Painting can be hilarious. There is nothing more funny than watching someone stumble into a tray of paint, wobble momentarily on one foot while deciding what to do with the other paint-covered foot as they fall, fling themselves against a wall rather than tread paint onto the carpet, and tip the paint tray over anyway as they leave their own startled imprint on the freshly painted wall..(ah, the painting parties of my youth).
If my Beloved could have done something like this, I would have really enjoyed our day of painting. However, as I watched him painstakingly stick masking tape around all the woodwork, and listened to his tips on how to cover up the carpet, I had the feeling that this was not going to be a day of slapstick comedy.
We took a room each, which on reflection was a very sensible idea. Each in our own little world, we slapped away with our paintbrushes (well, that’s what I did. He continued with his own style of precision painting) until I had finished and decided to join him in his room. I filled up my paint tray and continued my happy rhythm, until I realised that he was not painting. He was watching me.
‘What you should do,’ he said (and you know that you should never begin a sentence to your wife in this manner, don’t you?) ‘is get a bit less paint onto your roller. You see, you’re splashing paint on the carpet.’
‘Actually, I’m not splashing paint on the carpet, am I? Because there is newspaper on the floor, as you insisted…’
‘Yes, but…’ he decided not to proceed in this vein and changed tack ‘I’m just giving you some friendly advice, that’s all. You might find it useful.’
‘Well actually I have done a lot of decorating in my life and I already know how to do it, so I don’t really need any advice. But thanks anyway,’ I replied, firmly.
‘Ok. I was just offering…’ he replied, politely.
We turned back to our respective paint tins, and all was silent but for the swishing of brushes ,until there was – oops – the unmistakeable PLOP of a drip of paint falling from my paintbrush. I braced myself. Unable to contain himself, my husband rushed over to inspect the damage.
‘You’re dripping paint everywhere! Don’t you think you need to cover that bit of carpet underneath where you are painting?’
‘You know, if you’re going to keep telling me what to do, I’m really not going to be able to put up with it. I seriously can’t cope.’ I said waspishly (and with fervent honesty. The only way this was going to end was with a tin of paint upended on his head). He found my answer temporarily amusing, but that was the funniest thing to happen all day.
He didn’t even fall off the ladder. Not even the tiniest of wobbles.
The moral of this story? Decorating together is best avoided unless you want to end up in the divorce courts….We packed up soon after this, and I happily refrained from pouring paint on his head.