Otho, R. Lee Emery, and me.

My wife is Otho from Beetlejuice.

We’re renting (you don’t buy in a wildly rising seller’s market) and the house, while lovely, is…blah. Four days after we were approved she asked me to contact the leasing agent and ask if we could paint. The response was yes, and the owners would reimburse for materials.

From there it took 1.73 zeptoseconds for her to have paint sample splotches on every goddamn wall, wallpaper chaff all over both floors, spackle and sandpaper (my job) in every room, and sure enough my quiet Saturday turned into a R. Lee Emery pantomimed paintfest in the den.

“Where’s the dropcloth you maggot! I’ll rip your head off and shit down your neck!”

She is the steady-handed trim queen, and I am The Man of Tape Chi. We’re pretty good at this.

In a kind of record, we stripped the room of everything, crammed the sofa, vintage stereo and record collection into the center, taped the shit out of anything remotely close to where a brush or roller would be, threw paint on the wall in an orgasmic flurry of color, and from 3:00 to 6:45 completely finished, including putting everything back where it came from, even the cover plates on the light switches.

Today I am hiding in the basement. She’s up there, I know it. She’s planning to paint something.

Years ago we had a house in Charlotte, North Carolina. New build, pretty, big, planned, shitty neighbors. We went out one day, all dressed up for whatever, and on the way home stopped by Home Depot to get some Pine Needle Green satin for the kitchen.

We got home. I set my keys down. I took my shoes off. I looked up, and there she was.

She already had a roller in her hand, and was rolling paint on a wall. She still had her coat on; her goddamn purse was still on her shoulder. She’s happily rolling Pine Needle Green paint on the wall, dressed for an afternoon luncheon. She’d opened the can, poured it in the rolling tray, popped a clean roller on the roller…thingie, and was painting. The entire world winds down, everyone else is moving in special effects slow-mo, and she’s slathering paint on the walls in a skirt and sensible deerskin loafers at lightspeed.

She was smiling. Maybe it’s a nesting thing.

There’s a scene in Beetlejuice where Otho – an interior designer  – is planning to capture some ghosts. Jeffrey Jones’ character says “what are you going to do, Otho? Viciously rearrange their environment?”

Yeah. That’s my wife. Guerilla Decorator.