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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Feeling No Pain(t)

Do you ever do something that you know is completely futile? Something that, from prior experience, will surely be frustrating and pointless and guaranteed to whack another slice off your dwindling faith in humanity? And yet, due to some wild hope or unfounded optimism or possibly temporary amnesia, you do it anyway?

Yeah. My wife did that today.

In a few days, we’re having some work done in our condo. Said work will futz up one of the walls in the guest bedroom a bit, and so we’re also having the room repainted.

(For the record, we used to paint our own walls. We’re pretty bad at it, and we’re messy as hell, so we don’t paint our own things any more.

Seriously, we may be the sloppiest painters ever. Our last project involved painting a dining room this dark maroon color, and we got the stuff everywhere. I still have the shorts I wore; when I put them on, it looks like my crotch killed a hobo with a chainsaw or something.

That look might work on the set of a porno slasher flick. Chilling at a block party cookout — not so much.)

My wife, of course, has opinions on what the new color of the walls should be. I do not have such opinions, particularly. I barely have an opinion on the current color of the walls, and that’s almost certainly wrong.

“I just don’t much care what colors the walls are, short of ‘expired milk green’ or ‘you should probably have a doctor look at that pink’.”

(I’d call them “white”. But it can’t possibly be that simple. They’re probably “eggshell cream” or “Siberian winter mist” or “untanned Canadian ass” or something. Who can keep up with the Gliddens of the world?)

She’s asked me about such decorating decisions in the past, and I’ve been relentlessly, consistently unhelpful. Not willfully unhelpful, mind you. I’m not trying to obstruct the process, or piss into anyone’s bowl of paint thinner. I just don’t much care what colors the walls are, short of “expired milk green” or “you should probably have a doctor look at that pink”. And there are only so many swatches of more-or-less-gray that I can look at before I stop trying to play nice and wander off for beer and sanity.

How many swatches? Two. Two is the number of swatches I’m good for. Not fourteen. Not thirty-seven, and which one brings out the mahogany tinge in the doorknobs the best. And not a freaking rainbow of grays pasted all over the room, like we’re redecorating for a United Barely-Ass-Colors of Colorblind Benetton. Two.

Now, I understand why the missus tries to draw me into these discussions. She wants me to feel a part of the process. She wants the decision to feel bilateral. Probably, she’s looking for someone to scapegoat, should the color “we” pick fail to make the hobnails in the hardwood floor pop the way “we” expected it would. But mostly, she wants us to be equally engaged in these matters of household, to share our opinions, and tackle projects together.

Which I’m perfectly happy to do, of course. I just don’t care about the color of the walls. But I’ve got lots of exciting ideas for the guest room. Tons! We could put in a pool table.

(I’m told we’re not putting in a pool table. There’s no room.)

Or how about a minibar?

(No minibar. Come on.)

A ball pit? A mirror ball? An in-floor koi pond?

(If I’m not going to be serious, she says, then I won’t be consulted on any decisions.

An empty threat. But it shuts me up. Just in case I can still wrangle the minibar out of her.)

So there we are, in the guest room, staring at her monocolor dreamcoat of indistinguishable gray swatches littering the walls. She’s been extolling the virtues of one grayish glob over another — well, this one is brighter, but this one really resonates with the trim in the hallway — for a while, and I’ve been nodding sagely and thinking.

About football, mostly. And beer. And how they could improve those CapriSun pouches if they made the backs out of really strong material instead of foil. Right? Like, if the back side was wood or steel or carbon fiber or something, then you’d never punch that little straw all the way through, like sometimes happens. And then you could make the straw stronger, too, so it wouldn’t bend up and crumple when you miss the punch hole on the front side. So keep the foil in the front, make the straw out of, like, bamboo or something, and just reinforce the shit out of the back panel. That’s so much better. I should talk to-

Oh. This gray is the same shade they paint space shuttle re-entry tiles or something. Mm-hmm. That’s an option. Put it on the short list, dear.

Finally, my brain shut completely off. I stood there, trying in vain to look helpful and concerned, when she accidentally triggered my smartass reflex. She said:

“…oh, and this one, what do you think of it? See, it has just a hint of pale blue, almost a little bit green-“

Some part of me woke up and locked on: “Aw, snap, yo!

She took this sudden — and largely involuntary — exclamation as interest, which pleased her. Temporarily. “What? Do you like it? What is it?

I was moving without thinking, arching my back and emphatically crossing my arms.

Dawg… shit just got TEAL!

I don’t know what color the guest bedroom will end up being. But I sure hope I like it, because it looks like I’ll be sleeping there for the foreseeable future.

Maybe I’ll get to put in that minibar.

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