Casually, my wife, Dawn, said to me, "Honey, I was thinking of painting the molding in the hallway, is that OK?"
The mere fact that she was asking me threw up red flags all over the place, as if someone was called for illegal use of latex. The thing that got me mad was that she was treating me as if we were newlyweds. A guy married a year or two would fall for this hocus-pocus. Not me. No sir, if you start with the molding, you have to do the walls -- and if you do the walls, you have to do the ceiling.
And if you do the ceiling, you have to do the next room over because that looks even worse.
Why not just tell me to paint the house and I will do it. I know it needs to be done, and I appreciate the nudge to get moving. But let's not play games. If you want the house painted, just say so -- don't try to con me as if I was some chump character from a Twain novel.
Then we have to "talk" about the colors that I'm going to paint. I want the kitchen to go from its bright country yellow to a nice mint green. "Really? I was think of something in a light peach." Which to me would be nectarine, but what do I know? I'm not Sherwin-Williams.
I start the search for my tarps, my brushes and rollers, pans included. Then it hits me -- I am some chump character from a Twain novel. She has tricked me into painting that dern fence. And that's when I decided to call her bluff.
"Honey, I got your brushes and drop clothes out for you."
And I got a sense of backfire in her face. She never thought I would let her paint a watercolor, never mind the kitchen. I know how to paint a room. I can cut in like a pro, and I roll like a wagon wheel. But she never thought I would actually give her the chance to paint "just the molding."
I hate to paint. It's tedious, and requires fine motor skills to control the brush and roller. I'm good at it, but it's a chore for me not to step into the roller pan while applying the new color to the old wall board.
I'll have the radio on while I'm laying down the primer coat, but my mind still wanders. Next thing I know, I've re-examined my life and found out that I've done nothing I wanted to do. The paint-job bum out is the worse.
Having won the fight over color, the kitchen is readied for its new look. The cracks have all been spackled and sanded. Paintable caulk is used to fill the spots where the molding has warped. But my heart isn't in it because it's college football season -- and I'm painting.
I refuse to paint on Sundays because of the NFL. Even though my Giants are 0-2 and Eli Manning suddenly has gone color-blind. This is evident when you count the numbers of interceptions he has had.
So, I started early Saturday morning, so I could stop in time to watch the Notre Dame game.
I know that Dawn has gotten her way and has tricked me into painting the downstairs. I'm dejected thinking that I fell for the oldest wife trick in the book. I'm better than this, but there was no way that I was going to let her do any painting, because she paints as if she was a Dutch Master. Actually, she paints as if she was using a Dutch Master -- for a brush.
I know it has to be done. We are without a kitchen exhaust fan, so the ceiling is a mess over the stove. It's only going to take me the next four Saturdays before I get my "honey-do" list complete. I'm the two-eared Van Gogh.
Yes sport fans, I'm a painting fool, and it's all because of the lovely wife, who just couldn't mind her own business.
Johnnie Carrier is a free-lance writer, who is the Bob Ross of wall painting, right down to the small squirrel in his shirt pocket.