The weekend project: earning our stripes

My in-laws and brother-in-law are in the Valley for an extended visit, and at the dinner table recently my wife casually mentioned how she’d like to utilize their availability to help rearrange our daughter’s bedroom. After we all agreed to undertake the project, the details of the plan were revealed, and they were considerably less casual than the original mention. “I was thinking maybe we could change her room a bit” turned into “Here are the blueprints CANCEL ALL PLANS.”

My wife has spent the better part of our daughter’s existence acquiring items for this very project—items I have been asked to find storage space for throughout the years, to the point we have no room for food. The delay in starting has been the result of several factors, including the need to await the arrival of other men more adept than me at doing stuff. Also, my wife had not yet prepared herself for our daughter moving from a crib to a bed. I vastly underestimated the emotional strain of such an advancement, and I was unsure how to react to her tears other than by saying, “There, there … do you know where I put the rubbing alcohol? I spilled paint on the carpet.”

Speaking of the bed and paint, we had to paint the bed. My wife wanted all the furniture to be white. The bed we had acquired from friends was white, which, one would think, was good. But it was not good because it was not the white my wife wanted. So my father-in-law and I had to go to Home Depot to get the right paint, a trip that ended with a Home Depot worker running over to us at checkout to give my father-in-law his car keys, which he had left somewhere in the paint section. We were off to a good start.

Other items that required painting were everything. Most importantly the room itself. We spent the entire Saturday painting the bed and breaking down and prepping the room. Sunday, the plan was to paint, and the project would be finished. My wife had previously mentioned something about stripes, which we didn’t think was a big deal. I actually thought she wanted one stripe, like Charlie Brown’s shirt.

She actually wanted an entire wall of stripes, and also the paint for the stripes would be mixed with some glitter, and also here is a YouTube tutorial about how to do stripes. My brother-in-law and I watched the video and our heads exploded. We would have to grid the entire wall with marking points and then tape it with absolute precision. We estimated this would take three months, as we had not yet processed any part of the video after, “So, you want to paint stripes ...” which we actually did NOT want to do, at all.

Have you ever heard of a chevron stripe? Me neither, but it is actually like the stripe on Charlie Brown’s shirt, except four of them on a giant wall, turquoise blue and with glitter. The entirety of Sunday afternoon, while NFL playoff football attempted to lure us downstairs with its pleasant noise, my brother-in-law stood in our daughter’s bedroom making marks on a wall that looked like a complex mathematical formula. He looked like Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting,” and I am now suspicious he is actually a chevron stripe genius who has not yet found his calling. Then with painting tape I went point-to-point with the precision of a mechanical engineer, muttering instructions to myself every step of the way like a crazy person.

We finished taping just as the sun was depriving us of essential natural light. I can honestly say I’ve never been prouder of a finished job than I was looking at that beautifully taped wall, and we had accomplished absolutely nothing tangible. The next day some of the tape had fallen off the wall because it was so cold. I looked at it and was like, “I’m going to work.” I am at work now waiting for word that the room is finished so I can go home.

'Tis finished. (Thanks to my brother-in-law.)

Note: This column appears in the 1/24 issue of The Glendale Star and the 1/25 issue of the Peoria Times.


Anonymous said…
Your in-laws are amazing.
mkenny59 said…
They are. But is that you, in-laws?