The Wide Angle: Taking on things that are probably beyond me

Published 6:05 am Saturday, June 29, 2019

The other day, I stopped into the Austin ArtWorks Center and spent some time talking with Kelsey Ritchie and Belita Schindler.

I like days where mornings start like this. Friendly conversation with friendly people. So it comes with no small amount of disappointment that if I follow through with my threat to tear up our living room carpet at home and redo the floors on my own, it’s entirely their fault.

Well, okay, so it’s not entirely their fault, but both Kelsey and Belita will share a certain amount of responsibility, and by this I mean they have entirely too much faith in my abilities to get anything done with tools that require any kind of electricity whatsoever.

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This isn’t a garden where nature does half the work and I do the other half, which entails not letting the garden die and eating things. Both, it should be said, I do fairly well as evidenced by my lofty experience and success of one and a half years of gardening.

Some background. The would-be experience is simply this: tear up the grayish-white carpet we have now to get at and refinish the nifty wood flooring beneath. The flooring in the bedroom is sans carpet and both myself and my girlfriend really like it.

FYI, whether or not she has the faith required to completely let me do this remains to be seen, though it can be argued that her tolerance for my graceful weaving of swear words over the years is truly remarkable, so there is more of a chance than there would have been years ago.

At that time, she would have had a fairly high amount of skepticism and rightfully so.

Our living room isn’t real big, about 25 feet long by about 10 feet wide as I eyeball it, which means it’s probably more or less than my estimation because I’m a terrible estimator.

So the amount of space I have to work isn’t that overwhelming, but still holds a certain amount of potential frustration, namely the entertainment system and furniture.

Frankly, I’m not entirely sure what I will be doing with either. Testament to my less than stellar estimation skills is our new sectional. In the store’s showroom it was big, but I didn’t think it was overwhelmingly big.

Now we have half a living room, not counting the entertainment system that swallows up a corner and leaves us with a maze of things to navigate should we need something anywhere else in the house. Add in a couple cats and it has the potential to turn into a … cat-astrophe.


I honestly can’t wait until our reporter Michael Stoll reads this section when proofing the page.

Moving on.

So supposing I find a place for these things, what that leaves is the job itself, which cycles back around to the possibly mis-guided faith Kelsey and Belita have in me.

Of course Belita doesn’t think it will be that hard. She’s got a career of interior design to back her confidence, where as I don’t remember the last time we rearranged the living room and I’m not entirely sure I have the confidence to do that now.

Kelsey said she had faith in me, but honestly a part of me looked into her eyes and I swear she had a bemused thought or two racing about in regard to how this might turn out. I kind of think she will be pulling up a chair to watch.


Maybe Kelsey knows me better than she lets on. It’s not like I’m all that mysterious.

Still there’s all sorts of serious potential for this to go sideways. It doesn’t take much for me to take something fairly simple and turn it into a trainwreck.

It’s part of the reason why I don’t do puzzles anymore — or ever, actually.

Still, I’m getting more and more sold on this project, if for no other reason then I guess I’ll have plenty of other columns to write in the future.

I’ll be sure to take pictures.