Tonight my wife’s friends came over to help paint the nursery, and since we live in a pretty small hose I retreated to the basement to work on the changing table. The hardware kit for the crib arrived today, but I only took a peek at it – no sense in losing anything.
I spent a couple of hours in the shop, and started by milling a few replacement pieces that fell casualty to my bone-headed eagerness the other day. Anway, after I got a few pieces jointed flat, thicknessed and cut, I set up the tablesaw for putting tennons on the ends. For this I used my new Freud Dial-a-Width Dado set, which I picked up at the 2005 Woodworker’s Show. It did the job pretty well, although not quite as smooth as I had hoped. Then again, going across the grain is always a bit tougher.
Once I got it set up, it didn’t take very long to get the tennons cut. I was tempted to do more, but it was getting past 8 o’clock, and that’s well into the Mistake Hour.
I don’t know about the rest of you, but particularly when I haven’t had a snack or a something to drink, I find myself getting into this working daze. Early evening is particularly dangerous, with 7:30pm until 9 or so being the Mistake Hour. If I have something pretty boring to do, it’s great – I can power through it without thinking too much. As long as nothing unexpected happens, or no serious thought is required. I think this must be how punch-press operators get just before they lose fingers, or worse. This is the kind of daze I was in when I hand-cut dovetails on all four pieces to a box before I realized that I hadn’t ripped them to the correct width – when I marked the pins from the tails, I’d lined up one edge and simply not looked at the other. Amazing what a trip to the bathroom and a drink of water can make you see 😉
So instead I went upstairs. Which was a bit of a mistake.
The problem with painting is that everything in a room to be painted really needs to be removed before hand. But it never seems that way – I mean, it’s pretty easy to talk yourself into moving much less. Hey – all I need is 12″ or so around the walls, right? I can put the paint tray on the dresser, and drape dropcloths here and there… No problem – I don’t need to move hardly anything!
But in the end, you realize the error of your ways (pehaps even without tipping the paint over), and out the stuff comes. Only now, it’s in a hurry because there’s painting to be done, and probably an open can of paint. Somewhere. Probably on the dresser.
So out the stuff comes, hastily set down and tucked away here and there. Tricky little paths form – the minimum navigational space needed is all that remains. Twisting and turning to move from one room to another without stepping on anything or losing your balance is like some crazy dance a drunk person would do. Of course, between the fumes and the post-woodworking beers…well not really a drunk person but you get the idea.
This by itself would be merely droll – a nice bit of real life to spice up a dull day. To keep things a little spicier, like a burrito-enchilada combo plate at an Arizona truck-stop, one of her friends was invited to repaint the dresser. It started life as one of those unfinished things, so no big deal on repainting it. No big deal at all, ‘cept that between the empty room being painted and all the stuff that used to be in the empty room being painted, not to mention the loot from our recent baby shower, and hand me downs from a few older siblings, there’s just not room for it. Besides, the can of paint is on top of it.
So upstairs I come, into a house that looks like an explosion. Dresser drawers on the floor, propped up a bit, with wet paint on the fronts. Boxes of stuff here and there. A pizza on the coffee table. People and stuff everywhere. After my messy (but in a very intimately known sort of way) but still pretty uncluttered shop, this is a shock.
After a minute or two, I flash back to my bedroom as a kid – really, any room I happened to be occupying with more than 4 toys – and remember the same ocean of stuff. Only then I was the one thinking it was no big deal, and my parents were the ones with the facial twitches.
After a flash-back like that, I can’t help but think this is some kind of parenthood training.