Barbells and Buttercups

I was walking through the grocery store parking lot, freshly showered, sore and exhausted after my latest round of redecorating.

I passed a white compact car that displayed several decals, stickers, magnets, whatever, all in pink.

There was “good things come to those who sweat.”

There was a decal of an arm, with a prominent bicep, holding a barbel. Several others referring to how wonderful a life spent in the gym can be, also in pink.

There was a sticker, again in pink, that said, “Boss Lady.”

And on the bumper, “Suck it up, Buttercup.”

I found the overall effect off-putting, with its superior tone, especially after having just spent two days muscling furniture around, climbing up and downs stairs and step stool, taping, wrangling a paint roller on a pole to paint a ceiling, and sweating my way through two or three coats of paint on the walls,  AFTER my morning barbell workout, conducted in the privacy of my basement.

But here she was, her car as her messenger, in my face with her apparent conviction that her physical activity is better than my physical activity.

Her car seemed to sneer at me, “My way of working out is better than yours! I bet you don’t work out anywhere near as much as me! I can lift heavier barbells than you!  You can’t possibly be as super-duper as me! Hang your head in shame, you wimp! Look at me! Boss lady! Fitness Nut Extraordinaire! Gym Owner! Trainer! Non-buttercup! Don’t you wish you were more like me?”

Well, no, if you’re going to be like that.

Bu let’s give you a sideways hand-clap, since you seem to need the attention so badly:

Suck it up, buttercup.

In the meantime I’ll be over here, busting my formidable ass to get my home and gardens into shape so I might actually be able to extend a warm welcome and some hospitality to the people who have been so kind and helpful to us since Mike died.

Keeping my barbells (mostly) to myself, having a little too much fun with the bitmojis and thinking this one probably should have been over in the Snark Tank,  I remain,

Your stout but unbowed, pretty fit for my age and getting a little fitter with every paint can I haul and 5 lb (I’ll be trading up to 8 lbs soon, take that, Boss Lady) barbell I curl,

Ridiculouswoman

How Not to Paint A Room: Front Room Walls

Weigh Jackson-Pollock style painting already on floor as a result of painting ceiling against “no two coats this time dammit” determination to soak and roll.

Select soak and roll. Horse, barn, ship, sailed, water, dam.

Proceed.

Tape perimeter of newly painted ceiling. This may be a soak and roll job, but you WILL NOT mar newly painted ceiling.

Decide you don’t need to remove curtains. You can be careful painting that 8 inch space between the ceiling and the curtain rod, no worries.

Next, tape dividing line between breakfast area and front room. What a designer you are! Defining subspaces within the same space by using different colored paint! SO clever. Thus avoid paying for framing a wall.

Next, start on the easiest wall, no furniture to move.

Soak, roll, slather.

Quick work! You’re getting even better at this!

Turn to dividing line. Breathe. Enter the unknown. Will this work?

Soak, roll, slather.

Now paint eight inch space above very large picture window and curtains.

Up on the stepstool.

Immediately drip paint on curtains you failed to remove.

Eh, they were cheap, they’re ten years old, and they don’t go as well with this new paint color as you thought. Determine to spend a delightful evening shopping on line for those perfect sheers you saw in some big box store. Which store? Eh, you’ll remember.

Proceed.

Paint trim around huge window, previously taped. So smart.

Immediately drip paint on glass.

Eh, it’ll scrape off when dry.

Proceed.

Two out of four walls, done.

Now, the wall behind most of the furniture, including the piano.

Determine that piano can be rolled from one end of room to other, according to which part you are painting. Table, lamp, CD cabinet all inch away fairly easily. Nothing breaks.

Move beloved writing desk-highboy combo that had belonged to step-grandmother an inch at a time away from wall. This one gets covered with plastic. Must not drip on that. Or break anything.

Miraculously, nothing inside highboy display cabinet breaks. My, you have the touch!

Proceed with soak and roll.

Wait, is that dust? I thought I got all that!

Oh well. Decide that cobweb-dust-encased-in-paint-now-affixed-to-wall provides the textured, antique appearance of a Tuscan villa to a 1948 Cape Cod.

Proceed.

Oops, forgot to spackle over chipped places.

Spackle.

Forget that spackle needs some time to dry.

Paint over wet spackle, creating smudgieness.

Sigh.  “Textured, antique appearance of a Tuscan villa.”

Time to move the piano.

Manage to shove piano from one end of wall to the other without gouging fresh paint.

Wonderwoman, that’s who you are!

Complete corner behind beloved writing desk/highboy combo. Finish front wall.

Next, paint trim of three remaining windows. Cool! Monotone! Trendy!

Forgot baseboard trim.

Slather baseboard trim with soaked brush. Tape’s still there, and so is Jackson-Pollack painting.

Return piano to center of wall.

Notice paint drops on piano.

Eh, never should have paid for a rebuilt one. So stupid. So many people willing to get rid of theirs for free.

Adopt Scarlett O’Hara outlook: “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

Done! The biggest room in the house, done!

Wait, wha?

Easiest wall looks, um, not done enough.

Approach.

Realize that despite soak and roll technique, subtle texture of old plaster wall still shows dappled white spots, un-soaked with new ivory color.

Curses.

Two coats.

Soak, PRESS HARD, roll.

