My wife Jamie (a.k.a. RedWifey) has three rules that always get followed when she dives into a project:
1) At the last minute before the project/event begins, she will find an equally large, totally unrelated project to launch into. Thus ensuring the chaos of two simultaneous initiatives.
2) The project's scope will expand exponentially as it progresses.
3) Somehow, in spite of the two items above... everything will work out fine.
Last Friday was an office holiday so she planned it as a painting day at our house. The plan was to paint Jack's current room, which will soon become the "big kids" room when baby Luke arrives in a month or two.
Please understand, in our six years of living in this house we've painted exactly one wall of one room, that being the main wall of the den. That's it. Everything else is your basic eggshell drywall color, which over the years of hard living with kids and dogs has gained some new shades. Men would call it character. Women would call it filth.
Bottom line -- on Friday we would paint Jack's room a nice light blue color, versatile enough for the soon-to-be combined Jack/Samantha room. Let the rules begin:
1) She decides, after breakfast on Friday, to launch into an all-out assault on what she views as a messy kitchen. I like this choice -- it is less distracting and time-consuming than some of the other random projects she might've started. It's done in an hour and we head upstairs to get started on the real project.
2) Scope expansion. We started with the idea of painting Jack/Samantha's room.
-- Then, while we're at it, let's paint the baby's room too.
-- Well, how can you paint the rooms but not the closets? Add two closets to the tasklist.
-- This means we must empty every single item out of both bedrooms and both closets. It all goes to our master bedroom.
-- Those baseboards/trim/door are too dark with the eggshell color... she'd like them to be pure white. Add those to the list.
-- Oops, the white latex paint doesn't really work on the eggshell trim. Turns out that the current coat is oil-based paint, which means we have to sandpaper every square inch of baseboard/trim/door before it will take the latex paint. Add sanding to the list, plus another trip back to Home Depot to buy more supplies.
-- While the rooms are empty, might as well clean the carpets, right? Jamie leaves to rent a dry cleaning machine.
3) The project took almost three full days, but we did end up with two very nice bedrooms for our three kids to enjoy. And Jamie's parents worked tirelessly to assist us during much of the three-day weekend. Now that it's over, I have to admit I like the way things look. Although if you say the word "paint" in my presence, I may involutarily go kung fu on your skull.
I haven't written a word about the deaths of Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett or Billy Mays. Guess I was holding out for the passing of a real celebrity, such as one of our current-day gladiators. Enter Steve "Air" McNair, former NFL quarterback shot dead a few days ago while hanging out with his 20yo mistress.
The news seems full of shocked people exclaiming that Mr. McNair was such a standup guy, a real community leader, a great husband and loving father to four sons... and they couldn't believe he'd be hanging out with a pot-smoking girl half his age.
I'm shocked that people are shocked. Not because I'm some sort of cynicist about McNair or about athletes in general. But because I think I'm a realist about people. All of us. We're complicated creatures, with infinitely-interesting stories of how we've become who we are. And infinitely complicated stories of where we might be headed.
Everybody has a dark side. Everybody has secrets. Every boy scout leader, priest, teacher, preacher, volunteer, innocent-seeming teenager... none of us are 100% what we claim to be or what we show the world. Even me. So I'm not shocked when these types of things get discovered. Usually this type of news brings sympathy out of me, realizing that fame, fortune and extramarital sex are powerful forces that can lure anyone out of relationships that they may not value fully until it's too late.
Everybody also has a light side. Everybody has potential. Every gang member, death row inmate, dropout, slacker, hater, liar... none of us are 100% what we claim to be or what we show the world. Even me. So don't be shocked if one day you meet one of these people who surprises you with unexpected goodness. Usually this type of news brings sympathy out of me, realizing that the difference between me and a criminal has less to do with my character, and more to do with my circumstance.
I hope each of us has a safe place to be fully ourselves, both light and dark.
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