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Painting Indian Names

September 23, 2009
Traer Star-Clipper

My husband and I found ourselves painting a number of rooms last weekend. We saw a side of each other we never knew existed. Paint fumes can do peculiar things to people.

Painting in general is not what we're best at, but both of us have a creative streak that urges us to want to make our surroundings more beautiful. Well, I want to make it more beautiful. My husband wants to make it "Not too girly." He thinks that if the decision was up to me, I'd paint everything pink with a couple of unicorns sporting sparkling horns and dancing on a huge rainbow, You have to admit, though, that would be more beautiful.

However, I've learned to work with his less than stellar taste, so we tried to stick with neutral colors that would match anything we put in the room. We ended up with what was available on the discount shelf at our local home improvement store. Many people might think that doing that is going just a bit too cheap, but it saved us the trouble of trying to agree on one of the bazillions of colors available. I had no idea that there were so many shades of beige.

Plus, we can never come to an agreement on the type of paint we should use: flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, gloss, enamel, latex, water-based or oil-based; or even what brand was the best one. For us, it was much easier to let the discount shelf make our decisions for us.

Okay, you still dont think we should use discounted paint? Have you ever seen a room painted by two angry people? Trust me, it's not pretty.

After that major decision was made, things went pretty smooth. Looking back now, when the haze of paint fumes has lifted, I can see that we got kind of punch-drunk. We didnt know it at the time, though. It seemed perfectly reasonable to go into a giggling fit when my husband asked if, while I was painting door trim, I had "got the window one done too?"

I thought it was just hilarious because it sounded like a Native American name - Windowandantu. From that point on my name became Windowandantu, which, Im sure in some Native American language means, "You missed a spot."

It wasn't long before we started trying to use our paint-addled brains to come up with a name for my husband. At one point, I held a long-handled roller while painting the top part of a wall. My husband was sitting on the floor directly under my roller painting the baseboard with his paint brush. There were several rooms to paint; don't ask me why we chose to work in the same room on the same piece of wall. I can only assume the answer had something to do with paint fumes.

He happened to look up to say, "Windowandantu, you missed a spot" just as a huge glob of paint dropped from my roller and hit him right between his mouth and his nose. The word "spot" came out just before he said "Tooie!" to clear the paint from his opened mouth and then he added a sharp exhale from his nose to clear paint from his nostrils. What I heard was: "Spottooie-mpph!"

We both erupted into full-blown, belly-rolling laughter because not only did he look funny with a glob of paint for a mustache, but we realized at the same time that this would be his new Native American name: "Spottooie-mpph!" which probably means "One who paints with forked tongue," or something like that. It was hilarious to us, but now I realize you probably had to be sniffing paint fumes to really "get" the joke.

It may have been only beige paint we were applying, but that day, with a little help from fumigation therapy, we made our own rainbow.

Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at Or visit her website for more info.



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