Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tessa Meets the Corona Excalibur Brush

This is Tessa.  She looks cute, I'll give her that.  But behind those eyes lurks a bizarre sense of humor and a complete lack of fear and forethought.  

See, a week and a half ago, she microwaved something for 30 minutes or more.  The entire kitchen filled with black smoke and my wife and I spent nearly 5 hours (till 2:30 in the morning) scrubbing and cleaning and washing and airing out the home.  

That was bad enough, but then last night, Tessa almost pushed things over the top.  Almost. She was thwarted in her attempts because of a wise purchase I had made a few hours earlier.

Allow me to explain:  A couple nights ago I started a paint project in our kitchen. I had finished most of the work on that first night and last night, I decided to finish up by painting some chalkboard paint on a small area on the wall so my wife could make notes, keep a small grocery list or whatever.

Anyway, that was last night's project and before I left RepcoLite at the end of the day, I walked through the aisles picking up the supplies I was going to need. I grabbed some tape, a roller, some primer for another project and then, finally, I ended up in the brush aisle.

Now, you may remember another blog post where I wrote about a particular brush that I really love—the Chinex Excalibur brush from Corona. It's a great brush—it cleans up easily, it applies paint beautifully and in every other way, it's been the best brush I've ever owned. I've talked about it on the radio, I've written about it, and I've plugged it to our customers over and over and over again. I love it. Actually, I LOVED it.

See, about a month ago, I wrecked mine. I used it for polyurethane and forgot to clean it up. I found it a few days later, lying face down on my workbench. It was a terrible loss—an inglorious end for such a magnificent tool—and I've been mad at myself ever since.

Anyway, back to yesterday: I was walking through the aisles at RepcoLite and I came to the brushes.  My first inclination—since I'm trying to watch what I spend—was to pick up the cheap brush for my paint job that night. I could get a $7 brush, get a couple uses out of it and toss it. I was just about to do that when I saw a new Chinex Excalibur brush on the shelf. That made me pause. I debated back and forth for a while and finally settled on the more expensive brush—exactly the same as the one I had wrecked a month or so ago.

I felt a little bad about spending the extra money . . . but before long I was at home working—applying my black chalkboard paint to the wall using my new brush.

Well, everything went well:  I finished the project quickly and started to wash out my new brush and put my stuff away for the night. I had only run the brush under the tap for about 30 seconds when one of the kids hollered for my attention. When they didn't quit, I quickly spun the brush in my hands to remove the excess water and I set it on the counter planning to come back later and rinse it a little better.

5 minutes later, after dealing with the kid who needed help, I came back to finish my brush cleaning job and discovered the brush was missing. I looked everywhere. It was nowhere to be found. So I did what I always do when I can't find something: I called for the kids and asked who took it.

Well, it didn't take long for Tessa (ahh, back to Tessa)—the one who microwaved our kitchen a couple nights ago—to come slinking out of the living room with my brush in her hands.

When she gave it to me, I asked her what she had been doing with it. She answered, as all kids everywhere answer: “nothing” and then she quickly tried to leave.

Well, something wasn't quite right, so I pressed the issue: “were you brushing things in the living room?”

She looked down, up, sideways—everywhere except at me—and finally answered: “yes.”

Well, that made me nervous—she'd been brushing in the living room with a brush that I'd just had black paint in and which I had only rinsed out for a few seconds before putting down on the counter . . . and then I moved beyond nervous when a horrible thought hit me: we had just received new chairs from my inlaws. The only new things in our home right now. The only things that really could be damaged or wrecked by a little kid with a paint brush.

I gulped and asked the question I didn't want to ask: “Did you brush the chairs?”

Tessa looked at me . . . debated . . . I could see the turmoil in her little crazy 5 year old kid eyes . . . and then she finally answered: “Well, Hannah told me to do it.”

Now, this is Hannah.  She's 3 years old. Would you listen to Hannah if she told you to do something?  No.  Nobody in their right mind would listen to Hannah on matters of grave importance. Why Tessa routinely chooses to listen to her is something that I cannot even begin to understand.  However, at that particular moment, I wasn't even thinking about it. I was thinking about all the different tricks I know to help me get black paint out of light fabric. That is, I was thinking about those things until I got to the chairs and noticed something amazing: they were completely clean.

