Journal entry: June 18, 2006 (age 37)
I didn’t feel like a “Man,” in capital letters, when I voted for the first time, or when I registered for the draft. My first legal beer did not fill me with manliness. I got closer when I married Amanda, and tantalizingly close recently, when we bought our first home together. But today, I can proudly grunt to the world, “Me Man – me paint apartment.”
That means I have wandered the aisles of the Home Depot in Johnson City, in search of plastic liners to protect my paint tray from (gasp!) paint. I have required a large cart to load up my purchases at the Sherwin-Williams paint store in Vestal. I have applied enough blue painters’ tape to the door frames, windows and molding in my house to make Papa Smurf feel at home. I have gotten on my hands and knees to paint the metal slats on air registers. In perhaps the most momentous symbol of this rite of passage, I have ruined several pairs of jeans with drips of various colored paints.
The variety of the paint colors has proven to be an enjoyable novelty. Since college, I have lived in a long string of identically beige apartments. The concept of actually choosing what colors the walls should be is both alien and tempting, like Jeri Ryan on Star Trek: Voyager. Amanda has been similarly deprived of the freedom to paint, so we had a lot of fun choosing funky colors for different rooms.
Our living room is a terra cotta red, which the paint maker has named “Foxy.” I have not let this affect my newfound sense of manliness. For the guest room, which we have named “Amandaland,” she chose Pulsating Blue. For the more testosteroney environs of my office, or “the Tim Cave,” I chose a light brown by the name of “Doeskin.” It actually looks more like the color of a Wendy’s Frosty, but I suppose a major fast-food corporation is more litigious than the leadership of the deer community. (“D’oh!”) In the kitchen, we ended up with a color called “Lounge Green,” but it nearly lost out to a less appealing shade with a more appealing name: “Lafonda Tortuga.” Instead of our kitchen, I picture that hue gracing the walls of a fortuneteller’s den in the Caribbean.
Today, I put the finishing touches on our master bedroom, which takes up the entire second floor of our Cape Cod. As I rolled up the drop cloths and cleaned the brushes, I felt some pride in my handiwork. But then I made the mistake of heading back into the living room, where my eyes locked on the one strip of red paint that strayed too far onto the white ceiling. No one else will ever notice it, but I know that little goof is going to bug me for the rest of my life in this house. After all, me a Man. Me should paint perfect.