Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Painting myself into a corner

There are a lot of vices women are encouraged to give up when they're pregnant: drugs, smoking, drinking, caffeine and junk food, to name a few.

For me, none of these were really a problem. I don't do drugs. I don't smoke. I rarely drink -- not enough to really miss it. I only like soda with pizza and Chinese takeout and, even then, prefer the caffeine-free variety. And junk food has and always will be a rare treat in my diet.

But there is one thing that I'm having a hard time giving up: painting.

I loved, loved, LOVED painting our house all last summer. I've always been a creative type and nothing suits my anal-retentive tendencies better than paying close attention to detail on a project. Painting is both of those things combined, plus I love the thrill of making a space more beautiful. It is an activity with a million pluses: it takes very little effort, is good exercise, not too expensive and makes a big impact.

Sure, women are "advised" not to paint because of the toxic fumes, so instead of painting inside, I looked to a more well-ventilated area to do my creative work this summer -- outside. I had planned to paint every square inch of our chain link fence black.

We had been told by our neighbors that the former owner painted it forest green two summers ago to hide a few rust spots. Sure, it took him three months, they said, but he used a tiny paintbrush. I planned to use a roller for the main fence and a brush for the poles and hardware.

Jerry freaked and accused me of trying to sabotage our baby. Plus, he assumed I'd get tired and force him to do it.

First of all, painting never gets old for me. I don't WANT help. Not only is it fun, but I am also so much of a perfectionist that I am under the assumption, no matter how false, that I can do it better than anyone else. Jerry is good at a lot of things, but paying close attention to detail is not his forte. He is my roller man. When we team up, I do the trim and he fills in the big spaces. It's a perfect match.

Second of all, how horrible can wielding a small paintbrush be IN THE OPEN ATMOSPHERE? Before I knew I was pregnant the first time, I had painted our vanity. Our windowless, fanless vanity. Of course I expressed my concern to every doctor, nurse and receptionist at my OBGYN who would listen, and all had the same answer: "Don't worry about it."

And what about interior designers? Even Lori on "Trading Spaces," (you know, back when the show didn't suck), got pregnant and painted almost every day for a living. And I'm sure her baby wasn't a mongoloid.

I had made up my mind that I was going to do it despite the friction it was causing between Jerry and me. I knew I would prove him wrong. I wouldn't ask for help because I wouldn't need it. It wouldn't take me three months because I'd use more functional tools. And I'd even wear a stupid face mask if it would make him feel more comfortable.

Then my mom came to visit and, of course, sided with him, giving Jerry all the validation he needed to put his foot down. So now my fun is ruined for the summer. My painting project fun. I'll just sit in a corner and put my thumb up my ass. A corner with dry non-lead-based paint.

To top it off, I had already conceded that I wouldn't help paint the baby's room. Despite the fact that the room has two gigantic windows and a ceiling fan, it's inside. Fumes. I get it. Here's me backing off. Voluntarily. Mark the calendar.

Realistically, I know it's probably not the best thing in the world to paint an outdoor fence while pregnant, but I'm convinced that all the happy endorphins my brain would release throughout the project would far outweigh any negative side effects.

And for my final argument?



adifferentkindofbeautiful said...


Agh I'm never going to forget to check here again... that is awesome. I'm so happy for you Kelly :)

Anonymous said...

I'm on your side. People freak way too much!

Anonymous said...

Remember, mom's are always right!!


julie said...

With all the restrictions that are imposed on pregnant women these days you'd think it was an absolute miracle the species ever survived into the current era.

You're probably going to get more toxic fumes sitting in rush hour traffic than you would painting a fence, outside, in the open air.

I side with you, but then, I don't have to listen to Jerry or your mom.

Heidi said...

I completely and wholeheartedly agree with Julie. It is SOOO hard to be pregnant! "Don't do this, don't do that." I work in a hospital, in a sick, infectious environment, walking, lifting, working with cytotoxic drugs. And you know what? It's been done for years by many other women who have had perfectly healthy babies. Caffeine? Bah.... Junk food? The only thing I could keep down for the first two months was bagels, pop tarts, McDonald's fries, and regular chips. I say moderation to everything, including caffeine. Let's be realistic. With all the restrictions out there, it's amazing we can do or eat anything at all! Arrrghhh...it makes being pregnant so hard, and makes the pregnant woman feel so guilty for everything! I ate bacon yesterday for the first time this whole pregnancy...and I feel guilty that I may have damaged my child!!! I could go on and on about this topic....