Sweating. Yay, workout.

Repeat exhausting HIGH PRESSURE soak and roll around room.

Notice that when pressed hard, soaked paint roller emits tiny spray of paint droplets, which coat your glasses, face and hair.

But at least you kept your mouth closed this time! HA!

Now, DONE, dammit.

Yes, but you still have to remove tape on ceiling and floor, clean floor, and replace furniture.

Think about that tomorrow.

Angelic daughter has waited all day for your attention.

Eh, who needs a shower just to go get some take out?

Use app to order. Drive over to pick up.

See diners recoil.

Eh, I didn’t get anywhere near your food, don’t sweat it.

Deliver Angelic Daughter’s food, pristine in its styrofoam within its paper bag.

Realize you forgot to eat.

Smile. The Paint-A-Room-And-Forget-To-Eat diet!

Genius!

Shower time. Find paint in impossible places.

Scrub, rub, lather, rinse, repeat.

Sit back and contemplate methods for scrubbing Jackson Pollock painting off wood floor.

Which you will do.

Tomorrow.

Actually getting ready to start the next room, just behind on the storytelling, I remain,

Your “I really thought I got all the paint out of my hair, and what’s that on the side of my ankle?”

Ridiculouswoman

PS I figured out how to add a little more realistic heft to my bitmoji, who is flinging a can of paint up there; if my 5 a week barbell workouts start to have any appreciable effect, you may see her begin to slim.

A Chipmunk, A Jeep and a Free Lunch

A chipmunk bought my daughter lunch today.

Allow me to explain.

Waiting in a long line of cars at our usual Thursday lunch drive-through fast food place (autism, routine, usual place) I noticed a really cute chipmunk zipping out from under the fence that enclosed the trash bins.  It kept zipping out, assessing the situation and zipping away again.

Suddenly it decided the moment had come, to zip across the drive-through lane to the shrubbery on the other side.

A lady got out of the jeep ahead of me, and looked under her car. I knew she was looking to make sure the chipmunk hadn’t stopped under her vehicle.

I rolled down my window, to ask her if she saw him under my car, but she immediately said she had accidentally squished a turtle once and didn’t want to squish that chipmunk.

She looked under my car for me, and gave the all clear. Then she got back into her Jeep.

It wouldn’t move.

The parking lights kept blinking. She clearly was shifting into drive, and the thing just wouldn’t go. It revved and blinked. But it wouldn’t move.

I put my car in park, reassured my daughter that I’d be right back, and tapped on the Jeep’s window to see if I could help.

The lady explained it was some kind of safety feature, “auto-park,” that came on when she got out of the car. It had happened before, but she couldn’t remember how to fix it.

She was going to call her son to find out. She felt really bad about holding everyone up and asked me to tell the people behind us what was happening, and I did.

Then I went back to my car to wait.

Nothing happened. Just another round of lights and revving.

Assuming she hadn’t been able to reach her son, I tapped on her window again, and tried to help her look for some switch to flip or button to push.

Nothing.

Then I heard that chiming.

“What if you put on your seat belt?”

She had undone it when she got out of the car, but she hadn’t buckled up again.

She fastened the seat belt, and voila! The car shifted out of park.

I confess to using my “outside voice” to holler one of those big “you’re welcomes!” to the several cars still waiting in line (how humble and gracious, of you, Annie, when the poor lady already felt so bad, and now she was probably embarrassed too, that something so simple solved the problem).

Angelic daughter was nervous, but I told her I had been given the opportunity to do a little thing to help someone. I solved the problem, and that felt good.

We made it to the ordering speaker thingee, placed the order and pulled up behind the lady in the Jeep, who was just finishing up paying for her order.

Or so I thought.

She pulled ahead and and drove off.

I pulled up and stuck my hand out the window, holding the debit card to pay for Angelic Daughter’s lunch.

The kid at the window was clearly pleased about something.

He opened his window, smiled at me, and said, “the lady in the Jeep says thank you.”

“Oh, that’s nice,” I said. I honestly thought he was just conveying a verbal message. I kept holding the debit card out the window toward the kid. He didn’t take it.

“She covered it. Paid for it. All you have to do is pull forward.”

“Oh, how sweet!’ I was really surprised.

And, then of course, (Anxiety! OCD!) worried: is this one of those things where everyone is supposed to pay for the person behind them? Because, for stupid reasons I won’t go into, I couldn’t pay for anyone else’s lunch today. I felt bad about that.

But, I reasoned, I had done everyone in line a service by helping the lady in the Jeep, getting her going so the line could start moving again. It was a long line, but only two or three cars pulled out to park and walk inside the restaurant.

So I decided it was OK to just enjoy her gesture of gratitude, and in turn to extend mine to that cute little chipmunk (usually my nemeses, chipmunks  – they tunnel around in my vegetable garden and dig holes in my yard).  But today a chipmunk was the genesis of an opportunity to help.

So thanks, little dude.

Now get off my lawn.

Thankful also that the sun is emerging, and summer (technically – still cool and rainy) starts tomorrow, I remain,

Your appreciating-the-little-things-today,

Ridiculouswoman

(PS – OK, I know that Bitmoji image up there is supposed to be a gopher, but you get the idea. Feel free to share funny Caddyshack references, though).