Monthly Archives: July 2018

( editor’s note: I’m typing this on Wednesday, but I won’t post it until Thursday, because I don’t want Ethel to see it).

Well, I’m at home for four days by myself – Ethel took the 6:05 AM flight on Sunday morning to Las Vegas for a “convention” (cough-cough)* so I am batching it.

Lately I’ve been self-absorbed and full of self-pity because I can’t get my way in some things that seem (to self) to be important; the best thing for us drunks to do when we’re thinking about ourselves is to do something for somebody else.

So I’m painting the bedroom and loft.


Stupid Painter Syndrome (SPS) is that strange phenomenon that happens when one starts a paint project – or wallpaper, tiling, or any other home-improvement DIY that requires one to mess up one’s living area while it’s going on. There’s only one real symptom – an inability to stop working on the project at a reasonable hour.

Before Ethel and I got married, a friend told us that we shouldn’t tie the knot until we had wallpapered a bathroom together, the idea being that if you can do that, you can survive anything as a team. It was pretty good advice, and it does seem that we were a pretty well matched pair.

But when we wallpapered that bathroom – the first time I’d ever done ANYTHING with wallpaper – we started in the afternoon, and we didn’t finish until sometime the next morning, after working all night long. (We were, obviously, 32 years younger then than now 🙂

Apparently, we had already demonstrated a genetic predisposition to Stupid Painter Syndrome.

When we moved to Bozeman, we had four days between closing on the house and our furniture showing up – so we painted that 2700 square foot house, with 28 foot ceilings in the great room, in four days. SPS – a real illness with real symptoms.

So during this past Sunday, my bachelor weekend day, I got all kinds of stuff done, but I was aware that the notion of painting the bedroom and loft was in the back of my mind, waiting to pounce.

Our bedroom and loft is a ridiculously complex room (or pair of rooms, depending on how you count ’em) with respect to wall area, windows, stairs, very high ceilings, and windows. There is one long ceiling that spans the whole area, rising at about a 45 degree angle from the low wall in the bedroom to the high wall in the loft.

I can only assume that this complexity is the reason that Ethel has not actually gotten going on painting this room in the almost two years that we’ve lived here; she got the house up to the bedroom (and the entry into the bedroom) painted in the first few months, but then things came to a stop.

So I decided to “surprise her” by doing all the work while she was at the “convention” (cough-cough)*.

So Sunday afternoon, I started on the hardest wall – the long one at the west end, that included the stairs. I got to bed around 10 PM on Sunday night. (I don’t stay up until 10 PM on New Year’s Eve).

I woke up Monday morning coming up with all sorts of reasons why doing one wall – the most difficult – was enough of a surprise, and that I should now take it easy. But it was too late. Stupid Painter Syndrome had me in its grasp.

The astute observer will note in the above photo the central presence of a can of Red Bull on the nightstand – which is, BTW, in the middle of the room, along with everything else, which means that silliness is going on. I was drinking this Red Bull at 6:27 PM on Monday, while doing the south wall, which was the quickest paint job, but one of the more involved preps, because of the windos, blings, door and trim.

When I realized that I was about to drink a Red Bull at 6:30, I knew that SPS was in full swing. Once again, I didn’t get to sleep until after 10.

(Please note – while doing this, I still had to work, and go to meetings, and do my workouts. SPS doesn’t care about the other stuff in your life, but you still do).

So on that Monday, in order to do the south wall, I had to pull out Ethel’s nightstand, which meant piling stuff on the bed – which was already getting pretty loaded down with things out of place from all over the room, which meant sleeping on the sofa Monday night. That wasn’t good for my back.

Yesterday I pulled out the bed – a big heavy thing made out of barn wood; now my back hurts – and pulled out Ethel’s workstation and supporting equipment up in the loft, and did the east wall, plus a section of the north wall in an accent color. I did get to bed last night at 9, so there’s that. But it was another night on the sofa – which didn’t do my back any good.

Now I have the unenviable task of putting everything back together and getting all of the paint stuff put away before Ethel gets here tonight. She won’t be in until nearly 11; since most of the wall work is in Harvest Wheat gold, not too far removed from the previous beige, she might not have noticed the change when she’s sneaking into the bedroom trying to keep from waking me up.

But it’s likely that she WILL see the dark green accent wall.

But even if she wakes me up, I’ll bet that I go right back to sleep, because – I am TIRED.

