Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Painting While Parenting: A How-To Guide

So, your guest room walls are covered with holes from where the previous owners used giant nails to hang the prints they bought at Wal-Mart and the color OH the's time to paint. No more putting it off, you've lived in the house nearly 2 years now. You've carefully chosen a color that matches, perfectly, one of the colors in the quilt you already have for the bed in there. You replaced the painting supplies that you had out in the shed in plastic Home Depot bag that rats used as a lavatory (yyyyiiiick, rats.) You've pulled out Tom Waits' Rain Dogs because it's perfect for room painting. You're ready to go.

But wait! It's been awhile since you've painted a room in your home. Indeed, there was one less child then and the one that was there was much smaller, more think you probably took a day off and did it while she was in daycare. You don't recall. You've guilted your husband into doing some yardwork that's been put off nearly as long as the painting of the room in question and now you're trapped in the house with 2 children under the age of 3. And there's paint. Hmmm.

Plan A: Usher 2-year-old out into yard with husband and dog. Bring baby into room with you. Create "play area" employing several pillows from the bed, a few toys, the natural barriers of walls and furniture and the vacuum cleaner. Plop baby down. Ah...there you are. Commence painting!

You will have to discard Plan A when the 2-year-old decides she'd rather be inside helping you paint and the infant is furious at being trapped behind the vacuum cleaner and not being held every single second of the @#$%#$%%^ing day.

Plan B: Wait for nap time. This is a useful plan except that your 2-year-old typically naps in the guest room (as it is free of all the fun things found in her own room and subsequently more conducive to napping) so now she's in your room. Not napping. There is precious little time. You may get the first coat on during this time. Count your blessings. Stop until tomorrow. First coat needs to dry anyway.

Now then, to complete the task. When the children go to bed, paint the tedious parts around the trim all over the room, then...make a deal. Promise whatever you must to get your husband to take both kids with him to do the grocery shopping the next day so you can paint. Oh, stop complaining, it's not like you're actually going to have to sleep in that uncomfortable get-up. When they leave, be sure you've already got everything ready to go - paint in pan, roller fresh and clean, drop cloth applied appropriately, new music selected. Yes, Tom Waits won't do this time, oh no. You're about to participate in the new sport I've invented I call Power Rolling. I considered changing the name so as not to confuse the pot smokers but ultimately decided they probably lack the motivation to paint a room, anyway. It's a cardio-vascular workout and requires some amount of physical skill and strategy. I think the Olympics will add it to the summer venue soon. The music for this should be funk or, if you like, techno. If you're my friend Dave Turner you probably have at least one album of factory music, that will work well. Once they leave hit it. Roll the paint onto the walls as fast as you possibly can without also getting paint where there should be no paint. Don't worry, a couple Advil will take care of that fume-induced headache that results and the spots you're seeing will go away as soon as you remove your glasses.

When you run completely out of paint with only about 8 feet of wall left feel free to use every cuss word you know, and loud. You're all alone! Come to think of it, it's been awhile since you've been allowed to used foul language at home. Have at it! It's cathartic. While you're at it, eat some of the M&Ms you bought as a potty-training bribe for the 2-year-old who seems perfectly content to poop in her big girl panties. You deserve it! When was the last time you didn't use the potty? Don't answer that. OK, back to work you. You can't finish the walls but you can paint the trim. For this, you'll need to tone down the music. Choose something that inspires the methodical, attention to detail mood you require. For God's sake, not jazz.

When your entire family returns in just one hour (mental note, choose groceries that must be purchased at multiple stores next time) you'll be forced to take a break. That's OK, now you're all but done! Just another quart of wall paint, a few rolls that seem like nothing compared to the action earlier, and voila! A room suitable for guests!

The other option is to hire a babysitter, but for what they charge these days you could just as easily hire someone to paint the room. But if you're going to do that I don't even know why we're having this conversation! Why don't you go eat some more gold, then, richy rich?!? Jeez.


The Plaid Sheep said...

Very complex. Perhaps one should use the pizza and beer route to get help from friends and/or family. If they are reluctant to paint perhaps they can be used to amuse the ankle-biters.

RFKeith said...

Kids always want to help you paint. The first time I painted with Ro!, I took the time to explain to her the importance of prepping the area first. "The actual painting part is just the last thing you do."
That's when I realized I had turned into Ed P.

p.s. My word verification for this comment is "squaix". Please try to incorporate it into your next meeting.

Kicking N. Screaming said...

There must've been a squaix of Ed Provost's double helix when he helped make us, because the other day I walked into a room and demanded to know why the light was in on there. The realization really hit when I realized I was the only one in the room.

The Plaid Sheep said...

Parents are insidious. So make sure you leave some interesting footprints on your kids' brains.