Monday, April 25, 2011

What to Do When Your Car's Paint Peels Off

Repaint the car.  There are different ways to do this, some less mainstream than others.

This happened to me.  I had noticed that for whatever reason, Chrysler seemed to paint their vehicles with nonstick paint.  It certainly didn't stick to the cars.  I also drove a Dodge van at work, whose paint flaked off in large pieces.  So here I was with a perfectly functional, relatively young Dodge minivan with only 150,000 miles on the odometer, a mere ten years old and running well, but its paint was just disappearing.

Sweetie said one day she was driving along and looked into the mirror to see what she mistook for a sudden fall of autumn leaves.  Looked like but clearly could not be, since it was in fact June at the time.

Later relating that incident to her niece, she said offhand, "I guess I'll have to paint it."

Niece said, "Cool, Auntie B!  What are you going to paint on it?"  Niece, whom I love dearly, is a bright, energetic and adorable little girl.  Well, she was little then.  Now I have to look up when speaking to her.  But she's still adorable, bright, et cetera.  But her question set Sweetie to thinking.

"Well, I was thinking 'blue,' but now you've got me going..."

The next day I came home to find Sweetie had repainted the van.  Oh Lordy, had she ever repainted it.

The hood was a striking swirl of whites and blues.  It was brilliant.  In retrospect I think I would have preferred the entire van done that way, but it was difficult to do just the hood, imagine how much more it would have required to do everything.  And I wouldn't have the rest of this interesting story to tell if Sweetie and Niece hadn't gone the way they had.

The hood was done in such a way as to resemble splashing water.  It worked.  In keeping with the watery theme, mermaids and dolphins, bubbles and seaweed played along the sides of the van.  The dolphins and mermaids were life-sized.

I'm guessing that the mermaids were life-sized, never having seen one to actually measure.  But if we assume a mermaid's human portion is approximately the same size as a regular human, then it was in the ballpark.

On the van's roof, Niece had been turned loose to create another mermaid.  On the van's side the mermaid's arm was in such a position that no puritanical sensibilities need be offended.  Everything even a little risque was covered.

Niece is a very matter-of-fact young lady.  On this day about ten years ago, she was a very matter-of-fact young girl.  Mermaids are women, women have breasts, and in most images of them you don't see them sporting the latest from Victoria's Secret.  And since the mermaid would be on the roof, she wouldn't be shocking anyone driving alongside.  The only people who would see our van's roof would be truckers.  "They're grownups," she had said.  "They can handle it."

She said it very matter-of-factly.

While painting the rooftop mermaid, Niece made two curvy swoops to define the mermaid's bosom.  Not satisfied with how it came out unevenly, she did it again, a little bigger to cover the old attempt.  No good.

Do it again.  No good.

Do it again.  Okay, that ought to get it.

Now we had an undeniably chesty bare-breasted mermaid smiling up at the truckers from the roof of our van.  She was blonde, happy, sporting a swoopy green tail and ... well, the word "tremendous" comes to mind.

I clambered up on a ladder to look at the results.  I had just got home and Sweetie and Niece had met me at the truck, telling me to hurry and come look at their handiwork.  Niece climbed up a ladder on the other side of the car.  "She looks a little like the choir director, don't you think?"

I had been stunned speechless by the van itself, but this statement shocked me back to life, and I had to think about it.  "Well, actually... She'd have to be a little - um - bigger."

Niece hopped off the ladder, and came back with a paint brush.  "Okey-dokey!"

"No, no!  That's okay.  Let's let her be unique."

"You sure?"  Niece cast an impish grin at me.  "I've been painting all afternoon.  It won't bother me to make changes.  It was Auntie B who said she was different sizes in the first place."

"No, honey.  I think this will be fine."

Cleanup took the rest of the evening.  Niece was conveyed back to her home.  The next day we took the newly-christened Mermaid Mobile for a spin and found ourselves the center of attention in traffic, and that truckers weren't the only ones who could see the smiling, busty beauty on the roof.

It turns out the kids in school buses could see the roof of our van just fine.

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