2006.05.17 Paint me multi-talented

Written by David Green.

By JEFF PICKELL 

Last week David and I had a work shadow. In order to graduate, Kevin Foss, a rural Morenci resident and senior at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, has to follow three workers around for for a week apiece. We got the middle shift.

The problem with following a reporter, such as me, is that three fifths of my job is comprised of sitting, staring at this darned computer screen and screaming to myself “Write, Jeff! Write!”

Garrison Keillor, the host of “A Prairie Home Companion” says writing isn’t as difficult as everyone makes it out to be.

To Mr. Keillor, I say, “You wanna fight?”

He may think writing is easy, but that’s because he’s good at it. It’s kind of like Einstein saying understanding the photoelectric effect is easy, or Ray Lewis saying it’s easy to play middle linebacker in the NFL.

Writing comes naturally to Mr. Keillor, and he’s found a way to do it and make a living. The only thing that comes naturally to me is sitting. That makes me 50 percent qualified for this job.

Unfortunately, I still have to write, and that stinks. It’d be tough for me to host the “Let’s Sit Down on Things Home Companion.” I imagine it going something like:

Jeff: Well, it sure is nice to sit down on things.

Lefty: It shore is, Ace. Say, you remember the time we ran into that wrangler down in New York City, then went to the library?

Jeff: Quiet! I’m sitting!

Lefty: I was just saying, Ace. It’s funny when we get into comical situations, like that time we—

Jeff: [takes out gun, shoots Lefty in the head.] This show is for sitting, not talking.

This would be followed by 87 minutes of dead air, while I sit. It’d probably go down in history as the worst Western ever. Next to “Paint Your Wagon.”

Which reminds me, I am, myself, currently engaged in a kind of Western. “Paint My Kitchen,” it’s called.

A former reporter painted the kitchen in the apartment above the Observer office yellow, which, next to Communist Red, is my least favorite color). After putting up with the shade for an unbearable 12 months, it had become a buzzing in my eyes that I just couldn’t take any longer.

So, last Wednesday, I went next door to Gamble’s and purchased a bucket of “Periwinkle Frost,” i.e. “Light Blue” paint, and began transforming the kitchen from enraging yellow to serene blue. The process was anything but serene.

Before this, the only thing I’d ever painted was a toilet building at Proud Lake State Recreation Area, and that I did poorly. I’d never even attempted painting the inside of something, but I remembered that when my Mom painted my room once, she taped a bunch of stuff off. I bought a bunch of blue tape and taped the heck out of the room. I even taped the oven, microwave and refrigerator shut. But that had nothing to do with painting; I’m a fat slob and need to drop some pounds.

Following the taping, I sprayed the walls down. I’d called Mom beforehand and asked, “Mom, how do you paint a kitchen?” She said the most important things to remember were to keep plenty of windows open and to wash the walls before painting. I doused them with Fantastik and spent a roll of paper towel wiping it off, which led the garbage to overflow.

Then the painting began. After passing out from a combination of Fantastik fumes, paint and forgetting to open the windows, I finished the first coat in a world record time of four hours and fifteen minutes. Altogether, the process took over eight hours and included some Cirque du Soliel-grade acrobatics, as in back flips and swearing whenever paint accidentally dripped from my brush to the floor.

I still have another coat to put on, and David just sprung the cheerful news that the rental rehab inspector is coming tomorrow. Which means I not only have to attend the Fayette Village Council meeting this evening, but finish off the paint job, clean things up, and dismantle my meth lab.

If I don’t get things done tonight, I may have to enlist Kevin’s help tomorrow morning. Besides, as David says, he often considers putting “Publisher/Janitor” beneath his name in the paper. Isn’t writing/cleaning/reporting/painting what working at a small weekly is all about?

Mr. Keillor may have me beat when it comes to writing, but I’m the Babe Ruth of the combined sport of writing and scrubbing toilets.

P.S. Be sure to visit Gamble’s for all your painting needs. They handled me wonderfully.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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