"Okay, Google, how do you get gold spray paint off a new white fence?"
If that sounds like a desperate man, well, it was. That was my query last weekend after an afternoon puttering around the yard doing projects while keeping an eye on our eight-year-old son, Robbie.
Okay, I'll 'fess up. I wasn't exactly keeping an eye on Robbie. Fully absorbed in my work, I was vaguely aware that he was outside playing happily. He seemed energetic and busy.
Whatever he's doing, I thought, at least he's outside. For months, he and his two brothers have been video-game zombies every weekend, barely budging from the couch while staring saucer-eyed at a television screen. Finally, last week, we got a warm day and we all had a chance to breathe some fresh air.
I could hear the kid humming a tune and rummaging around the garage, but, as I said, I wasn't paying that much attention. How much trouble can a kid get into outside in late winter?
Years of parenting three boys should have taught me better. I missed all the warning signs.
Sign #1: "Hey, Dad, I found some paint!"
Sign #2: Robbie's hands and sweatshirt were smeared with paint. It's an old sweatshirt, I thought. I didn't register the obvious: whatever he was doing, it wasn't a simple touch-up job...
That's when Mom came home – and immediately noticed the shirt, the hands and the now-empty can of gold spray paint bought a couple of months ago for our middle son's science project, a mobile of protons and atoms. (He got an A.)
I, on the other hand, did not get an A for watching Robbie. She was furious. "Where were you?" she demanded. And, more ominously, "have you seen the fence?" Robbie, it seems, is a budding Picasso. Our new white fence now boasts a riot of gold streaks and curlicues, adding a dash of modern art to our traditional colonial neighborhood.
So, thanks to my artistic son, I have a new do-it-yourself project, one that involves acetone, a few scrub brushes and latex gloves, a bucket of warm water, a bucket of cold water, towels and a lot of sweat. Thanks, Google. I hope this $#@! works.
Are you yearning to DIY? Feeling the urge to splash some paint around? Come check out our great supply of Dixie Belle chalk paints. They're odorless. They clean up with soap and water. Let your kids have some fun with an old piece of furniture. Just keep them away from the spray paint – and the fence.