It was the afternoon of New Year’s Eve when I discovered my arch nemesis.

My wife’s new robot vacuum was scuttling about our kitchen, hitting walls and appliances at will, and plotting how to take over the world from our Canadian prairie suburb. 

Meanwhile, I was in full-on vacation mode, lounging on our couch killing time thumbing through my social media news feeds. My Facebook friends and groups were doing a lousy job of keeping me entertained. (Cue Russell Crowe.

Facing this unrelenting boredom, I decided to tidy up our living room and kitchen from the Christmas disaster they were still in. At the very least, we could ring in the new year with a tidy house. Well, a tidy upstairs.

As I tidied the space, I contemplated the state of our kitchen table. Sure, it was “surface clean.” But, the sides had greasy kid fingerprints on them. The legs still had splatters of who knows what that we hadn’t bothered to wipe off. And the surface, while clean, could use a really good scrub.

On a whim — nothing good ever comes from a whim — I pulled out the extra strength cleaner. You know, the good stuff. It smelled like chlorine, I think. It was rich and my eyes were already watering.

Rubbing the tears away, I got to work. I laid into that six foot by three foot slab of rectangle wood. Elbow grease would be abundantly applied along with the world’s most odour-ific cleaner.

I started on the sides and the legs. My green scrubber was working well, tearing through the kids’ greasy fingerprints and clearing the unidentifiable food splatters. Then I moved to the surface.

That surface. Oh, that beautiful, glossy, darkwood surface.

I never thought I’d have an arch nemesis. But, on this day, my Joker, my Lex Luthor, my Professor Moriarty made its first appearance.

Paint. Paint!

More specifically, months old paint dots that I had never noticed before.

These microscopic specs of blue, white, and red paint were so colourful I should probably be certified as blind for missing them. (For more on my clear lack of observation skills, read The Van Gogh Visit.) However, now that my eyes were opened, it became my life’s mission to remove them.

To sum it up quickly for you: I failed.

There wasn’t enough of the smelliest cleaner in the world, scrubber pads, elbow grease, or good ol’ fashioned yelling at them that could remove them.

There wasn’t enough of the smelliest cleaner in the world, scrubber pads, elbow grease, or good ol’ fashioned yelling at them that could remove them. In fact, they’re brighter now than they were before I started.

To this day, they are still there, mocking me mercilessly as I slurp the last milk from my cereal in the morning. They’re there again when I chomp down the last bites of my salmon picatta in the evening. 

Such is life when you’re married to an artist, especially when that artist uses the kitchen for her business. 

Que sera. If my arch nemesis is going to be paint, then bring it on!

Read It Again