Berger’s Burg: Spring cleaning has nothing on having to paint the house

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E.B., add painting to your list.

Spring will spring o’er the land March 21, but I do not welcome it. For me, spring is the most dangerous time of the year. Why? Because every spring nothing bugs Gloria more than imagining her friends dropping in and seeing our living room in last year’s colors.

So already my beloved, with her innate urge to renovate, said words I did not want to hear: “Dear, the living room needs a new color this year.” That was enough to send the “kishkes” of this paint-challenged husband to high alert.

Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. — Langston Hughes

Langston, the only liquid drops to beat upon my head will be wet paint dropping from the ceiling.

Trying to dissuade her, I asked, “Honey, how many times have I painted and repainted our living room different colors?” Silence. “I think the current hot pink is attractive?” Stillness. “When we moved into our house, the living room was 10-by-18. With so many coats of paint, it’s now 6-by-8. Pretty soon we’ll have to eat on a smaller table.” Tongueless.

I think that I shall never see/A poem as lovely as a tree. — Joyce Kilmer

Nor my living room after I have painted it.

“Dearest,” I said, “according to hospital records, emergency rooms have been inundated by patients who harm themselves painting living rooms. Thousands upon thousands of husbands are injured by ladder-related mishaps, including one poor soul who was neutered falling off a ladder.” Mum-ness.

Perhaps wallpapering would be less life-threatening? No, my fingers would weld together by the glue and would need micro-surgery to separate them. As a specimen of the genus “Masculinus klutzikanus,” the male klutz, under all circumstances I never should be allowed to paint.

But it is spring again and I flip-flopped to our local paint store with Gloria’s shopping list. She chose purple, her favorite color, to impress her female friends, overruling my suggestion of navy blue with red striping, the football Giants colors, to impress my friends, but I was ruled out of bounds and penalized 5 yards.

The best thing about spring is that it makes baseball a secondary sport

And Gloria makes painting my primary sport.

Since I threw my multicolored stepladder out the window last spring, I needed to buy a new one. Also, brushes of all sizes, a stick to mix the paint with and a white painter’s cap which magically turns colors once I begin painting.

Spring is wonderful. It makes you feel young enough to do all the things you’re old enough to know you can’t.

Tell that to Gloria.

Before starting, I had to return to the paint store for items I purposely had forgotten, such as a scraper, putty, stencils and a roller. The proprietor advised me to return the purple paint for an off-white variety, but Gloria would kill me if I did. So I brought everything home, rolled up my sleeves, and faced another great challenge to my life.

My first task was to open the can of paint and I broke all my fingernails trying. I returned to the hardware store for a screwdriver. I then placed the open paint can on the stepladder and it promptly rolled over. I returned to the store for paint remover. To make a long story short, the first day ended with me trying to remove splattered paint from my ear and nostril.

The second day found me trying to remove splattered paint from my purpled hair. The third day Gloria saw lavender me, head to toe, and immediately threw me into a tub of hot water. She then called a commercial painter who finished the job in an off-white color.

After he left, I grabbed a brush to do touch-up work. Gloria blocked me and said, “A Michelangelo, you are not. But the best husband, you are.” She kissed me and vowed never to ask me to paint again. Ah, I love the spring.

Readers, spring is the time to pretty-up house and wardrobe. But your smile is the most important.

Contact Alex Berger at

Updated 5:52 pm, October 10, 2011
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