Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Rainy Day Removal

Yesterday the rain came down in sheets of water into the trees and roadways of our neighborhood.  Not wanting much to go driving in such weather, I took a deep breath - several, actually, since the substance is so toxic - and sprayed paint remover on the trim that covers the rear panel under the license plate and roundel .  This sheet of anodized aluminum had been poorly painted black by some well-meaning but misdirected individual prior to my guardianship of the 2000.

1) The car with its black trim on the rear metal.  While it looked ok from a distance, the black enamel applied between the tail lights was neither an original look for the car or well-executed in its application.

According the directions on the can of paint stripper, the user was supposed to spray the chemical in temperatures over sixty degrees F and in well-ventilated conditions.  The inside of my garage fit neither criterion so I turned on a small ceramic heater in back of the vehicle, masked the area around the trim with tape and newspaper, and held my breath while spraying the nasty stuff, with my face beneath my shirt and gloves on my hands to prevent skin burns.

I waited half an hour and cleared the softened and blistered paint away with a wooden stir stick, sawed by hand to an angle resembling that of a snow scraper.  Every thirty seconds I raced to the front of the car to draw a breath of chemical-free air.

When the mission was completed I opened the garage door and fine-tuned the removal process with paper towels, steel wool, and finally chose brake cleaner and Windex to get at the ornery spots the paint remover had missed.  When all was said and done the car fairly shone when I pulled it into the driveway during a break in the clouds and rain.

2) The completed work

The last step was to wait until the rain started again and drive the car to a local auto parts store to pick up a filter for the next oil change.  The rain, again gushing onto the streets like a mad waterfall, washed away all remnants of the various chemical fluids.

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