Sunday, January 29, 2006


Or, how an aching back resulted in a redecorated bedroom...and a reminder of Time’s Passage.

She Who Must Be Obeyed has more than a little in common with the well-known Princess of the Princess and the Pea story. Her back is capable of detecting imperfections the size of Subatomic Particles in the bed. Unlike the aforementioned Princess, however, SWMBO does not gripe about those imperfections until things are completely intolerable.

Several months ago, SWMBO noticed that her back would bother her upon arising in the morning. At first, she said nothing of it, but eventually, the aches and twinges were too much to ignore. And of course, the Usual Suspect in a case like this is the mattress. Ours was over a dozen years old, and that’s about the upper limit of useful life for an innerspring mattress.

Of course, that’s about the last thing I wanted to hear.

First of all, just over one month prior, I had been involved in a massive Mattress Schlep-A-Thon in preparation for the Invasion of the Family in late December. To wit:
  • Futon and frame from Elder Daughter’s bedroom to the basement.
  • Full mattress, box spring, frame, and headboard from the basement to Elder Daughter’s room.
  • Twin mattress, box spring, and incredibly heavy bedframe from the Mistress of Sarcasm’s room to the basement.
  • King mattress, box spring, and frame from Gary and JoAnn’s house (upstairs, no less) to the Mistress of Sarcasm’s room. (All of this was transported the ½-mile distance between houses in a single trip using my Honda Element. Holy Crap!)
So the idea of dealing with more Mattress-Shuffling was appalling enough...and then, of course, there’s the expense. A good mattress is not cheap, even if you don’t spring (heh...he said “spring”...) for one of those Sleep Number jobs, or one with the Magic Fingers massage thingie built in. I looked forward to the ordeal of mattress shopping with the same enthusiasm I usually reserve for colonoscopies.

Thus it was that, on a dreary winter day in mid-January, the Missus and I found ourselves in Ye Olde Mattress Manufactory and Retail Outlet, hard by Interstate 75 in the wilds of May-Retta, Georgia. We bought our mattress...and then headed off to Harry’s Farmers Market to score some Subcontinental Goodies for a certain Heterosexual Caucasian Guy who was, even at that moment, absorbing mass quantities of Macallan at the Palm Bar in Buckhead.

Fast forward a couple of days, to the following Tuesday. The New Mattress arrived at Chez Elisson at 7:45 am sharp, whereupon we played yet another round of Musical Beds:
  • New mattress and box spring to the master bedroom.
  • Old Queen mattress and box spring from master bedroom to Elder Daughter’s room.
  • Full mattress and box spring from Elder Daughter’s room to the Mattress Graveyard.
Now, all of this Bedly Hitchy-Switchy was bad enough, but the disassembled bed in Elder Daughter’s room gave the Missus an idea. “Let’s paint!”

I don’t know about you, but there are only two words that inspire more bowel-clenching Fear and Loathing than “Let’s Paint!” And those would be “Let’s wallpaper!”

But SWMBO had a point. There were only two bedrooms that had so far escaped the brush and roller in our 7-plus year tenure at the current Chez Elisson, and Elder Daughter’s room was one of them. It needed to be freshened up…badly.

And, to be honest, there is something truly wonderful about She Who Must Be Obeyed when she wields a brush. Housepainting is in her very DNA, her PawPaw having been a professional and her Daddy having been a dab hand with a paintbrush as well (heh...he said “dab hand”...) It’s almost as though she is channeling the spirits of her ancestors when the paint starts flowing.

It’s Sunday evening now, and the room is done. Two coats. All the furniture put back. And yet...

It’s really not the same room anymore. By way of getting ready to paint, SWMBO packed up all of Elder Daughter’s remaining detritus and got it ready for Suspended Animation in the basement. Elder Daughter has been on her own now for – what? - almost five years, and, barring some catastrophe (kayn ayin hora), she’s not likely to move back in. It’s time, in other words, for her to Decide What To Do With Her Stuff.

It is bittersweet, to be sure, when you realize that one of your babies has flown the nest. Notwithstanding the fact that it’s the natural order of things, and it’s something all sane parents devoutly hope for and wait is still evidence of the Great Turning of the Wheel, the Wheel that will, one day, crush you underneath its treads. And nothing brings that realization home quite so much as redecorating a room that your child will always be welcome in, but will no longer be resident in.

I smell the fresh paint and I admire the nice, new room, the room that is the (indirect) result of SWMBO’s aching back. And I have to wipe away a tear.

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