I’ve been elbow-deep in lime green paint over the past couple of days. We’re decorating the girls’ room and we let them pick the color scheme. They chose lime green and hibiscus pink with a cute little heart, flower, and peace sign border. It’s coming together nicely, but I certainly find myself more and more appreciative of those who paint for a living. Whew! At the end of the day, I’m not sure if there is more paint on the wall or my shirt, hands, knees, face, and elbows.
The kids have been helping me paint, which has been an adventure in itself. I assured my husband that my apprentices and I would clean up (uhem, or cover up) any and all paint drips off of the floor before he comes home from work.
There’s a great deal of prep work that goes into painting, isn’t there? Wiping ten years of dust off the walls, taping the door frames, taking off switch plates and outlet covers, putting sheets on the floor, and practicing my balancing skills. The last one is because we shoved all of the furniture into the center of the room and there is only about 12 inches to work with around the perimeter of the room. I have to squeeze my little step ladder in between there and use my monkey toes to hold onto the ladder rungs as I make my way up. I do this while ever so carefully holding paint in one hand and a roller in the other. I’m almost ready for the circus. Sign me up.
One of the other tasks I wanted to tackle was to re-paint the wooden letters for their names. For their baby room, the letters were painted red because we basically just made a makeshift nursery out of the guest bedroom, which had lots of framed Coca-Cola puzzles from college. It wasn’t really your typical “nursery” look, but it worked. Some researchers say that bolder colors in a baby’s room may make them smarter? We’re going with that and not the “we’re-too-tired-to-paint-a-baby’s-room-right-now” reason.
We didn’t think the red letters would mesh well with their new paint selections, so we headed to Hobby Lobby. In a grand effort to hurry up and check that off the list, I let the girls pick out some glitter spray paint. I thought we could just spray the letters and rock along. Wrong. That red paint was there for the long haul. The girls sprayed. I sprayed. The girls sprayed some more. The letters just got gloppier and goopier the more and more paint we used.
Poo. Painting Fail. I knew that we needed to start from scratch. The next step was to sand that glop off the letters and use some white Kilz to create a brand-new canvas to work with. I’m happy to say that the glistening white letters are now ready to become a masterpiece.
At first, I was really bummed that my quickie spray paint job was not the answer. I hoped to just cover it up and move on. Nope. I had to take some extra time, slow down, and start anew.
All of this got me to thinking about a certain 24-hour challenge. We’ve all been challenged to do something that we don’t or wouldn’t normally do, right? On facebook recently, I’ve seen folks doing Cold Water Challenges. I know others have done intense obstacle course races. Some have signed up for triathlons and marathons. Many of those things would certainly push our limits physically. But, this challenge I’m sharing is different and quite possibly even MORE difficult! Yep.
The 24-hour challenge I read about recently is this: try to go 24 hours without…complaining. Gasp! Is it possible?! Can it be done?!
I was on the phone with my husband the other day and told him that I planned to do this 24-hour challenge. He asked me when it started and I told him, “24 hours ago, so you’re out of luck.” Ha! No, seriously. I told him that I felt like I had gotten into a cycle of complaining too much and I was eager to give it a shot. He was thrilled.
Our complaining normally starts out innocently enough…”My feet hurt. I have a headache. I’m so tired of the kids’ bedtime shenanigans. I hate mosquitoes. It’s miserably hot.” We complain about people, aches and pains, jobs, money, government, weather, sleepless nights, our weight, wrinkles, our hair, not enough time, too much to do, etc., etc.
Many times, we wake up grumbling. We kvetch about this or that all day long and we don’t even seem to notice that we’re doing it. I found this to be all too true. My 24-hour challenge was certainly not easy. My husband called me within an hour of starting it and asked how the kiddos were doing. With ear-deafening screeching in the background, my instinctive answer was to start complaining about them not getting along. However, I took in a deep breath, remembered my challenge, and told him that we were working through some things at the moment.
The crazy thing is that I honestly felt so much better that entire day – mentally and even physically. Since I wasn’t fixated on what was wrong, things were a bit brighter. But, don’t take my word for it. I challenge you to try it too.
Just like the letters I needed to paint, it was best for me to take the time to start anew. Adding layer upon layer of paint didn’t cover up what was underneath. It just made things worse. I needed a clean slate and a fresh beginning. I needed to get rid of some layers.
Similarly, adding layers and layers of little complaints just leads to a goopy mess before we even realize it. I encourage you to press the re-start button and challenge yourself to a complain-free 24 hours. It might take awhile to sand some of those layers off, but I think you’ll be glad you did. I know I was.
On a positive note, I’m thinking that my non-complainy day earned me a breakfast in bed made with love by my precious kiddos! (It happened to be an anniversary gift from them too, but I’m going with my first inclination. It makes me feel good to think that I earned a reward for my nice behavior that day – hee hee!) The food they prepared was delish, but listening to them work together and get along while whispering in the kitchen so they wouldn’t wake me was the real gift. No complaints from this momma!