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Day 22 of the quarantine: an experience

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After a nice lazy weekend Monday came upon me like a moose on a lake; my wife wanted me to do something, I wanted a drink. There was nowhere to run, she prevailed.

Let’s face it: permanent home office is just NOT as productive as a regular office is. For those who disagree I have arguments, but for me it is a fact. Also, encouraging each other and the competitive environment are other factors that are lost in the home office. Again, for me it is less productive, my wife sees it, and my kids even laugh at me when I tell them I need to get to work. So I decided to no longer fight my wife off and agreed: I can paint the living room in between some calls and emails. YES, let’s do it!

We had been talking about it for weeks. We had bought the paint, the brushes, the rollers, the plastic sheets to prevent the paint dripping all over the floors. What we forgot is a cage for the kids, but heck, we have managed before. I used to love doing this stuff but now I despise it. Mask taping each panel, each switch, the endless walls, the ceiling, the drip lines, the mistakes. What a day awaits me!

I put back my last piece of egg and beans for breakfast, slurped down the rest of my coffee and then proceeded to the living room to stare at the walls for fifteen minutes, size it up. My kids snuck up and asked what I was doing, and I announced “Today we paint the living room!” Everyone burst out laughing as if it was a big joke.

Preparation is what painters spend most of their work time on. We move things, tape up the walls, the floor runners, the door handles, anywhere or anything the paint can drip on. Sometimes you have to wait for the right song to come on the radio, sometimes you need to have a beer. It all needs to come together like poetry. So I sent the kids away with my wife. I wish I had locked them in there, but I am not sure if that’s legal anymore.

I was an hour in, had a bunch of stuff tapped up, moved etc. My oldest came and wanted to help. I thought it was a good idea, five year olds are ready to work. When I was five I helped my dad re-shingle the roof on our house in Canada, what’s a little paint job? He is a good listener and we worked well together. An hour in and we were ready to start painting, actually we were ready for a break. I told my wife I was taking a break and she came out with the other two youngsters. I told everyone to get in the kitchen and not even look at the living room, but it was too late. The middle fella had already broke loose , tripped on a bucket and went sliding across the floor. But it was not the floor, it was the plastic sheet that we had so carefully taped to the floor boards. Off it went, garbled into a giant ball of masking tape and plastic sheet.

I gave my wife the anger look and told the kids that’s exactly why they are not allowed in the living room and we huddled in the kitchen for a snack. The problem is that the kids were looking into the living room at all the new things they could play with. I explained that I was preparing for the painting part of the day and everyone must be in the bedroom until I was finished. But these rules are impossible to enforce – just like the lock-down itself!

I jumped into my office to shoot off some emails and a phone call, in 30 minutes I was back on location. I love this part of a project. The hard work is done, there is only peace, music and the sound of the roller spreading paint across the walls. We had bought one of those giant buckets of paint which are impossible to open. It always takes me a while and no matter how careful I am the lid always pops out and a small spray of paint shoots onto the floor, or onto my clothes. I have mastered the issue in a way that prevents disaster: I wrap the lid in a plastic bag when I open it.

I poured the paint into the roller tray, placed the lid back onto the bucket and start the motion. I started with the edges and then rolled it all together in the first coat of latex. I looked at the clock and thought that if I hurried a little I could actually do the second coat tonight, if it was necessary at all. I felt the coffee had flowed through my body so it was time to visit the facilities.

I returned promptly and froze on the spot: in the middle of the floor there was a giant puddle of yellow paint, growing like an atomic explosion across the floor! My son was standing behind it, hands on the tipped over bucket, straightening it up. I was defeated. I looked at my son, the bucket, the puddle and asked him calmly “what are you doing?” He responded as he smiled “painting.”

Another day had passed, another project left unfinished, just an exhausting exercise spending the whole afternoon cleaning up the yellow floor. Now our living room looks like it is under construction, we are not allowed to go to the paint store to refill the bucket, and another day gone has passed with no results.

My wife said “again you didn’t finish the job” but I was already plotting revenge on my family. Next time I am buying a case of beer and inviting Honza over to help. I can’t wait to see how he reacts to these situations.

Stay strong everyone!

Paul Lysek – The idea of writing a daily update came to me by seeing, hearing and trying to understand all the things that are happening around us at this time. This story is a combination of all those sources, including friends, relatives, and experiences with attempts to bring out the satire, emotion and changing environment of the situation. It is entirely fictional, with the exception of my sarcasm.

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