Then I found myself painted into a corner

June 06, 2017

I LOVE it when my parents come to visit.

My house gets cleaned, my fridge stocked, my car filled and my garden maintained.

And all those things I never seem to get around to doing get done.

It’s wonderful.

But it’s never really a holiday for my poor Dad.

When my parents arrived from Queensland last week, I gave daddy dear a list of about 15 things that needed fixing or doing around the house.

But he wouldn’t have it any other way.

He is a man who likes to keep busy.

And, as I see it, the work he does for me is payment for all the years of hard labour he forced upon us as children.

When we lived in Mount Isa, he had several investment properties.

And rather than pay for a contractor to come and paint or clean the property, he would make me and my sisters do it.

I would have breezed through a painting apprenticeship, I painted so many houses.

One of them was our own newly built home.

I remember this one Saturday when I was about 18 — forced to paint all the skirting boards in the house — falling asleep with paintbrush in hand, hungover as hell from a big party the night before.

Wanting to show off the new house and his exceptionally hard-working children to some of his business associates, my Dad walks in with them to find me passed out on the floor.

He must have said something to appease them because we didn’t get any visits from child welfare.

I also remember the soul-destroying job of oiling the timber lattice around the verandah.

We had to get in every nook and cranny and if it wasn’t done to my Dad’s standard, we would have to do it again.

I hated it with a passion.

My Dad used to say ‘hard work builds character’ and ‘it’s better to earn things as it makes you appreciate them more’.

‘‘You’ll thank me one day,’’ he would say.

And yes, doing things myself has made me appreciate it more ... mostly.

It has also made me hate lattice with a passion because I know how much work has to go into it every six months.

So, just to thank daddy for all the lessons he taught me when I was a kid, I may have let the weeds go a little crazy in the backyard.

But, I’m sure he’ll thank me one day.

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