Mental note: If this whole computer gig doesn't work out, painting is not your calling

Subject:

It seems every time I try to paint part of the house, I screw up with unsightly results.

When I was painting the house during construction, I slathered a nice battleship gray on one wall of my living room. Looked great until I took all the tape that I had used to mask the edges. Peeling the tape away revealed nasty jagged edges. Lovely.

When I was staining the outside steps and woodwork, I managed to overshoot the wood with my 12 foot roller-on-a-stick, and plant a big dark smear on the stucco.

Now this time, I was painting the kitchen island cobalt blue. In order to avoid the mess I created with the gray wall, I thought I'd peel the tape off before things had set up too much, and paint had seeped under.... turns out, I just ended up making a bigger mess, ending up peeling off small skinlike membranes of latex along with my tape.