Tessa even showed me where she brushed them. I turned on all the lights, examined them closely, and still . . . no paint. Not a smudge . . . not even a watered-down. gray streak. Nothing.

Well, naturally, I grabbed the brush and looked it over . . . and I realized how wise my purchase at RepcoLite earlier had been: the brush was perfectly—absolutely—clean.

I had only given it a quick, 30 second rinse in the sink. I had been pulled away from my task before I could adequately clean it. And yet, because of the special nature of the bristles used in this brush . . . that 30 seconds had been enough to rinse away every single last ounce of black paint. In fact, after just 30 seconds under running water this brush was clean enough to brush over brand new chairs and not leave a mark.

Now, I wouldn't recommend trying that. In fact, I'll never intentionally try it again . . . but I will, one more time, recommend the corona excalibur brush as THE best brush I've ever owned. Do yourself a favor . . . and pick one up. Drop the money just once and you're not going to be sorry.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

'Tis the Season for Squirrel Feet

Christmas is rapidly approaching and as we all struggle with the pressures of finding the perfect gifts for our friends and family, I thought I'd take a post or two and highlight some of the most amazingly thoughtful and original gifts floating around the internet.

Squirrel Feet Earrings

***SPECIAL NOTE:  This is a joke.  We do not sell, condone the selling, or even recommend the selling of Squirrel Feet Earrings.  They are gross, inhumane and unbecoming for a lady.***
Maybe your wife (like mine) gets a little misty-eyed over those stupid Kay Jewelers commercials. You know, the ones where the guy in the scene pulls a little gift-wrapped jewelry box out of his pocket and makes his wife or girlfriend collapse in his arms in a rush of gooey emotions?  Yeah, those.

Well, I see those and then I look over at my wife--and she's sitting there looking at me and smiling.  She'd like diamond earrings or a diamond this or that.  But come on, really, when you boil it all down, what's more impersonal than diamonds?  It's the gift--come on, guys, you know it's true--it's the thing we buy because we either ran out of time, we forgot to buy something, or we had no idea what to buy.  If any one of those three things happen--or any combination of them--we opt for the quick trip to the jewelers and we pick up something with the word "diamond" in it.  It takes no time, no thought, no creativity.  It's impersonal to say the least.

But that's not the case when it comes to this gift for your jewelery-loving wife or girlfriend:  Squirrel Feet Earrings.  A gift like this takes thought and time--you can't just stroll into Kay Jewelers and pick out a pair in black and a pair in brown.  You've got to search for them.  You can look online or, you can get crafty and start looking along the sides of city streets.  Either way, it's a Christmas gift with that old-fashioned, "I-made-it-myself-just-for-you" kind of appeal.  And best of all, if you wrap a pair of these beauties and drop them under the tree, you'll never have to worry about that awkward moment when she unwraps them and lets you know that she already has a pair just like them.  No--she may have a hundred pairs of earrings, but I can almost guarantee you, she doesn't have a pair like this.

The Octodog Hot Dog Converter
Here's one the whole family will enjoy:  the Octodog Hot Dog Converter.  (Yay!)  Now, many of you may be asking, "What is an Octodog?"  Well, for the uninformed, it's a hot dog that's all chopped up so that it looks like an octopus (see the picture).  According to the website manufacturing the Octodog Hot Dog Converter, this is "all the rage right now amongst Hot Dog Connoisseurs".  And, they go on to point out:  "kids love 'em."

Yeah, I don't know about you, but I'm bringing back the video games we purchased and the other toys and the books and I'm swapping them all for Octodog Hot Dog Converters.  Can't you just imagine the raw joy on the kids faces when they rip open those brightly-colored Christmas packages and discover that they each have their own Octodog Hot Dog Converter?  I'll probably have to pick up a pack or two of hot dogs for them and then we'll spend the rest of the day converting hot dogs into processed beef/chicken/pork/mystery meat monsters!

This gift has everything:  it's creative, it's fun AND it teaches the kids the value of hard work.  Really, what's better for their young, impressionable minds than working in the kitchen, crafting a delicious Christmas meal for their family with their new Christmas presents?  And really, when you look at the picture, don't those Octodogs just look delicious?  My mouth is watering already as I imagine myself slurping down those wiggly hot dog tentacles come Christmas morning....