Thursday, June 13, 2013

speckled and splotched

So, dewberries are a real thing!  Not some Bath & Bodyworks invention like I'd previously believed.  I have a friend who made a list called "40 Before 40"--all this stuff she wants to do before she turns 40.  On that list is "Try 40 new kinds of cheese."  Perhaps I should create a bucket list of sorts and "Try 20 new kinds of berries." 

Things continue to devolve this summer.  In my most recent brilliant move, I passed out rollers and brushes to Team Testosterone (+ friend and Ace) and gave them a new bucket of primer.  "Paint the entire surface of this shed," I explained and I gave them a fast tutorial on how to paint with the grain of the wood and dip their brushes and scrape without wasting paint and making a huge mess.

Then Mr. D called, asking me to meet him for lunch.  Against my better judgment I agreed to meet him and left the boys to their job.

I returned an hour later to find:
a) my house full of paint-covered boys
b) the sink full of white water and Ace lamenting that soap and water did NOT clean up the brushes or people
c) my nice red dishtowels covered in white oil based primer
d) the new brushes ruined

I didn't swear out loud.  I pointed out the rag cupboard (conveniently located next to the utility sink by the door).  I suggested the can of mineral spirits in the garage might be the best way to clean up.  I sighed heavily at the paint-stained clothes and dishtowels.  The new nicknames for Mr. B and Mr. G are "Speckle" and "Splotch." 


Ace and I cleaned up most of the mess and then I learned:
e)  they only painted 3/4 of the shed before running out of primer.  Because they wasted most of the primer by having a paint fight.

So I had to go back to the hardware store for more primer and brushes.  I think I'd have come out ahead giving the boys money to get lost for a day buying rounds of miniature golf and ice cream and done the darn job myself.

I'm learning a lot this summer.  Ace is my first youngest brother hired, and he's not real good taking the reins, which is why he didn't STOP the paint war when it got going.  All of the other boys have been older or oldest brothers and would have felt comfortable nipping it in the bud.  I'm going to have to be very clear about perimeters with him and the rest of the tribe.

Everyone under the age of 11 lost painting privileges.  (Don't worry--there are plenty of other useful jobs to keep them employed!)

 In other news,  Mr. B continues to improve on his baseball game.  His mental understanding has really improved--he still gets nervous at times and overthrows the ball, but he's made some good infield and outfield plays AND pitched pretty well.

I woke up the other morning to the most lovely misty sky.  I walked outside barefoot and relished the perfect temperature, the birdsong, the solitude.

Here's "Splotch" sitting on the couch.  Everywhere we go people ask, "Oh, have you been painting?"  And that's when the kids have their shirts ON.  I'm going to have to scrub them down with the rest of the mineral spirits because oil-based primer does NOT wear off.


  1. It maybe would have been easier to do the job yourself, but it wouldn't have been a learning experience for the kids and all kids need that. You will whip Ace into shape. just have patience.

  2. As I read the story, I was thinking, she's not going to leave, is she?? Then you left. It had to be bad news after that.

    Our two oldest boys painted the back barn last year (while I did other yard work) and have mercy did the paint go fast. I don't want to imagine what a paint fight looks like.

  3. My family got a good laugh out of the story about the spitballs in the momvan. I can't wait until dinner tonight to tell them about the Great Primer Battle of 2013.

  4. Sometimes the only thing to be said is "Oy." This is one of those times.

    I hope you had a really good lunch.

    I would like to put my youngest child to work weeding my gardens, but I am afraid that if I leave her alone with that task for 1 minute she will pull out all the good stuff and leave the weeds. Or that she would encounter an attack rabbit.

  5. Oy, indeed. I admire your nerve, leaving them to it. And although it's been a pain for you, I'll bet the experience itself, and the speckled consequences, have been a solid learning experience for all of them, Ace included. And CHM is so right --I hope it was a good lunch!

    Kids have such an interesting take on chores. This morning Emma volunteered to wash all the windows --volunteered! But afterwards I had to pick up the paper towels and windex, where it was just left when the next shiny thing came along :-) On the upside, most of my windows are much cleaner.

  6. I painted our kitchen cabinets a few years ago with oil based paint. I concur, that paint takes a lllloooooooonnnnnnngggggg time to come off on it's own.

    I was hoping you'd come home to find a fully painted shed. Oy vey.

  7. Love the misty morning photo - and your story :-)

  8. Oh boy. Well, it was a learning experience! What a difference between latex and oil-based cleanup! Is that why I never progressed to oils in childhood art classes? (My mom said acrylics were cheaper. Hmph.)

  9. I love summer mornings. Coffee on the deck, birds calling all over - even in my city neighborhood.

    Good luck on the painting!

  10. I find the rag issue to be universal with males. I have a large quantity of 'rags' for that moment a male person needs to wipe something permanent and/or icky. I have made that 'rag' bin easy to access but it is never easier than a kitchen towel. What is up with that?

    1. My husband is sure that his t-shirt (whichever one he happens to be wearing) is a perfectly good 'rag'... and the boys have all picked up that habit.

  11. Oy!! Towels are replaceable, right? You deserve new ones!
    I have no doubt that it would have gone the same way here at my house, but there would have been considerable hollering... and that's just me.

    Today was our first day of summer break. I wasted it by going to work, but I'll be sure to get up early tomorrow for one of those barefoot-on-the-deck, coffee-sipping mornings.

  12. I once thought about doing a list like that but then thought nah to much work and I would do a few things on the list and just get tired with it and give

    I have a rag box and a bunch of old towels to be used for messing stuff so if it gets to yuck it can just be tossed but guess what hubby will get and old stained and torn towel to use after his shower the old towels are seprate to the good towels so why he does it is beyond me.........

  13. If you lived closer I would take you to pick dewberries with us!

  14. I, too, thought dewberries were an invention of Bath & Body Works! Who knew?

    As for the paint fight ... ugh. Triple points with Jesus for not killing any of the young menfolk, my dear. Triple points.

  15. Oh my word!!!! First the van and now the shed. *sigh* Life with boys. I swear boys are intended to MAKE their parents patient people. That is the only choice we have since we can't strangle them.
    Well done, mama. AGAIN, you handled that WAY better than I would have.


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