Trading vacation for paint and carpet-TL

By Tammy Keith Originally Published March 3, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated March 1, 2013 at 11:42 a.m.
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I am in the midst of yet another home-improvement project, and we are not quite ready for our own HGTV show.

That means my husband is doing most of the work, and I am directing.

After looking at Cajun Red walls in our dining-turned-computer room for the past 11 years or so, I decided it was time.

The impetus for this is the impending flight of my baby bird from our nest.

Our 19-year-old is moving into an apartment and taking all his furniture. And that stuff on the floor.

That means I’ll have an empty room, full of possibilities.

Instead of taking a vacation this year, we’re buying new carpet for the boys’ old bedrooms.

Those are the only rooms in the house with the original floor coverings from when we bought the house — 12 years ago. The house was 6 or 7 years old then, so you can imagine how lovely the carpets look.

An army of teenage boys has tromped in and out of their rooms. Some of the stains I can identify, like the red paintball that was squished on my younger son’s floor.

It must be bad when my husband, the frugal one, agrees that it’s time for new carpet.

He’s a good painter, so he didn’t balk much at painting the computer room, either.

I helped by taking all the books and knickknacks off the shelves of the computer armoire and using the cordless drill to take off light covers.

The morning of painting, I went to the gym and worked out. I came home long enough to change and announce that I was going shopping, but my husband suggested that I could give the walls a second coat while he painted the edges with a brush.

I reluctantly changed into old clothes and took over a paint roller. The vaulted ceilings were a challenge — I jumped to reach as far as I could, but my vertical leap is approximately half an inch.

My husband has made comments in the past that I am a slightly sloppy painter.

I did get a little paint on the floor and occasionally the ceiling. My husband declared me a PG-13 painter for my language when I made mistakes.

Afterward, I went outside to clean up the brush and pan, per his instructions.

When I turned on the water hose, it whipped around and sprayed me, like in the movies.

I leaned the paint tray against the fence to rinse, and the water pressure made mud splash everywhere.

The paint smell gave me a headache, clutching the roller caused the arthritis in my fingers to act up, and my lower back hurt before I started.

Now I have fresh, bright walls in the computer room, a blank slate. I can’t bear to hang anything back on the walls, yet.

I’m going to miss my son a lot, but I’m counting down the days until we can paint in there.

The old carpet will be down, so I can make a big mess if I want.

Then I’ll spend our vacation with my toes buried in the shag instead of the sand, but that’ll make me almost as happy.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or

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