How To Not Paint A Room – by Becky Crenshaw

Some things must be learned the hard way.

Painting should never be one of them.

However, more often than not, I make every mistake humanly possible surrounding this chore.

When my husband goes out-of-town, he must take every iota of my sanity with him.  You see, I get the grand idea that I am Superwoman and can do lofty projects.  Big projects.  Endeavors that shouldn’t be done apart from the presence of Mr. Crenshaw.

Or at least another adult. {Not a mommy left alone with three small children.}

Yet my intentions are pure...Why waste a valuable family night painting, when instead we could be sharing quality family time elsewhere?

And plus, Jesus was a carpenter.  Surely these gifts are in me somewhere!

But my theory is faulty.

Tuesday afternoon, I should have known that my project of painting the boys’ room was going South.  After gracing the drive-thru window of McDonald’s, I lugged three crying boys into Home Depot. They were each devastated over their McChicken sandwiches having globs of mayo and lettuce (or something like it).  I also had sweet Ethel, my 92-year-old mamaw, who meanders on her own time-table. Irregardless, I darted my way to the paint counter.  I set my purse and four-year-old on the metal paint counter to search for the “Manchester Tan” sample…the sample of paint that was taped to the boys’ bunk bed for two months.  The paint sample I later stashed in my purse for weeks because “I was going to Home Depot that day.”

Manchester Tan!  I dug and dug. But it wasn’t there.  Anywhere.  Flustered, I shoved my Cover Girl gloss, wallet, gum wrappers and receipts all back into my purse and walked to the color sample collection. I had stared at this sample for months, surely I would recognize its grayish-tan hues and muted tone.  Surely.

So I snatched the color which “best matched” the tan in my memory and took it to the bearded man behind the counter.

Ten minutes, a gallon of paint, a few brushes and $62 dollars later, I led Ethel and my frustrated, McChicken Littles back to the van. Still hungry and broken over the 4 tablespoons of mayo.

Determined, I headed back to my house where I bribed the boys with Power Rangers and chocolate, hoping they would sit still long enough to let me paint.

But the cracking of a paint can can’t be resisted by a nine-year-old boy.  After thirty minutes of begging me, I gave in.  Making him swear the painters oath to NOT let any paint drop on the carpet, nor would he ever earn the right to dip his own roller.


I couldn’t wait to get the first swipe of color on the wall.  I poured a glob into my 9″ pan and gave it a roll.  Covering a long piece of the existing, dark navy wall.

Umm. OK.

So it wasn’t quite the “Manchester Tan” that I envisioned or remembered.  A bit darker. And orangey.

But the walls were blue underneath and wet paint deceives.  I was betting once it dried it would liken more to the sample. Right?

Four hours, several spills of paint and zero patience later, the room was complete.

There was nothing muted or grayish about it.

I never read the actual name of paint I purchased, but I am betting “1990’s Sunless Tanner” would have been an option. Every hue of orange in that room was pulled to the surface. I forgot to mention I bought the wrong sheen, too. Yep. Semi-gloss. Ugh.

Let me say, there is nothing worse than shiny 1990’s Sunless Tanner. (Benjamin Moore is rolling in his grave.)

Yesterday morning I woke, determined to love it in the morning light.   Maybe I was delusional the night before.  I painted ’til dark and was tired.  Maybe it was the lamp.


As new as God’s mercies are everyday – I still went back to Home Depot…

To buy “Manchester Tan.”

{I won’t tell you the sample was in the van the entire time. I’ll leave that part out.}

Practically in tears I called a few friends, confessing my painter’s ignorance and pleading their help.

I offered pizza, money, acreage, children, anything… and finally got a taker.

Katie – Sweet Katie.


Expecting history to repeat itself, I was prepared to spend the next several hours in that bedroom. We cracked the paint and went at it again. Each strike covering my $62 dollar mistake.

Katie was savvy and quick.  Working that roller like a professional. I was up on a ladder cutting in trim.  What a team we were!

Team Manchester Tan.

I had no idea painting could be so much fun … and redemptive.

Painting flies by when you aren’t barking at a nine-year-old. But instead we talked family and Jesus and swapped life stories.  That sweet thing.  I just adore her. The Lord blessed me so much by her selfless act of service.  All the while, He was redeeming my shiny fake-bake room.

And before I knew it…Done.

An HOUR and A HALF LATER!  Done.

Praise Jesus,  Hallelujah. DONE DONE DONE!

So what did I learn? {ahem…}

1. Don’t take three boys and a Mamaw to Home Depot when buying paint. Go alone.

2. Never EVER think you remember a paint color.  You don’t.

3.  Quality time with a nine-year-old little boy should never involve paint brushes. Unless the box reads “washable”.

4.  Semi-gloss is meant for base boards. Period.

5. Painting is better with a friend. Especially when her name is Katie.

6.  Everything is redeemable. Paint included.

7.  All sandwiches come with condiments on them at McDonald’s. Request plain.

8.  Sunless Tanner has come a long way.  But still it should never grace a bedroom wall.

9.  Brent shouldn’t leave me alone for long. I get into trouble.

10.  Don’t be too proud to ask for help.  I am not Superwoman.


Two people are better than one because they have good reward for their toil.  For if they fall one will lift up his fellow. Ecclesiastes 4:9

Thank you, Katie!  I never thought painting the boys’ room would teach me so much. Thank you for being the hands of feet of Jesus…

4 thoughts on “How To Not Paint A Room – by Becky Crenshaw

  1. You are hilarious! Bless your heart- I read this out loud to Rawls- he loved it too. We can all learn from those lessons!

  2. Oh my – I can relate. Whenever Chris travels, I think I can do projects. When will I learn? And let’s see if I can remember how many times I have carried paint samples around for wks, only to pick a day when I have all 3 (grouchy, wild, unsettled, hungry – pick a word) kiddos to finally go to the hardware store. Can I ever find the paint sample? No. Never. Can’t say that I’ve chosen another color on the spot because I’ve repainted rooms so many times from colors that I HAVE chosen and have rejected, that I think I have finally learned my lesson. Semi-gloss? Come look at my bedroom that is a beautiful shade of shiny hospital room blue. Help from a young one? The bottom half of my dining room* (which I swore I could paint during naptime – 4 weeks ago – and has been trimmed out during 3 -30 minute increments of napping) now has smiley faces painted on it. (Chris finally gave Seth a roller and I gave him a bowl of water. He seems content for the time being.) Maybe I’ll get the dining room finished by the end of the year.

  3. Pingback: A Week In Instagram | Becky Crenshaw

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