Friday, October 23, 2009


A few months ago, a colleague and I were having beers when he demanded I answer a simple question, “Are you going to be a sissy and force your child to wear a bicycle helmet?”

My initial thought was, “Can I survive jumping out the window to avoid talking to this guy?”

I can kind of see his beer addled point. Overprotection is a slippery slope. One day you’re screwing in child latches on every drawer in the kitchen and the next you’re your draping son in bubble wrap.

Yes, when we were children we raced around on our bikes without helmets. And we sat two inches away from our mom’s cigarettes and hung out the window of the family station wagon and used Crisco as suntan lotion.

BUT WE KNOW NOW THOSE THINGS ARE TERRIBLE FOR YOU. It’s not overprotection when there are decades worth of data proving having a helmet on your head increases the chances you won’t have to collect your brains in a Tupperware container if you fall off your bike.

What does this have to do with anything? It has to do with painting. Lemmie explain.

As you recall, we turned our dining room into a room for Bruce Grover Hamann. Bed for mommy, crib for Bruce, hidden bottle of Jameson for daddy.

But we needed to do some painting, because we’re predicting Bruce is going to be a stickler for decorating. So we hit Home Depot for a paint run.

Apparently, some paint gives off bad fumes. The fumes are caused by something called VOC, or BVD or ADD or something. The colleague at the opening of this story would say, “Kids have been smelling paint fumes for decades. Why are you spending double on low BVD paint?” Because we can. That’s why. Talk to me when you have a kid.

So Diana asked the man behind the counter to make sure we were getting low or no BVD paint. The man looked her right in the eye and said, “All our paint is low BVD.”

So Diana spent the day painting Bruce’s room. Oh, was that because I was working? No, I was playing with Elijah that afternoon. It was because Diana believes I do a horrible job painting and it was faster for her to do it than to have me paint and then redo it all.

Once she finished, she realized the room stunk. Low BVD paint doesn’t have a smell, so it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to deduce we got had. Now, we’re convinced Bruce is fine because I famously ate paint chips as a toddler and I turned out okayish. But it didn’t stop Diana from feeling The Rage.

She returned to Home Depot and went to the service desk. There was a nice Hispanic gentleman at the post. Diana said, “Are you the manager?”

“No Ma’am.”

“Can you get the manager? Oh, by the way, I’m PISSED. So you may want to take your coffee break.”

The nice Hispanic man ran screaming.

I wasn’t there, but I assume the managers on duty needed a serious diaper change when Di was done with them. Long story short, Home Depot gave us our money back and paid to have Bruce’s room professionally repainted. With another company’s paint.

I don’t have any photos of Diana or Bruce’s room. So just pretend Elijah is Bruce and the green tractor is BVD fumes.


mark said...

Smart guy. My poor ability as a painter only means that we have poorly painted walls.

We recently changed our living room, bath and hallway from white to not white. Rather than opting for lower voc paint we opted for lower brain celled brains.

Carla said...

Tim sez:
Hell hath no fury ...