Monday, July 28, 2008

A Talent I Lack

Things are going well at the new house. Even though we haven't moved in yet we've been swimming almost everyday. I'm starting to think we've purchased the world's most expensive pool pass. We just show up whenever we feel like it to swim. The kids are getting so tan. Even the baby, who swims in the buff, is getting tan lines in her fat wrinkles. Work inside the house is moving fairly quickly, but I'm so impatient to move-in that the progress feels glacially slow.

We started out with the Greatest taping rooms and painting while the children and I washed walls. Sweet Pea was along for the ride in the sling which meant I couldn't get up on a ladder to reach the tops of the walls or bend over to reach the bottom of the walls. The children (and by children I mean Pork Chop, the middle two mostly threw the wet rags at one another) washed the bottom portion of the walls, while the Greatest came in and got the top portions. We managed to wash all four bedrooms and both bathrooms upstairs the first day, not to mention painting Meaty's room. Not bad for a days work. Since I didn't have to bend over, or get up on a ladder this arrangement was working really well for me.

I had to go and open my big mouth and ruin it.

As The Greatest and I lay in bed that night chatting about how it went and what we hoped to get done the next morning I mentioned that in all the years of marriage, in all the places we had lived and painted, I had yet to pick up a roller. I'd never roller-ed, edged, or even opened a paint can. I didn't tape, or remove tape. I had almost nothing to do with the actual painting of a room, and couldn't really recall ever painting in my life. Why, oh why, did I feel the need to open my mouth? I could have taken that little tidbit of information to the grave with no one being harmed in the process. But no, the words were out of my mouth before I realized the full implication of them.

The Greatest had never realized this inequality of the workload. He didn't know I didn't know how to paint and that if left to my own devices I might forever live in a house with paint picked out by the previous owner, not for lack of desire to change the paint color, but for lack of a starting point on where to begin. But honestly, look at it from my viewpoint. If I'm painting, who is watching the children? It's not like I was sitting on my butt knitting while he was painting all those other houses. Alright, maybe I was sitting on my butt knitting while he was painting some of those houses, but I was also tending to the children. And it's not like I was sitting on my butt knitting while he was painting THIS house, our dream house, our forever house. I was in the other room, sweating with no a/c, washing walls. I was working too.

But it was too late to plead my case in my own defense. The damage had been done. The Greatest had determined that I would paint Pork Chops room the next day. And nothing I could say would dissuade him.

So the next morning I dressed in old clothes that I could throw away without shedding tears over. I managed to get Sweet Pea down for a nap (the only nap she's taken at the new house) and with a deep breath I prepared to paint.

Now The Greatest was kind. He taped the room. He laid out plastic to protect the carpet. He carefully edged the ceiling for me. He showed me how to load paint on the roller and how to roll it on the wall. The he showed me how to roller more slowly when I splattered myself on my first attempt by rolling too quickly. He gave me the sturdy ladder because I don't like heights and can't reach the upper wall with a chair anyways (I'm not that short, the walls are that tall). He then turned me loose.

This was a mistake of epic proportions.

I managed to paint everything but the walls. I could frequently be found swearing and grabbing an edge of my shirt to wipe paint off of places it didn't belong. I got paint on the door jamb, the window frame, the window, the closet door jamb, the carpet, my hair, and my shoes (that were in the room, but not on my feet). My white t-shirt was completely pink from all the wiping I did, and somehow I got paint on my tummy as well, whether it was transfer from the shirt, or if I rubbed against a wet wall when I was trying to wipe off paint from somewhere it didn't belong, I can not say.

As I stepped in a three inch puddle of paint I don't recall dripping on the floor I had a flash-back. I HAD painted before.

When I was fourteen or fifteen I was sent away for a week of "camp." This was a "character building" experience where the youth were spending a week fixing up an old campground. It was "service to the community." It was going to make me a better person. It was slave labor!

I was painting a cabin. But I wasn't any good at it back then either. The story was the same. Paint on everything but where it belonged. Paint in my hair. And I stepped in paint back then too. Only that time it was a gallon of paint, that I stepped in and spilled. I was such a disaster they sent me to go swimming. They didn't even re-assign me a new task. They just sent me out of the way. I was such a poor clumsy little girl. Is it any wonder I've worked so hard to repress memories like these?

But I survived "camp" and I survived painting Pork Chop's room. It is now a monstrosity of pink.

The Greatest praised me and my efforts. He told me what a good job I had done. He told me all my mistakes were easily fixed. And he enlisted his friends from work to come and help him paint the rest of the house.


lynda said...

Hee - you employed what I here is the typical male MO, messing up something (kid, kitchen, housework-wise), that we never ask them for help again. Not that I would know from experience - our hubbys sound remarkably alike - perfectly able of doing anything, and doing it very well.... me, I'd be like you, with paint on everything but the walls :o)

Tammy said...

Too funny! I usually end up doing the painting around here, but DH can do it in about 1/2 the time so I try to hold out.

marit said...

hmm-around here hubby tells us what to paint and what to use, he might even open the can and stir it-but never in a million years will he paint! so the kids and i are supposed to paint two walls of our house(outdoors) this fun...
great story,btw:-)

shiguy4076 said...

Congrats on your new house. I am so excited for you. I believe I remember that camp trip. If it's the same one you're thinking of and someone dropped a roller of stain in my long hair and they had to put kerosene in it. It wasn't you that dropped the roller on me.

I hate painting i'm the same way. Leave it to the professionals I say ie The Greatest

Tam said...

Ah yes, this tactic has worked many times for me in the past. My DH is a perfectionist whose standards I could never possibly meet. When I do not wish to do something I make sure that I do it WELL below his threshold of tolerance and, voila!, I never have to do it again. We won't discuss how little faking this requires on my part most of the time.

Congrats on the new house!!

Stephanie said...

hahahaha, I swear I remember you painting pork chops room (Periwinkle) in the P-town house, and helping him on the ladder in the 2-story foyer with the Tide box. Maybe I was wrong. I am so happy for you! Congrats!