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I think painting is one of those things probably best left to professionals, but when you would rather spend your money on a new bike or clothes or just about anything, then look to save a dollar where you can.

And so it came to pass in the last couple weeks that some casual musing by me about taking on a project at home while Laura passes through a heavy schedule of travel, trade shows and whatnot, turned into me painting the main floor of the house.

It’s less fun than you think.

The project started on the weekend with the kitchen … it seemed like a good idea at the time. And it’s Tuesday and … the project is still in the kitchen.

Cleaning walls. Cleaning the ceiling. Cleaning the cabinets. Applying yards and yards of green masking tape before even opening a paint can. And then finally, painting.

And painting.

And painting.

After about six hours of work on Saturday and another four or five Sunday, and three more last night, the kitchen is *mostly* done. Tonight will be cleaning and reassembling book shelves etc. but the slow-moving work of taping and cutting in from the corners and joints is done. No doubt touch-ups are needed but hopefully a couple more hours will do it.

Then on to the foyer.

Chris was an enormous help with the taping and I think I might have dissolved into a puddle of tears without him. We used more than 60 metres of masking tape just in the kitchen. Trust me, that’s a lot of tape.

I asked him once he was done with the taping if he had any interest in doing some actual painting and he sort of stared blankly and walked backwards out of the room like I was brandishing a chain saw and wearing a goalie mask.


His older brother was of no use whatsoever, as he is on a beach in Cuba. That sounds like a lot more fun than taping and painting.

And their mom is working hard and is away for a few days, which is a good thing because the kitchen and dining room look a little like Beirut circa 1986 right now. It’s really a big mess, even by my standards (my working motto is generally “It’s Not As Bad As It Looks.” Except in this case. It’s as bad as it looks.)

I was looking a little like Beirut, too. I stopped shaving after Thursday and yeah. Beard. Don’t say anything. It’s a surprise.

Official kitchen cleanup will also include measures to hide a whole bunch of wires and cords from a TV, cable box, clock, satellite radio, etc. etc. That was a very specific request, or, as Chris and I heard it, “order.”

The goal starting out was to finish the kitchen and front hall/foyer by Saturday night. We will see.

The other fun thing I did on the weekend was help Chris move. Always a blast, moving.

In Chris’s case, it was a lot simpler than a lot of moves. But it was still lifting heavy things and walking up and down stairs over and over and over.

Last school year he lived in a basement apartment in a house. Next year he is moving above ground in the same house. So, the good news was that we didn’t need to rent a truck and load it. But we still had to hump his mattress, box spring, desk, mini fridge, TV, monitor, and a whole lot of other things up several flights of stairs.

And we did.

The mom of another of Chris’s basement roommates was also there, on her own, cleaning the kitchen. God bless her.

He son will be spending one more winter in the lower unit and she said she couldn’t stand the state of the kitchen any longer. She was fully engaged in taking apart the stove burns and cleaning the oven when I was there. I was going to invoke “It’s Not As Bad As It Looks” except it was. It really was.

Moving. Also less fun than you think.

On Saturday morning we had the usual spin class at the gym. Spinning is an incredibly tough workout but they say it’s great for your cardio and heart health blah blah blah. Assuming your heart is still working at the end of the class.

So I come home and head to the laundry room because my workout clothes are in need of care. They are always in need of care after any workout, but spin days are particularly hideous. Let’s just say “drenched” and leave it at that.

So I toss everything in the washer and leave for the painting job in the kitchen. I come back later, pull everything out and … I successfully managed to wash my heart rate monitor thingy. It’s attached to an elastic belt I wear around my chest (the belt needed to be washed, the monitor module, not so much) and I inadvertently tossed the whole thing in the washer.

My bad. Incredibly the monitor still worked and not it’s also really clean, as is the belt.

And last night after three more hours of painting, I shaved. I was sporting almost four days of beard and guess what — it was getting okay reviews. But it was a) itchy and b) white. Or grey. Hard to tell. But that could also have been paint, which is everywhere it seems. So, the over-under was strong that I was likely to end up looking more like a gaunt, demented Santa than a suave, cool Dos Equis guy. So, the not-necessarily most interesting man in the world shaved.

My face is clean like the heart monitor. And unlike our kitchen, where I will be tonight on my hands and knees.