03/18/2013 08:40 am ET Updated May 18, 2013

'Picasso and Me'

As a painter, Pablo Picasso had nothing on me. Sure, he had a Blue Period, but it lasted only three years. My Blue Period has lasted almost 25 years, and every time I've had a painting project, it's made me blue, which is the color of the master bedroom and the adjoining bathroom.

It's also made me green (downstairs bathroom), yellow (upstairs bathroom), white (family room), sea foam (hallway) and rose (living room and dining room, which puts me one up on Picasso's Rose Period).

A few years ago, when I announced to my wife, Sue, that I was retired from painting, she said, "You're not retired. You're just on hiatus."

My hiatus ended recently when I got a request to paint. But it didn't come from Sue, who has been after me to repaint the hallway, which would be the 21st such project in the 15 years we have lived in our house and approximately the 30th if you count our nine previous years in a condo.

The request came from my son-in-law Guillaume, who asked me to help him with his first painting project, a bedroom in the house where he and my younger daughter live.

I had haunting flashbacks to my many painting misadventures. Like the time I painted the kitchen in the condo. The trickiest part was painting around the ceiling fan, where the lights were situated. I worked with the lights on until I smelled something burning. It was my hair, which had come in contact with a hot bulb. I pulled one of two cords -- the one I thought would turn off the lights -- only to discover that I had turned on the fan, whereupon a whirling blade hit me in the head.

It should have knocked some sense into me, but I kept on with the painting projects, including a particularly awful one in the living room of our house, which had huge ceiling beams that Sue wanted me to remove. I initially used a crowbar that punched holes in the ceiling. Then I used a rope to yank the beams down. One narrowly missed my skull. It took me a week to complete the project.

As I told Guillaume, the worst part of painting isn't the painting, it's the prep work. This includes using a mile and a half of masking tape to cover areas you don't want to paint. Then you have to prime the walls and the ceiling. When you paint, you have to put on two coats, though if it's a hot day, you can wear a T-shirt.

The good thing about this latest project was that we didn't have to paint the ceiling. And Guillaume bought a new kind of paint that contained primer. Also, the walls needed only one coat.

The best part was that Guillaume proved to be a natural.

"When I painted for the first time," I told him, "I barely knew which end of the brush to use."
"It could have been a brush with disaster," he replied.
"I am so proud of you!" I exclaimed, knowing this project would be enjoyable because I'd be sharing it with a fellow punster. "This is going to pan out."
"We can put it on our bucket list," said Guillaume.
"It's a good thing our wives aren't here," I said. "They'd bristle at our jokes."
"Yes," Guillaume responded, "but we're on a roll."

It went on like this for most of the day. When our wives got back from shopping, they marveled at the nice job we did and approved of the light pink color.

"I'm going back into retirement now," I told Sue.
"How about the hallway?" she replied.
Unlike Picasso, I have a terrible feeling I am about to enter my Sea Foam Period.

Stamford Advocate columnist Jerry Zezima is the author of "Leave It to Boomer." Visit his blog at Email: