Bad decisions make great stories — and this was a whopper. I kneeled over our bathtub, pulling pieces of epoxy paint out of the clogged drain. Years ago, when my husband and I were first married, our bathroom sported a colorful collection of Pepto-Bismol pink fixtures and sea foam green tile and floor.
One day while he was on a hay run to the other side of the state, I installed a new white toilet, setting the old pink one on the lawn to greet my husband upon his return. Later, while he was again hauling hay, I enlisted my mom’s support, and we sent the pink sink to ugly appliance heaven. The big, pink cast iron tub, however, seemed a little bit more daunting. I stood in the hardware store admiring the sleek, white fiberglass ones, knowing they were well out of my realm of expertise. How to get the old one out seemed the most problematic — my husband would love to help with house repairs — if they were “income generating projects.” Unfortunately, I haven’t been too successful with installing a “pay bathroom.”
Then I saw it. On the end of the bathtubs display I found a box of epoxy paint for toilets, sinks and bathtubs. I picked it up. I felt my tub dilemma slipping away under a lovely coat of white paint.
“Don’t do it,” a voice behind me said.
I turned to see a general contractor friend of ours. He warned me that I wouldn’t be happy with the end results for long, as he had never seen one that lasted more than a few years. I listened, and my brain heard, “It’ll last a few years — and then perhaps you will have had time to figure out how to encourage your husband to help you install a new one.”
A half-baked idea is OK — as long as it’s still cooking in the oven. But I pulled that idea right out and bought it. Within days, I had a lovely white tub — which lasted almost a year. Then came the “peel and plug” stage, which left us with the only thing uglier than a Pepto-Bismol tub — a Pepto-Bismol tub with a little milk of magnesia thrown in! It was a great example of a bad idea.
My mind contains many good ideas — but sometimes my brain forgets to tell me which is which when it squeezes them out. My 1-year-old enjoys sitting in front of steering wheels pretending to drive. He’ll pull the key out and put it back in, push and pull every light and button, until the windshield wipers are going crazy, the hazard lights are flashing and the radio is blaring some horrible station.
One evening while waiting to load a hay truck, he was playing in the front seat of my Jeep. In the dark, with the top down, I could imagine the keys being thrown outside and lost into the sea of goat heads. I figured they would be safer with me. The risk I took was calculated — but, boy, I must be bad at math! My Jeep sat in that same location for nearly two weeks before we finally found the keys — the keys that I had so carefully taken away so the baby didn’t lose them.
You are always one decision away from a different life. It’s amazing how even the smallest of decisions can change your life. When my oldest son was learning how to talk, he said “Daddee” for almost a year before he said “Momma.” I told my husband it was my turn this time to be first. And you know? The worse you want something, the worse you get it. I said every variation of mommy imaginable to my littlest son. And then one day he said it “maMA.” I clapped in delight, he’d said “Momma” before “Daddy.” He pointed at his thermos, then at me and said, “maMA.” It was a beautiful moment. Then he pointed at his snacks, and later his toys, each time saying the glorious word “maMA.” That was in the morning.
By that evening, it was “maMA, maMA,” getting louder each time if he thought I didn’t jump fast enough.
By the end of the week, he was relishing his own personal assistant, and I was begging him to say “Daddy.” They say everything happens for a reason — but sometimes that reason is that you are stupid and make bad decisions.
Brianna Walker occasionally writes about the Farmer’s Fate for the Blue Mountain Eagle.