Wednesday, November 15, 2006

By Hand

One of our favorite things about the suburban transition is that the domicile is in need of work. Now, we're not talking about major renovations, but rather about cosmetic changes -- painting, cleaning, yard work. We just finished painting the dining room. This necessitated patching walls, the ceiling, sanding, cleaning, priming then the application of two coats of paint to all surfaces in the room (yes, we painted the ceiling and all the woodwork, if you don't do that, don't paint the room).

There is a lot of woodwork in our dining room -- chair rails, base boards, crown moldings and three door frames, a window frame and a neo-Classical styled corner hutch -- and it grew tedious near the end but looking at the finished product is gratifying. The job took several nights of work, after the day job and after the children were put to bed. A professional could have done it faster -- though not necessarily better -- and we would have been free to remain forever ensconced before the video altar. But, we took matters into our own hands, and got dirty, got paint splotched, and started to work on the callouses, toughening up relatively pink office hands.

One of the realities of living in a service based economy is that we can pay others to do nearly everything for us. Others can paint our dining rooms, mow our lawns, cook our meals and even train our children to pee in the pot. We like to do manual labor around the Quarter Acre. It reminds us of where we come from. It permits us to connect with our surroundings; use our hands on something more than a computer keyboard; take greater ownership of our property.

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