Tag Archives: family

A Fresh Coat of Paint

This post is part of SoCS. This week’s topic: Attachment.

We’ve spent the past 48 hours fixing up this old house, the wife and I.

That’s 48 hours of parent time, which is measuredly and markedly less efficient than regular human time, because parent time is punctuated regularly by appointments with a baby who is hungry, a baby who is sad, a baby who is upset, a baby who is angry, a baby who wants attention, a baby who is attempting to pull all the sharp things off the table and into her mouth, a baby who has somehow figured out a way to deepthroat the remote control that’s twice as big as her head. We even got her big brother out of the house and off to the grandparents’ for a couple of nights to buy us extra time, and we still spent the day scrambling. As a result, in 48 hours we got three bathrooms painted.

It’s a chore which, we realized after just a few hours, was about four and a half years overdue. (We’ve been in the house for five years.) For all that time, the walls have remained the same bland, inoffensive taupe, plus or minus the scribblings of our two-year-old and a few decorative pictures and photos. They say taupe is soothing, but what it is, really, is invisible and characteristic of nothing. Which I guess makes it the perfect color for a house you’re trying to sell: it’s a blank slate for prospective owners to color with their own hopes and expectations. Somehow, we never got around to filling it with those things for ourselves. We can blame it on the kids a little bit, but ultimately, we just hadn’t taken the time to do it.

And therein lies another realization. Why were we able to let this little thing go so long without being done? Why have we stared for five years at the same bland, inoffensive walls, without being overcome by the surge of frustration at the vacuous sameness of it all? Because we’ve never been particularly attached to it.

Don’t get me wrong: I love our house. It’s a weird kind of wonky style with lots of open space and plenty of room for us and all of our stuff. It’s been the empty husk in which germinated the pale little seedlings of our tiny family. It’s in a nice enough neighborhood, away from traffic, and with pretty decent neighbors. But I also hate our house. That wonky style is born of the 70’s, which is when the house was built, and you can tell, because parts of the house are starting to fall apart as you might expect things built in the 70’s to do. Underneath the taupe paint we’ve discovered layers upon layers of horrible — and I mean really quite atrocious — wallpaper with nausea-inducing patterns and colors. I’m talking about gold-and-green flowers on chocolate brown background. It’s buried behind the light fixtures and air vents, and any time I undertake a home improvement project, I’m always discovering the stuff, like little breadcrumbs leading me back to the house’s horrifying past.

At any rate, my wife and I are both feeling that it’s about time to move on. Our family has grown, and like a snake growing too big for its skin, we need to leave our old trappings behind. We need a basement. I’d like a study that doesn’t double as a guest room. It’d be nice if we could find a place that comes with insulation in the walls. It’d be peachy if the pipes in the new place don’t explode at the slightest glance from the gods of winter.

Our little project this weekend has shone a sharp light on just how ready we are to move. All of a sudden our heads are full of all the little things we need to do to get this place ready to sell: fixing up the porch, replacing carpets, painting rooms and walls and doors… the list is growing by the minute. That said, we handled three rooms this weekend, which is not bad for a sleep-deprived couple with a nine-month-old who still isn’t sleeping through the night.

Not that I’m complaining. That little girl, unlike the house, I am actually quite attached to.


After my monumental gripe with the Holiday season (cringe) yesterday, it seems only fitting to embrace the spirit of the holiday today, so for a little change of pace here on the blarg, here are some things I’m thankful for.

  • I am thankful for my two beautiful children, who, despite their daily assaults on my sanity, are pretty much the most amazing future humans I have ever known.
  • I am thankful for my gorgeous wife, who both calls me on my sharknado and manages to inspire me to be the best version of myself. And who is also one hell of a cook.
  • I am thankful that my wife’s family and mine live within a short hour’s drive from one another, and we are therefore spared the uncomfortable situation of having to choose to spend time with one or the other on days like this. I am also thankful for the two over-the-top dinners we get as a result of this double-dip.
  • I am thankful that despite my recent injuries, I remained in good enough general health to return to running in time to complete a race with my wife and sister this morning, having about as much fun as I’ve had in a while doing something that wasn’t all about my kids.
  • I am thankful for my job. Whether it was something I ever saw myself doing notwithstanding, the stability it has brought to our house has made a lot of things possible over the last couple of years, not least of which are the births of my children and my wife’s continuing education. We are not rich, but we are comfortable, and it’s hard to overstate the depth of appreciation I have for that comfort.
  • I am thankful that, for whatever reason, I decided to embrace my fears and my wants and begin capital “W” Writing this year. It’s been a terrifying and enlightening journey, one that I hope I’ve only seen the first steps of.
  • I am thankful that, despite my position as an English teacher and a self-proclaimed capital “W” Writer, I can boldly and with my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek end sentences with prepositions, massacre the rules of general good grammar, and play havoc with punctuation, and still (I think and hope!) generally communicate in an intelligible manner.
  • I am thankful that there is great love in both my family and my wife’s, and within our own newly created family.
  • I am thankful that my son did not use any swear words in front of the family on Thanksgiving (that I am aware of). If he did, he learned them from TV, not from me.
  • Finally, and before this list gets out of control (because it could), I am thankful for my readers and followers here on the blarg. Yes, this little chronicle is largely a narcissistic endeavor, but I’d be lying–horribly–if I said I didn’t get a thrill from knowing that other people read (and in some cases enjoy) my drivel. If you’ve ever read my work and laughed sympathetically, or clicked that little “like” button, or left a comment, you’ve brightened my day. I want to thank you for sharing a little of your time with me.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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