A part of it was that on my last trip to Michael's I got a couple of acrylic mediums, including one that claims to make acrylics act like oils. That's a bit of an overstatement, but it does thicken them up nicely and make them *much* more workable. A second layer of paint actually blends with the first now rather than just pushing it out of the way.
(btw, nuns, I haven't forgotten about your painting - I will have it done before I leave :)
Unfortunately, it's now hideously hot - I stopped when I started dripping sweat (in the shade with a single flourescent light). I'll do a bit of stuff down here, call the car insurance to find out where my license plates are, and then I think it will be time for a nap.