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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Adventures in Painting, part II

April 4, 2008

Recognizing Limitations

This experience making over our downstairs bathroom has led me to realize the value in recognizing one’s own limitations. I am creative – in an English composition sort of way. Not in a painting masterpieces – or walls – sort of way.

Though I had planned to take all of the kids’ Spring Break off from work, an event next week needed my attention, so I went to the office on Thursday. I wasn’t heartbroken as it gave me a legitimate reason to avoid painting another coat of Cheez Whiz, er, paint, in the bathroom.

Before I left, I remove the gallon of paint and the paint tray from the bathroom so no one would get any wise ideas about helping out while I was gone.

At about 2pm, I got a mildly panicked call from the babysitter. Robbie had been in the bathroom a little longer than usual.

“Oh no,” I thought. “He’s covered himself in poop.” No such luck.

The sitter, Sarah, went to check on him. “Robbie, are you ok?” she called through the door. To which he replied, “Yes, I’m just doing some painting!”

Hence, the panicked call. In my rush to get out the door, I had overlooked a paint roller, wrapped in plastic wrap, sitting in the sink. Robbie found it and had painted the toilet and the sink!

So I did what any other slightly warped (must be all the paint fumes) mother would do in that situation. I burst out laughing!

Sarah, thinking me a bit nuts, wasn’t sure what to do with my response.

I couldn’t really be angry with her or Robbie – I was the one who’d overlooked the roller. She was relieved when I told her that we are going to replace the toilet anyway.

“Just clean up what you can and I’ll deal with the rest when I get home.”

Then I had her put Robbie on the phone.


“Yes, Mommy,” said a contrite little voice that knew he was busted.

“What were you doing in the bathroom?”

“I was just painting a little.”

“Painting the bathroom is Mommy’s job, ok?”

“Ohh-kay,” came the reply, still a bit worried.

“If you want to paint, you ask Sarah to get paint out of the art closet and paint on PAPER.”


I hung up the phone, thinking this latest development was pretty much par for the course of this painting adventure.

When I got home, I went into the bathroom to survey the damage. Sarah had done a good job getting up much of the paint. But about 30 minutes later, Charlie closed the door to use the bathroom and yelled “Mom! He painted the door, too!”

Sure enough, the back of the door has the mark of the mini painter. That’s not gonna be so easy to clean up, I’m afraid. Since the paint on the door had already dried, I was not in a huge hurry to tend to it. So, I close the door in denial and start to fix dinner.

Which led to the second paint-related discovery of the evening.

Let me just preface this by saying that if you ever build a house and they give you the option of installing a utility sink, spend the extra money and do it. We did not. Which is why I washed my paint tools out in the empty kitchen sink.

Well, apparently, I did not rinse the painty water down the drain enough or something else mechanically similar that I am not smart enough to figure out. Because when I opened the dishwasher to get out the clean dishes to set the table, streaks of painty water clung to about every other dish. Arrrgh!

So, now, in addition to painting two more coats of so-bright-I-gotta-wear-shades yellow and figuring out how to get the paint out of the grooves of the back of bathroom door – I’m thinking of turning it into modern art by slapping some other colors up there with the yellow and putting a frame around the whole mess; I had to unload the dishes, run an empty cycle through to clear out the water, re-load and re-wash all the dishes.

As Robbie would say in a situation like this, “Shout!”

Mike has forbidden me to ever paint anything again – including my fingernails. I have come to recognize my limitations as a handy-gal and have developed a newfound respect for professional painters.

As for the bathroom, when it’s finished I’m thinking of hanging a basket of sunglasses inside the door so the simple act of “doing your business” won’t result in permanent vision loss.

For Part III of Adventures in Painting, click here.