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Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2002
A couple of years ago Ally had one of those Saturday mornings that make husbands cringe. Sitting with coffee and the newspaper, she flipped through all the brightly colored flyers and advertising sections until she found her little pot of gold. She shook the Home Depot insert under my nose.

"Look! Look at this sponge paint scheme! Wouldn't this look cunning in the downstairs bathroom?"

To hesitate for a moment would be devastating. This is the same woman who once woke me out of a sound sleep ripping up carpet in the dining area. You can't believe how much noise that can make at midnight.

She was off to Home Depot before I could muster much of a defense.

By Sunday night she had stripped wallpaper, sponged paint on the four walls and brushed paint on the window and door (and a smattering on the ceiling and floor). True to form, I avoided the area until summoned.

"There! Whaddya think of that?!" She was beaming, wearing one of my old shirts, which looked as though it had been a test pallate for the sponging technique now adorning the walls.

Truth be told, there was not much to say other than it was GREEN. And artfully spongy looking. Husbands the world over have (or ought to have) learned the fine points of tongue biting in situations like this. The bathroom somewhat resembled the interior of a fungus jar. Even the light switch had a dripping of green.

"Uh, it looks swell. You planning on putting any plants in here?"

Coporate partner Stu, never one to be quite so diplomatic, was less reserved. After occasional visits to the downstairs bath over the years, he offered this critique.

"Every time I go in there it makes me want to take a dump."

Yesterday I waited until Ally was well on her way to work and made a dash for Lowes (it seemed only fitting to allow a little competition for my home project dollar). Paneling. Bathroom fixtures. A door. Some wood trim. And a new light switch.

It must be said that after doing construction for 25 years I've lost a lot of my zest for putting in 10 hours a day on the job and then coming home and doing more of the same in my own cave. But yesterday I had the urge. And when the urge hits you just kinda go with it.

In 5 hours I paneled the bathroom in a light colored birch with beaded vertical grooves, put up new pewter light fixtures and bath accessories, installed a new birch door and frame. I hung the towel on the new towel bar, put a toothbrush in its' new holder and turned off the new light switch.

I've found that it's important that you get these sort of projects as close to the finished state as humanly possible in a day. If you're gonna sell it to the rest of the family, it better look as though you are serious about it and limit the amount of "when are you going to finish?" sort of inquiries. Their response was nearly unanimous.

Beth: "Oooooh, Pops! Killer! Yes! (slappping five with the Dad)
Maggy: "Daddy it's gorgeous!"
Ben: "Way to go Dad!"
Ally: "What got into you today?"

Occasionally you just have to make an appearance around the house. A sort of statement. You can't just lounge in the recliner forever.

Well you could, but somebody might paint over you unless you blink every now and then.

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