Stupid Painter Syndrome only has the one symptom – an inability to properly scope a day’s work. But it has a definite AFTERMATH, as well.

I am TIRED 🙂

But I have to admit that the mission was accomplished – not the PAINTING mission, but the mission to get out of self. The whole time that I was painting, I wasn’t thinking about myself, my little plans and designs….I might have been thinking “I’m tired. This is stupid. My back hurts!” but I wasn’t thinking about what I didn’t have and wasn’t getting.


UPDATE:  Things never go the way that you think that they’re going to go. She was mildly surprised to find that the painting was all done, but she was VERY upset with me for moving her desk and unplugging her wires; I had sort of thought that, since she had hooked them up, she’d know how to rehook them.

Once again, I was wrong.

So instead of having lots of husband points, I’m in the dog house 🙂

*yeah, okay, yes, I know that she’s at a convention for work, with her team – and she’s actually doing two presentations – but my favorite tease in this context is that she’s REALLY down there doing marathon sessions at Thunder Down Under. Be sure to ask her about the show. She appreciates that 🙂


When we decided to build, everybody cautioned us – “Patience. You’ll need patience.”


Well, we closed on the lot a week ago.

The builder with whom we were working – who came well recommended – had advised us through the process of choosing a lot, and he had said that he could build what we wanted, for the cost we wanted, on the lot we chose.

And then he disappeared 🙂 He’s not responded to texts or emails. He sort of pulled a Keyser Sose on us – “..and like that, poof, he’s gone.”

I’m sure that he’s busy – it’s the busy time of the year, for builders. And I suppose that “patience” is good counsel at a time like this – although I prefer the couplet
“When in danger, or in doubt
Run in circles, scream and shout!”

I, of course, take this as a SIGN that we did the wrong thing, and that we should have done something else, instead. I have to admit that I wonder if maybe he suddenly realized that he can’t build for us what he said he could build for us at the price he said he could build it, so now he’s chosen the easy way out – just ignoring us until we go away 🙂

(However, while my selfishness loves to figure out other people’s motives so that it can blame and complain, I also have to admit that my batting average on figuring out other people’s thoughts and actions is pretty darn low indeed – it ain’t quite .000, but it’s close).

So now comes the question – what do we do? Do we just keep waiting for him to eventually get around to talking to us, so that eventually we can work on a set of plans, so that eventually we can apply for a construction loan and get permits, so that we can eventually break ground and then eventually have a house?

Or do we go find another builder and start the process over again?

Or do we run away to Mexico? (Ooops – sorry. I don’t usually say that last part out loud. I usually just think it to myself, quietly, never letting Ethel know that I thought it. Mr. Keeps-It-To-Himself, that’s me. You won’t hear a peep outa me about running away to Mexico. Or, at least, not another peep. I will now re-enter the conversation inside the bounds of statements allowed as admissible by all parties, by which we mean “Ethel”).

On Friday, she sent a “Gee, what happened to you?” email, in response to which we’ve heard the chirping sound of one lonely cricket on a Montana evening. I think that her current plan is to wait until the end of the day and then send an “If you don’t respond I’m going to find another builder” email.

That’s because Ethel is patient. She’s been sober two years longer than I have (as she never fails to remind me) and thus has much more spiritual growth and virtue and stuff. Me, I’d be all “Dude! You stopped talking to us, so you’re gonna lose our business! I’ll show you! I’m running away to Mexico!!” (Oops – sorry. Didn’t mean for that last bit to slip out. You won’t hear another Mexico peep outa me).

However, I wouldn’t be surprised if “losing our business” might not be just fine with him; Stumptown Build & Design has a website showing the homes that they have built, and everything on the website is twice the size and three times the price as what we planning on. We would definitely be one of the smaller fish on his stringer.

But, then, that’d be true with any Whitefish builder.

So I’ll just sit back and be patient, and let Ethel decide what level of impatience is appropriate – maybe she’ll go for character building rather than home building, and practice absolute patience, meaning that she will do nothing at all. She might want to test the maxim that “Infinite patience brings immediate results.” I would love to observe and learn from such a demonstration – it would do me a world of good.

Or maybe we’ll just throw everything in the truck and run away to Mexi….*(%*&^$…..NO SIGNAL.

UPDATE – Turns out that the builder had responded to Ethel with updated plans, and she hadn’t seen the attachment. So, as Emily Latilla would say, “….never mind!”