Making the most of a day of painting

From left, Jennifer, Parker, Michael, Allie, Pop and Nana get ready for the concert.
From left, Jennifer, Parker, Michael, Allie, Pop and Nana get ready for the concert.

To me, it was the most successful day of painting a house ever.

And that’s because not a single thing had been painted.

Now, lest you think that I have been overexposed to paint fumes, hear me out.

I don’t like painting. Everyone in my family knows this. I know that painting a wall is not that difficult. But for whatever reason, I find it one of the least enjoyable home improvement projects. And despite how relatively simple painting a house is, I somehow am remarkably bad at it. When I am done painting a room, it looks as if I have attached a wet paint brush to a very agitated crow and set it loose inside, flailing about, distributing paint on the walls in a wretchedly uneven fashion and splattering plenty on the floor, windows, other people, etc.

But for two weeks, we had been gearing up to head to Atlanta to paint my inlaws’ house. Yes, we would drive to Atlanta and spend our weekend painting Pop and Nana’s house. And there was not a word of complaint from me. Not a peep. The kids clearly get their painting inclinations from their mother’s side, as they were actually excited about the pending job.

Even though there would be no painting.

The painting had been a ruse for a while. And it went on well into Saturday. We told the kids that we probably wouldn’t be painting today. First off, their Nana said, we would do a quick picnic. Then, there was a home show we would attend. You know, we could look at paint colors and such.

The kids shrugged and said, “Cool.”

I am beginning to think my kids are little too trusting. For example, when we pulled into the parking lot at Chastain Park, my kids didn’t seem to question as to why so many people would be setting up tailgating spots to go to a home decorating show.

We set up our tailgating spot and visited for a while. Even our tailgating neighbors got in on the gag. They told the kids they were looking forward to finding numerous home improvement ideas inside the event.

Eventually, it was time to pull back the curtain. Nana fired up a song on her phone. Pop said to the kids, “Name that tune.”

Parker shot his hand up. “It’s my favorite song! ‘Home’ by Phillip Phillips.” At that point, Pop handed the tickets to the kids. The Phillip Phillips concert started in about 15 minutes.

The looks on their faces were priceless. Our tailgate neighbors, who said they had a four-month old daughter, looked on. The dad said, “See, that’s what I can’t wait to do. That’s what having kids is about.”


I have heard a few of Phillips’ songs, mainly when one of the kids plays them over and over and over and over on the computer. Fairly catchy tunes, and, so far as I can tell, his lyrics pass my Conjugation Test, in which the lyrics are analyzed for proper verb conjugation. Failure to do so, in particular failure to conjugate “to be,” results in the song immediately being banned from all playlists in my house for eternity.

This was the kids’ first concert that did not involve a Wiggle or a Doodlebop or other such creature. We saw Phillips and the band O.A.R. For the record, my first “real” concert was The Cult and Metallica. My wife’s:  Donnie and Marie Osmond. Nana’s: Barry Manilow. Pop’s: The Beatles.

I think we can all agree Pop wins.

The concert itself was a great time. Chastain Park has great big aisles, so the kids were able to stand up and dance freely throughout the show. My daughter was in charge of Woos. Every 10-15 seconds, she would randomly screech, “Woooooo!” causing me to jump and recoil and my wife to look at me and roll her eyes at me for being lame at a concert. Personally, I don’t think Woos are as needed in quite the quantity they are normally provided.

It was a really fun weekend, and I’m glad we were able to provide some good memories for the kids. The only downside, of course, is if Pop and Nana ever need us to actually come and paint their house. The kids are going to be mighty disappointed if they show up and find paint brushes waiting for them.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, you can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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