Monday, July 06, 2009

Manual labor, plus a dash of random philosophy

Manual Labor

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.

Random Philosophy

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.

8 comments:

Lifeguard said...

I too am often shocked at how shocked people are to learn how complicated individuals can be.

Sure, sometimes the details in one case are a little more shocking than others, but that's a matter of degree.

When you figure how different many of us are privately as opposed to what we "show the world" as you put it, how much more of a fantasy should we expect to find on television?

Good post.

linknblogs said...

The progression of the three rules your wife follows sounds an awful lot like my own rules when I set out to complete a task on the home to-do list. I had a similar experience when I set out to apply a fresh coat of paint to the living room and kitchen of my home. Once I started painting, I realized one can hardly paint the walls without painting the baseboards as well which eventually also lead to a new back splash in the kitchen and crown molding for both rooms. After all was said and done I too felt much better about the whole project(s). Thanks for sharing and congrats on the completion of your projects!

~aj~ said...

Way to go RedFamily on the painting extravaganza. That sounds like one heck of a project and I hope we can see some pics of the finished product sometime. I'm sure it looks great.

I really liked the 2nd half of this post. Great insight and I couldn't agree more.

Bob said...

First, the painting/project story is hilarious and I think you handled it all beautifully. We did a total renovation to our playroom three years ago that took three times as long and cost three times as much as originally forecast. A day after we were 'done' (if that ever happens) I came home and my wife was ripping down wallpaper in the bathroom. I went in my room and cried.

As to the celebrity deaths, you are so right, but still, for some reason, I am shocked. Here in Nashville we are all numb over the McNair thing. And I loved Michael Jackson's music but really, did his funeral merit full network anchor live coverage?????

RedWifey said...

It was really weird, Bob, Saturday morning I was talking about the next project and how we could totally do a big chunk of it ourselves and Michael had NO response. I couldn't believe it! :)

Michael was a GREAT sport and did a TON of work last weekend. I'm certain he was more than glad to go back to work on Monday! :)

Don said...

Man, you gotta keep all these stories about your family for a future book!

Couldn't agree with you more about the celeb stories. Seems to me that the things we value are all mixed up. Or, is that the "Old Me" coming out from time to time.

MamaRose said...

HOW RIGHT YOU ARE, BUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There IS 'light & dark' in ALL of us & we need to 'answer the call' TOWARD THE LIGHT as much as we can!

And, as JOEL says: LISTEN to the 'good' VOICE--because we ALL have BOTH of them 'speaking' to us--it's OUR CHOICE which one we LISTEN TO!

I gotta tell ya--maybe you were a bit young, still--but, Farrah Faucet WAS A CELEBRITY--through & through--OH, some may have thought her acting skills not quite 'up to par', but her POSTER, alone, made her SUPER FAMOUS & LOVED!!!!!!!!!!!
By women, as well as men & young boys--ha!

And, as she got sick & 'handled' her cancer, she was a REAL 'trooper'--guess you didn't see her Documentary--it was really good!!!!!!!!!

Now, Billy Mays had 'just' broken through in commercials, in the last few years, but I'm sure he was 'famous' somewhere before that.
He definitely was 'one-of-a-kind'!!

And, Michael Jackson--NOW, he was TALENTED from such an early age--5--and well-known & LOVED WORLD-WIDE!!!!!!!!! Don't know about his Memorial Service being on 'all the TV Stations'--but, it was as GOOD as ANY CONCERT I've seen on TV in a while.

I do think he was a SWEET boy/man, who never really seemed to LOVE himself for WHO HE WAS--whic his sad--but, he did 'leave' a VERY LOVING FAMILY to raise 'his' kids--who were EVERYTHING to him--he HAD that 'right'!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He was DEFINITELY ONE-OF-A-KIND & BLESSED BY GOD with all his talents!!!!!!!!!!!!! And, '50' IS 'GONE TOO SOON', I believe--since I'm '56'--HA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, about Steve McNair--we FOUND out about his DEATH at church--our Preacher told us he was 'shot'--we didn't even know, for sure, he was DEAD until we got home & saw the NEWS--WOW!!!!!!!!! I WAS SHOCKED about this one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just shows EVERYONE--not just 'famous/rich/celebrity' folks--they BETTER WATCH OUT who their FRIENDS ARE--what a great lesson to STRESS to our kids over this one!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Do they know, FOR SURE, that HIS WIFE didn't shoot them both & MAKE IT LOOK LIKE a 'homicide/suicide'?)
That has CROSSED MY MIND more than once when I hear the 'breaking' news about it--MORE FACTS, etc.!!!!
I COULD 'see' HOW that's possible.

Now, about your 'new' rooms--I think it's WONDERFUL & it's really 'just' Jamie 'NESTING' for her NEWBORN SON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And, like you said, you hadn't painted those rooms, yet, anyway & it WAS a GREAT time to ALSO clean the carpets!!!!!!

I say--WAY TO GO, WILSON'S!!!!!!!!!

Sorry, for you, that it turned into a BIGGER project than you first thought--BUT, MOST GOOD ONES, DO THAT, you know?????!!!!!!!

You know HOW your Dad kept talking about having '2' MAIN SUMMER PROJECTS--well, he got those done ON HIS OWN by the middle of JUNE!!!

SO, he HAD to think up MORE to do--and, this past weekend/week--we, together, have just finished putting a REALLY NICE, DARKER, CEDAR STAIN on our DECK!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, "ON" to our patio--not sure, yet, if we're going to PAINT or STAIN it--but, we're thinking about DOING SOMETHING TO IT!!!!!!!!

It's a GOOD THING when you have projects at home, too--KEEPS the VALUE 'UP' ON YOUR HOME & your interest IN IT--good for the kids to SEE/HELP out, TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SO GLAD they've got nice, 'NEW' rooms to sleep/play IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Can't wait to SEE them!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WAY TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
LOVE YOU ALL BUNCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mom

Debby said...

I liked your take on the light and dark side of all of us. We must never forget that even the worst of us has a 'light'.