07 May 2012

Music and Menial Tasks: A Recipe for Sore Ears and Teeth Grinding

My family is back to their weekly grind.  And I AM HAPPY.  I'll explain.

For the past three days most of my time has been occupied with a project I decided to take on in kind of a last minute decision:  the painting of bathrooms.  Jay carefully asked what made me choose to do the bathrooms (he knows he has to tread lightly when I suddenly jump into unexpected projects) and I haughtily answered that I had been wanting to do this for a long time.  That's half-way the truth.  Fact is, I'm just putting off the task of painting our bedroom, which I know is going to be a nightmare the minute I begin.  Moving heavy furniture, repairing cracks in walls, painting a peaked ceiling.  Yeah...bathrooms were the way to begin, as a means of putting off what is looming ahead, just waiting for me, ready to attack.  And now this whole damned bathroom deal is taking longer than I expected because I am covering navy blue walls with pale aqua.  I just finished my third coat of paint minutes ago.  And it's still not done.  Jeezum Crow, to quote a certain friend.

So all of this painting can be tedious and down-right mind numbing.  Thankfully there are iPods.  Music makes everything better.  Now here's the rub:  I can't help but sing when moved by awesome music.  That wouldn't be a problem, if I wasn't as tone deaf as a rock (don't know if that's a real simile, but it works). 

I always thought I had a semi-decent voice.  I was in my middle school chorus and even made it into a special singing group one year (some people reading this will remember Swing Sixteen).  Now I'm beginning to think the chorus director just felt sorry for me and couldn't say no.  That, or there weren't enough people joining, so she couldn't be choosy.  A few years back, I did come across a cassette tape made of me singing "Mack the Knife" one night during karaoke at a bar, sometime when I was in college.  I played it back, but there was only some high-pitched whining that sounded like somebody had put a mosquito up to the microphone.  That couldn't possibly have been my voice.  Not to be disheartened by what I was hearing, I chalked it up to collegiate over-imbibing.

Fortunately my family likes to tell it like it is.  Jay and our kids have no problem telling me what an awful singer I am.  I accept their reviews of my performances graciously (maybe) and try to be as mute as possible, even when moved by certain songs while listening to my iPod.  Sometimes I can't help myself, though.  I have been known to mindlessly bleat out some inhuman sounds at the gym, only to get startled looks from those around me.  I just pretend it wasn't me. 

But today was different.  Everybody was gone, either to school or work.  Paint and brushes out once again, I set to work painting and had my sound up full-blast.  And at the top of my lungs I belted out every single song I listened to, because I could.  Nobody to complain, nobody to give me withering looks of pity, except for the dogs.  The windows are open, so I feel bad for the neighbors within listening distance, and I'm sure Charlie-the-Jiggy-Eyed-Dog got back some of his.
Weapons of phonic destruction:  paint brush and iPod.
And now I feel so good, just letting go of it all, that I'm beginning to think, who cares if anyone is around to hear my caterwauling?  There could be worse things to have to deal with.  Like a cranky wife/mother.  Do you suffer from the same vocal shortcomings as I?  Sing anyway.  You can call it performance art.  Try it.  You'll like it.


  1. Hee. I remember us singing at your birthday bash. I think I have the photographic evidence. ;-) Or was it a Christmas party?

    Keep singing girlfriend.

    1. I know that picture! You, me, and Sue and I do believe we were singing "Caught Stealing," no? Love that pic!