Bob Groeneveld has been sharing his Odd Thoughts with Langley readers for the past four decades, give or take a few months.

Odd Thoughts: Painting some of life’s lessons

Rejuventating a stairwell can bring learning to a new level.

by Bob Groeneveld

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I learned some valuable lessons while painting the stairwell last weekend.

I learned, as I got started, that Donna first asked me to do it more than 20 years ago, and I learned that she nonetheless appreciated that I was finally making the effort.

However, I also learned something about humour. I learned, for instance, that under certain circumstances, it may not be funny to joke about putting a job off for another ten years. Although Donna often laughs at my jokes when few others bother, not everyone present in the room – and there were only two of us – was able to appreciate how funny this particular joke was.

I learned that it’s okay to wipe paint off your hands onto your ragged old jeans that you save for painting projects.

I also learned, however, that it’s not okay to sit on the couch afterwards.

I learned that it may be possible to wash your water-soluble latex paint bushes and rollers in the kitchen sink… but I’ll probably never know for sure, because it definitely is not okay to leave paint splatters and splashes behind the tap, on the counter, up the walls, and on the ceiling.

If anything, I learned to be a little less exuberant about washing my brushes.

On the other hand, it made it worthwhile to climb up and tackle those little spots of purple pulp that got stuck up there when I was making plum jam last summer.

Earlier in the day, I learned that, when you’re near the top of a tall stepladder, it’s important not to reach beyond the ladder’s centre of gravity.

However, I also learned that I am a very fortunate human being. It’s about 20 feet from the ceiling to the bottom of the stairs, so I was especially fortunate – and tremendously surprised — to learn that it is possible, however unlikely it may seem, to fall off a ladder without hurting yourself.

At least, not seriously.

I also learned from my subsequent heart rate that I am completely satisfied with what I learned in that instant, and I feel I have no need to go any further with that lesson.

I didn’t learn much about painting… at least, nothing new.

I did relearn that it is not wise to step in a spilled drop of paint – even a very small one – and then walk through the rest of the house.

I also learned that it takes between twelve and 15 steps before your shoe finally rids itself completely of a spilled drop of paint – even a very small one – that you’ve stepped in.

And I learned that twelve to 15 steps can take you a long way through the house… much farther than you’d imagine.

And since this is Valentine’s Day (no matter which day you’re actually reading this), I learned – once again – how wonderful it is to live with someone who makes every day Valentine’s Day.

I know that doesn’t really have anything to do with painting a stairwell… or maybe it does.

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In a past life, Bob Groeneveld was editor of the Langley Advance and the Maple Ridge Times. Now he writes when and what he feels like. He has been sharing his Odd Thoughts with readers for more than 40 years. Visit with him on Facebook.

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