Tricks of the Trade – Painting While Parenting

While the hubs was away this weekend I made a small to-do list for myself. It included painting our main stairway walls and ceiling. Actually one wall and the ceiling as I only had small amount left in the gallon from a previous painting jaunt.

Tapestry Beige! Doesn’t that sound thrilling? It was the color of most of our walls when we bought the place. It is basically Builder’s Beige with a kick but it had that snazzy title on the color swatch card and was the closest match to what was already on the walls. The walls that have seen better days and had quite a few hand marks on them.

The boy is still reluctant to nap at home (sleeps like a champ at school) and I dared to think he could assist me in my home improvement task. Learning an actual skill always trumps sitting in front of the iPad any day, so I figured I would give him a shot as my assistant. As he played in the family room I got out two tarps, a paint tray, paint roller with extension arm, wet wipes for spills, and one of the boy’s small paint brushes.

The tarps went on the floor and up the stairs. I poured most of paint into the tray, blue taped off the trim, and called the boy. He was excited at the idea of helping out and so I laid out the rules. They were simple:

  • He had to paint the “base coat” on the lower half of the wall with the small brush
  • I was the only one who could use the roller until we got the the top of the stairs
  • His paint was what was left in the can while mine was in the tray
  • He could paint above and on the blue tape; but not below it
  • I had to remember that he is only 3 1/2 and paint might get spilled

Up the stairs we went. He stayed on the tarp, above the blue tape and on task the entire time. When I needed to move the tarp or get more paint I gave instructions to him one step at a time which kept confusion to a minimum.

Once we made it to the top of the stairs and were on the flat landing I let him finish the job with the paint roller. He was proud to have helped out with such a “big kid” job and notes how nice the wall looks each time he walks down the stairs. Maybe this will keep him from writing on the walls.


A shot of the finished wall

Maybe this will make him enjoy doing other decorating projects. Maybe I need to look at my list of rules again and remember the boy is just a kid.

Have you successfully involved your kids in any household improvements or decorating?




No Fixxer-Uppers

Allow me to rant this Monday morning. I do not like really involved home projects. Call me a lazy, elitist snob but anything past putting up bead board, painting or installing a new light switch cover and I really think we need to call someone in on the job! I also do not like yard york. Although I have had some zen moments over the years creating designs with the mower in my mother’s front yard it is hot work and I don’t like it. OK back to the original gripe. I spent ALL weekend working on the ceiling in the den of my mother’s house. And by all weekend I mean I began with the prep work on Friday night and did not officially place the last ceiling tile until 1:30 on Sunday afternoon.

A little background for you. My mother lives in a 1960ish ranch style brick home in Southwest Atlanta. It sits on a nice BIG 1/2 acre corner lot(hence the lawn mowing complaint!). Since it is fairly old, things break and they need to be fixed. The den ceiling was one of these things. The accoustic ceiling tiles started causing her problems by drooping and then falling out completely. The room was added after teh house was originally constructed, but still we are talking about a ceiling that has been there since 1972 at least so these buggers are kind of old. Many of them needed replacing and after much back and forth she decides that “We” can do this. After purchasing the needed materials from Home Depot “We” began. You all know that the “We” is loaded with sarcasm. She quickly became the peanut gallery as I worked on three sections of the ceiling over three days.

The first day was the worst as I was pulling out old insullation and it was getting on me which sent me into an itcy frenzy! The second day began at 10am and ended at 11pm. I broke for lunch and dinner at 12noon and 6:30pm. I must admit I was getting a bit surly. Her only job was too put new insullation in the completed tile sections. She would groan with every toss of the stuff. I was thinking to myself, “Woman please! I am busting my butt up here and you are complaining about three miniutes of throwing environmentally safe, non-toxic insullation?”

On the morning of the third day she asked, “Don’t you think it is coming along nicely?”To that I responded, “I really don’t care I just want it done”. Which was way nicer than what I actually wanted to say!

It is Monday July 21st and I know that if push came to shove I could repair a patch in a tile ceiling but I WILL NEVER DO IT AGAIN. Saying that, if Joe and I ever decide to purchase a place that needs repairs we just need to work it into the budget that someone else needs to come in and do it.

I have no satisfaction of a job well done. I do, however, have the affirmation that “do it yourself” has its limits. I choose colors and make things look good with pictures, pillows and personal decorative touches. I pay for electricians,brick layers and carpenters. If the roof repair/gutter cleaning was one half of my wedding dress, this was indeed the other half.