Lioncloud said...

The moms who bore us baby boomers drank, smoked, and ate grilled spam sandwiches and lime-jello-cottage- cheese-surprise. And here we all are in spite of it.

The only think I refused to do when pregnant was change the cat litter, but that's not an issue for you.


Tiger Babble said...

Oh you go for it!

I enjoy painting too and it's killing me not to be able to pain my living room this spring. I was really looking forward to it too... And since we are currently in an apartment, I can't paint outside so I have resorted to gardening. And I have the black thumb of death when it comes to plants....

I agree with Julie. There are probably more toxins floating around that are more harmful to the baby than paint fumes that you won't even have a chance to inhale outside.

And if you are really concerned, you could always wear a dust mask. Attractive!

I don't think it's a problem though. Painting is fun! I love doing around windows... the hard part!!! ;-)

Heidi said...

PS: The paints nowadays are pretty mild!!

PSS: I don't know how you feel about memes, hopefully good, because I've tagged you! Check out my blog!

Jennifer said...

There does seem to be a million things you can't do while pregnant and it really sucks. I think its almost cruel that we aren't allowed to help paint the baby's nursery. But, better safe than sorry I suppose.

Sure our parents and the generations before them didn't live by all the rules we have to live by, and yes, we turned out fine. BUT you have to remember that the rates of healthy children weren't as high then as they are today, so there is some sense in the madness.

www.xanga.com/nothingbeast said...

I really have to agree with George Carlin when he rails against all the safeguards we put ourselves and our kids through.

Overcooking our food.

Compulsively washing our hands.

Germ-proofing everything we touch.

Taking multivitamines instead of eating meat.

I don't do any of this stuff, and I barely get sick.


Because every person has a great immune system, but it needs practice.

So I give it little bugs, and viruses to train on.

Then when some supervirus comes through and turns everyone's insides into liquid shit, I'll finally have some peace and quiet and all the gas will be mine to do some major cruisin' with my iPod Shuffle.

paint'in, not peyton plainsman said...

The Painting Issue: I pretty much agree with you, but it really all depends on what type of paint you are using too: Paint is not just paint. To this non-expert, the water based/latex-type paints should pose no real problems, but I would hesitate a bit on the solvent based type paints that you might paint a metal fence with. And some of the hazzard here is not from breathing it, it is also what is absorbed into you skin. Still, it is not like you were doing it as a six day a week occupation. So it might not be all bad to get some of those endorphins working!

I might hesitate on using any Rustoleum, though, unless you want a red-headed baby! LOL

An in your last post, loved the pic of Toby helping Jerry plant that saw grass. Seal grass. Sea Grass! And a nice simple, classic dress, definately not a candidate for the bridesmaid's dress designer's hall of shame!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure some of their hesistance has to come from remembering the heartbreak before...

Leslie said...

I love painting too! It's fun. :)

I hope you find something to cure your boredom. Puzzles perhaps? Yoga? Trashy novels?

Ray said...

Hahaha you are too funny! But they are doing this to you because they care. And I love that line, " I'll just sit in a corner and put my thumb up my ass." It'll always be a classic. ;o)

Take care, Kelly.

Chelsea said...

I think you'll be fine! I mean you could always have fans outside while painting!

Kristin said...

I'm totally on your side.
People need to stop freaking out.
It's outside, for christ's sake, lol.


Asya Robinson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Asya Robinson said...

Tori Spelling helped paint the outside of the inn. There is no proof the child doesn't have 3 eyeballs but it was just a thought.

Congrats again to you, Jerry and Toby!

Marina said...

Yes, women of the past did all that stuff and we're still here, but who knows how we would've been if they hadn't? We could've all been a generation of superheroes. And now, all coz our past mothers just had to paint fences and smoke weed, I will never be able to read minds or fly. Alas. ;)

natalie said...

from your post this past weekend. i already told you, but i'll tell you again--i think it's a little boy--yay!! can't wait to find out in a few weeks.
also, it looks like you got some shade-lovin' impatiens (the white flowers in the pots)...i have a horticulture degree--plants are the one thing i know. hehe!

Janice said...

Paint on, Kelly! Paint on!