Since my wife, Nancy, started working outside the home, it’s not uncommon for me to find a “honey do” list on the table after she heads off to work.
A couple of weeks ago my list consisted of four items. Recently, however, the chore list consisted of just one thing, but it was a dandy – paint the high areas on the front of the house.
My bride and I have vastly different attitudes when it comes to painting. To Nancy, it’s a task that can be embraced, provided one has the right attitude. To me, painting ranks only slightly lower than cleaning up puke, washing out dirty diapers and putting on a coat of primer.
Earlier this summer, our daughter, Anna, was given the task of repainting our porch swing. She got to pick out the color – a green so bright it keeps neighbors awake at night. However, before she could start painting, the swing had to be scraped and primed.
Because my 17-year-old shares my appreciation for tasks that require a paint can and brush, she decided to ease her pain by having a friend or two over to help prime. By the time their fun was over, some of the white primer was on the gray deck of our porch.
One day recently, when the high was only going to creep into the 70s, Nancy announced that her morning chore that day was to repaint the porch. When I asked if she was going to seek assistance from the individual who helped make the mess, Nancy looked at me as if I’d grown a third eye.
As is normally the case, my bride’s logic was sound. Why wake up a sleeping teen-ager to help and then be forced to listen to moaning and groaning for the next two to three hours, when she could enjoy the serenity of doing the chore herself?
A few hours later when Nancy called, she sounded like she had spent the morning at a spa.
“It was so restful,” she all but cooed, explaining that the morning’s only challenge was convincing a wayward butterfly not to land on the wet paint.
In contrast to my bride, I’d been running through my repertoire of excuses for weeks to avoid painting:
It’s too hot.
It’s too cool.
It might rain.
It’s too dry.
It’s too bright.
It’s too cloudy.
Finally, with my list pretty much exhausted, and a day in the 70s forecast, I dug out my painting shoes and clothes, and went to work.
Page 2 of 2 - The chore went along fairly well at the outset. My only distraction once I reached the roof of the porch was when a honey bee landed beside me. He eventually moved on and I regained my focus.
I hoped to follow Anna’s example and recruit some help. I told my neighbor I’d be happy to find another brush, but her response was “thanks, but no thanks.”
I thought about recruiting a teen-ager who walked by my house, but since he was already using one hand to hold his pants up, I didn’t figure he’d be able to hold a paint brush and can in another. Besides my budget for the project was nil.
Even though the temperature was pleasant for late July, I was working in the sun. It wasn’t long before sitting on the shingles became a bit uncomfortable. Standing and painting turned into a challenge after the sole of one of my old tennis shoes all but came off.
While I contemplated adding a new excuse –wardrobe malfunction – to my list of reasons for not painting, since I was in the home stretch I decided to push on after finding some other footwear.
As I wrapped up painting on the east side of the house, a morale-busting thought came to mind: One side down and three to go.