Diary of a Sneaky Snook with Winston Churchill

January 17, 2017

For several days I have been planning on doing some things around the house today. I knew that with the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday I would be able to get these much-needed projects done, and there as added bonus that I thought I could accomplish it all as a surprise for my wife. Aided by the fact that she was working today, and her perception of my shady activities clouded by her pregnancy brain I thought that if I didn't say anything she might forget that I had the day off. The biggest of these projects was painting a bedroom. A few months ago we moved the five-year-old zoologist and the three-year-old ballerina into the same room with bunkbeds, and now the decoration trickle-down begins.


In addition to my list of projects a few days ago I cam across the book, Hero of the Empire by Candice Millard. Millard’s book is about Winston Churchill’s time in the Boer War, and his escape from captivity as a prisoner of war. I was intrigued by the book, particularly since it was named Amazon’s nonfiction book of the year for 2016 so I bought the audiobook. I had to buy the family groceries yesterday so I got a head start on the book and went into the day with just under eight hours left. So today’s goal was to paint a room, assemble a bench/picnic table combo, and listen to a book.


To keep things interesting I kept a diary of my activities.


8:05 – I dressed for work, helped load the kids up in the van, and then told my wife I had forgotten inside so I would see the later. She and the kids pulled out of the driveway while I went inside where I left my computer and headed to Lowes for paint. The paint was the part of my plan that I thought was going to give me away. I kept pressing my wife to make a decision on which paint she wanted because without that decision it was going to be a little hard to pull this off. I got her to decide without tipping my hand.


10:00 – My least favorite thing about painting is the preparation. All of the moving of furniture, taping and doing all of the necessary steps to make sure you don’t make a mess of the situation. But finally there is paint on the wall. Also a little on the carpet, good thing I was prepared.


10:25 – Before this book I had not idea what the Boer War was. I knew that such a thing called the Boer War existed, but that is the extent of my knowledge. Winston Churchill just got captured while riding an “armored” train through enemy territory. He expected it, his friend leading the mission expected it, listening to the book I expected it. Apparently everyone, but the commander who ordered the mission expected this.


12:06 – Of course the lovely and talented Mrs. Sharp calls while I am jumping up and down in the kid’s room with a paint roller in my hand trying to reach as far as possible. This is because, 1) I am too lazy to get the ladder, and 2) I hate going up and down the ladder. She noticed I was out of breath so I told her that I had just gone up and down some stairs in a hurry. She bought that, but it was close.


12:30 – Churchill escapes captivity. I hope he makes it. I’m rooting for you Winston!


12:49 – Earlier when I said my least favorite part of painting is the preparation I was wrong. The worst part is cleanup. Taping everything off is a pain, but cleaning up paint brushes, rollers, etc. is the worst. Today I bought a gadget called an EZ Stick Twist Paint Roller. It was really handy, then came the part where I tried to clean up without getting paint all over the house in the process. I’m pretty sure that we need a sink in the garage before I paint another room.


1:30 – Painting is all done. Two colors, two coats, and I think I deserve Whataburger.


3:09 – SPOILER ALERT: Churchill made it safely out of enemy territory.


3:30 – The bench/picnic table is done.




4:00 – Cleaning, taking down tape, and reassembling the room.


5:25 – Wife and kids arrive home.


5:45 – After being home for a while my wife finally enters the hallway where the kid’s room is and she immediately comes back out of the hallway, looks at me, and says, “Did you stay home today?” I didn’t tell her about Winston, I don’t want to ruin it for her.


8:05 – Ibuprofen, heating pad, and bed to the rescue.




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