Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy accidents

I’m sure a lot of things sounded like good ideas at the time.

New Coke.

Pet Rocks.

Democracy.

And updating old bathroom vanities so they’ll look brand new. Or at least like they weren’t purchased from a garage sale in 1972.

“I’m gonna paint the cabinets,” I announced to my husband one day. Mind you, I wasn’t asking for permission to do so. When it comes to home decorating, my husband does what every hot-blooded (and hetero) American male does when the topic of redecorating is broached: heads for the hills with a case of beer beneath each arm and a promise to return after the dust has settled.

So I really wasn’t expecting a response beyond the usual thumbs up and a short lecture reminding me of the importance of properly securing the top of the paint can before moving said paint can farther than two feet in any direction.

‘Cuz...well...let’s just say that’s how we got the new tile in the laundry room.

Jon called it a horrific disaster. I optimistically termed it a happy accident. Because that’s just the glass-is-half-full kinda girl that I am.

So I began my project that day with my head full of sunshine and dreams of beautiful new cabinets.

Thirty minutes later I had been interrupted no fewer than 147 times by my 5-year-old son demanding everything from a peanut butter sandwich to the location of his favorite race car to wanting to know why Squidward from “SpongeBob SquarePants” doesn’t wear pants.

I was kinda curious about that last one myself but wasn’t in the mood to worry about it that very second.

After he approached me for the 148th time...I admit, I got a teensy bit upset.

“For the love of God! I love you, but will you please just go away and play in traffic somewhere?!”

OK, so I wasn’t proud of myself. But any parent knows there’s a place a kid can drive you that will make your brain turn inside out and you will lose all sense of reason.

For some, it’s the candy store at the grocery aisle. For others, it’s a movie theater on a Saturday afternoon when the latest Disney movie has opened.

For me, it was a tiny little bathroom on a Wednesday.

After I hit the reset button on my temper I reminded my son that my hard work was on his behalf since it was, after all, his bathroom I was redecorating.

He nodded in agreement and answered, “Good. I don’t like having an old lady bathroom anyway,” then turned and ran away.

I stared at his retreating back in shock. Old? Lady? Bathroom?

I looked around at the Americana wallpaper, cream walls and navy rugs. I sniffed. I thought it looked pretty. Not suitable for a growing boy (hence the reason for a makeover), but it certainly did NOT qualify as an Old Lady Bathroom.

That label is reserved for anything pink.

With plastic seashells. And crocheted tissue covers.

In other words, my grandmother’s bathroom.

So I spent the rest of the day painting in a tiff, determined to show the males of the household that I could be chic. And hip. And a whole bunch of other one-syllable words that I couldn’t think of at the moment.

My husband, having drunk all his beer and returned home in search of more, asked a while later, “Why is this sitting in the middle of the hallway?” He pointed to the large fern placed near his feet.

I smiled and answered, “It’s this new Feng Shui thing I read about. Don’t hide your plants near the wall. Bring nature closer to you. And...uh...I think it makes the air cleaner because — you know — plants make oxygen. And with this fern in the middle of the room...you’re...uh...closer to the goodness of the oxygen than if it was up against the wall waaaaay over there.”

I paused then added, “What it is NOT doing is hiding a big, brown paint splotch from a happy accident two hours ago.”
And then I ran.

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