Saturday, January 19, 2008

Reaching Out, Painting, Etc.

Hi People!

Sorry, I got sick and then I got swamped, so, whoops, no post. However, I have had a few thoughts brewing, so get ready.

While sick, I finally got the chance to read my magazines and found a really neat article in Cooking Light about something called Dinner Day, started in Pennsylvania after September 11, 2001. The creator, Jeff Smith, wanted to figure out a way to keep the spirit of community that the aftermath of September 11 sparked. He realized he didn't know his own neighbors very well except to wave hello, so his family decided to invite them over for dinner. In the words of the site:

"Invite Your Neighbor to Dinner Day was born from the desire to develop a task that every American could easily accomplish. For one day out of the year, neighbors invite other not-so-familiar neighbors to have dinner with them, and eventually, friendships are formed to increase the strength of our communities. It seems simple, yet remarkably profound. These small gestures can directly influence individuals to make a difference in their own lives, while improving communities, and initiating a ripple of trust across the nation."

Smith's son worked on sending a resolution to the Pennsylvania legislature to make it a state holiday; the resolution went through in 2002, and now the second January of every year Pennsylvanians celebrate (Invite your Neighbor to) Dinner Day. I like that it encourages people to invite those they don't really know well in order to foster relationships and begin friendships; it brings everyone a little closer together.

I thought this sounded like a fabulous idea. The concept also states that "neighbor" can mean the person who lives down the street, a co-worker, you name it, as long as it's someone you don't know really well. While it may seem awkward at first, simply explaining the concept tends to break the ice. I'm seriously thinking about doing it--obviously the official day has passed, but I just like the idea of fellowship this holiday inspires. It also makes me think about our little blog community we've fostered: I feel as though I know so many of you better just because you let me read about your lives, see your pictures, and share your thoughts with me both on my blog and your own. I worry sometimes that the cyber world actually allows people to stay in their homes and not communicate through human contact as much, but somehow I find my blog and many of the others out there exceptions. I suppose we have to find a happy medium, and I think we all do.
However (watch how smoothly I transition, if I do say so myself), I don't think we can have anyone over right now because we're painting several rooms in the house and it looks like hell. We've shoved all extra appliances and wall hangings into the living room and the dining room while we prepare and paint the kitchen, front and back hallways, front stairwell, and T's "man room". His cousin (of the same name, named after the same grandfather) has generously volunteered his time and expertise for a lot less than the $1800 estimate another painter gave us. For three rooms and a hallway? How does this guy stay in business? It seemed a little steep, so we called up Cousin T, who paints both as an artist and a housepainter. He also sculpts; we have generously volunteered to babysit any sculptures he needs to move for a while. :-)

Anyway, I do have stage-by-stage pictures but right now the memory chip converter is on a shelf in the middle of T's room with all the other furniture, covered by plastic. Have any of you painted interior rooms? Well, I know Toddler Tamer just did--and T wants a similar color red, so we'll prepare for multiple coats, as I believe you did. Wait until you see what the paint goes over. In T's den, I see where the expression "tighter than wallpaper" comes from: The wallpaper's on there so well we didn't even bother to get it off. With us working all weekend, we could potentially finish on Monday (I have the day off, so Cousin T and I can finish up), and with the help of Benjamin Moore and the good people at Lowe's, I will hopefully have great before and after shots to share!

Question: Does anyone know how many shades of green and blue exist? And who thinks up the names for these colors? I'll list some of our new favorites (names, not colors): American Cheese, Nacho Cheese, LaFonda Fireberry, Desolate,
Bunny nose Pink, Cadaver, that's one a friend made up--but it wouldn't surprise me. Who wants to stay in a room painted "Desolate"? Good grief. Give me that job--I'll have fun. We came up with Jaundice, Insane Asylum Green, Hangover Red (think of your eyes), and--sorry, I had to add it--Testicle Peach. I think the primer fumes may have influenced us. Oh, hey A--we're painting our kitchen Colorado Gray! It has some blue to it, so it'll look nice with our white appliances. We're getting new lay-'em-yourself floor tiles, too, because the hideous green-brown ones simply will not do.

So I'll get the pictures up as soon as possible to show you all the progress of our first big home improvement. Enjoy the weekend!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

As someone who is always highly suspicious of technology and who definitely mourns the loss of personal connection, I will be the first to admit that it allows a new kind of closeness with far away friends and family members (blogs, online photo sharing, etc.) that I'm very very grateful for.

Also - I could never paint something in my house "American Cheese" or "Nacho Cheese" based purely on principle :)