisingly the paint was still good. Unfortunately, the amounts seemed to have been precisely metered and since Isaiah wanted a color scheme other than that shown on the box, there was not enough green paint for the entire fuselage. He brushed on all the green paint and had only covered the front left quarter of the airframe.

All was not lost. I have a whole cabinet full of different colors of spray paint from tagging freight cars- uh… from previous art projects. So I found a can of green and put on the pistol grip attachment I bought at the hardware store the other day. For a couple of dollars, those things make spray painting a lot easier– especially if you have a lot to do.

We didn’t have a lot of painting to do, but I swapped the handle a couple of times before I came up with a shade of green Isaiah liked. The landing gear and wing struts (it’s a biplane) are black, the fuselage as previously mentioned is green, the wings are red, and the turtledeck was yellow.

I did most of the spraying, but he did some. He did the landing gear because the flat black we used dried almost instantly on the unsealed wood. I wanted him to have done some of the painting himself, but I also wanted the plane to look good AND I didn’t want us to ruin any of our clothes so with his direction on color choices I painted the rest of the parts. And my hand. It seems I never can use spray paint without getting it all over my left hand.

By the time we had gotten everything painted, I had a back ache from sitting on the ground and Isaiah was feeling the need to run around a bit so I suggested we let the parts dry overnight and finish gluing the plane together tomorrow. He decided that sounded OK and was off like a shot to play in the yard.

The painted model parts
Here are the parts drying overnight.

My painted hand
Here’s my hand.