and now a word from our sponsor (my husband mike)

There’s almost nothing more annoying than people who are a little older than the median age complaining about using computers or social media. They sound a bit like Grandpa Simpson (“I’m coooold!”) and the joke has grown stale.

So of course, let me add to it, as I was born when Dwight David Eisenhower was still president. Don’t remember him much.

Facebook was a big climb up the ladder for me, and I’ve learned to enjoy it, and that was the extent of my Internets experience until Linda asked me to write something occasionally for “It All Started With Paint.” As her followers know, she works on it a lot, and well. I’d like to think she asked me to contribute because I’m a brilliant writer, but I know in my heart of hearts it’s because sometimes she’d sometimes rather just sit and watch the television machine. Understood.

Then last week many of us at work were assigned to use social media to communicate messages about an event we were hosting. I think it all worked well. I say “I think,” because I sent out stuff and I have no idea if anyone caught any of it. I used Twitter! Heady stuff!

But the funny part was that the organizers of this exercise made it seem like we would be locked away in a room all day, sequestered if you will, until we did our job. Bring all your stuff! It was as if we were going up into the mountains for months or were headed into the Biosphere, cut off from all other civilization. I was ten steps from my regular office and the men’s room. The room wasn’t even locked! We could come and go as we pleased and we did.

So I brought pictures of my kids into the room in case I never returned and in the future someone could see who I was and who I loved. I include a photo of my little work station, and no, those are not my long eyelashes. Really.

MSB Command Center (2)

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P.S. Don’t forget about the pillow link party tomorrow. We go live at 6 AM CST …

it all started with paint


  1. Mike–you are the man! (Only because you are at least as old as I!) I am trying to be better about Twitter, but as my laptop slowly dies…it’s becoming more and more difficult, because it takes 20 minutes to get to twitter, which sorta defeats the purpose.

  2. Mike, You wear the table foot or computer cord on your eye very well.


  3. THose of us who do computers for a living would like to know how far away you were from Dr. Pepper and cheetos ;)

    • Mr. Linda says:

      I work for dairy farmers, so we instead had chocolate milk, yogurt and a cheese tray right there in the room!

  4. I love Mike posts! Keep ‘em coming.

    And I’ll take your little fake eyelashes secret to the grave.

  5. Ha, yes my husband…Mike (and I am a Linda) is my sponsor, too. Only, my Mike doesntnread my blog.

  6. Well i’m glad you made it out alive!!

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it’s a cinch thumbnails

It's An S Cinch 250 thumbnail  its a cinch andreas 250by250 (2) its a cinch Barn_letter2 (2) it's a cinch umbrellawreaththumbnail (2) it's a cinch dry erase thumbnail (2)

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and now a word from our sponsor (my husband mike)

I took a day off of work recently because I woke up early with what I thought was something between a cold and the flu.  Stuffy, achy, lethargic.

 Linda let me sleep, so I got in an extra three hours, which helped immensely, so I think I had something closer to “I was just kind of tired.”  I didn’t relay this insight to the office.

I didn’t completely shake off my work obligations. I set up my laptop in the sunroom – Linda sometimes calls it the “Florida Room,” which makes me smile and it is indeed full of light, except at night, of course – and worked while the television-machine bleated in front of me.

Good Lord, daytime television is depressing. Beyond the grim programming, how many commercials aimed at people who have been injured or who are infirm can one watch?

Do women – it seems they must be the only ones at home between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., according to the advertisers – need that many options for cleaning the various toxic surfaces in their homes?

Can we really believe Grandma or Grandpa would laugh as they twirl in a Hoveround?


So I switched to a safe haven: The news reruns and the home improvement shows on HGTV. I don’t know if all the people who read this blog watch or learn from or even care about HGTV or TLC or other like shows, but they keep me entertained for a time when baseball isn’t on …


… or I’ve seen the “Simpsons” episode too many times or “The Dick Van Dyke Show” is several hours away.

Seriously, I really did work.

And did you know there’s a show about knuckleheads looking for help in renting an apartment?


~ Mike

Sharing at Finding The Funny at My Life With Kids and Kelley’s Break Room


  1. Oh, my gosh, Linda {and Mike}… I loved reading this post!

  2. Some times our entertainment at night comes from ourselves….. thinking about what there will be a show made about next!


  3. Hey! No dissing Canadian shows!!!! I adore HGTV, I used to watch House Hunter episodes over and over but now I find them depressing – either the houses are in such a state of disrepair, they need overhauling or the houses are 1+ million. Where oh where are the normal, average Joe kind of houses?

    Love your posts Mike – did you buy that car yet?!

  4. Mike- Speaking as a woman who is home during the day, that is why the DVR was invented, so we didn’t have to watch mindless drivel. I just record my nighttime shows which I’m too tired to stay up for and watch during the day. You know, while lounging on the couch and popping Bon Bons:)

    My husband works from home and his TV of choice if he isn’t on the phone is either financial news (Bloomberg, CNBC) which is just scintillating!


  5. The term “knuckleheads” is not nearly as well-used as it should be! Yes, that is the main thing I am walking away from this post with. Oh, that and that I really love these Mike posts. :)

  6. Hilarious! Yes, I’ve seen that show where people are looking for an apartment like it’s house hunters! lol!

    I’m your newest linky follower! I found you through the Bob Vila Tidal widget :)


    p.s. you can linky follow back at We’re a DIY blog! :)

  7. this is hilarious. i am thinking maybe i need to watch more daytime tv.

    here from #findingthefunny!

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interview with it all started with paint’s daughter molly jean

What do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be on Broadway.  Or an author.  I can’t decide (she says with a smirk and shrug).  Or I can be both!

Molly's interview 6
What, if anything, do you like about school?
Field trips because on the bus I get to talk to my friends.  It’s like totally the best.

What book are you currently reading?
Permanent Rose.

Molly's interview 5
What are some of your favorite books?
The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and a book called Leap Year.  Oh yeah, Elsewhere too.  (Which also happens to be a favorite of her brother and her mother.)

What are your after school activities?
Volleyball, Track & Field, and guitar.

Molly's interview 4 final
What do you like to do in your free time?
Fight to the death.  Ha ha.  No, read.  And I play Minecraft on the computer because YouTube has gotten boring. 

What room do you want your mom to redecorate next?
My room because I want it to be a nice aquamarine or teal or a nice blue.

Molly's interview
What are some of your favorite things about Chicago?
The city downtown, especially at night.  The skyline is so beautiful.  And it’s so inspiring.  Like when I go downtown I want to be so many things.  A dancer.  An artist …

Molly's interview 3
What do you think about your mom’s blog?
It’s totally dorky.  Ha ha!  No. I think it’s really cool.

Molly's interview 2
What do you think of your mom blogging all the time?
It’s annoying because she just takes pictures of the house.  No people.  Why not just take a picture of the corner and name it Mister Corner (and Molly cracks herself up …)

Molly's interview 1
… so this is probably a good point to say …

The end.

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and now a word from our sponsor, my husband mike

I’ve recently discovered that there are two different kinds of people in the world: One are boys, and the other are girls.

I’m not sure if that sentence is grammatically correct, but I hope it’s eye-opening for those of you who haven’t found this truth through the Encyclopedia Britannica or another trusted source, such as the Internets or life.

What prompted this was the contrast between Linda’s remodeling of our son’s room…and my suggestion that our daughter straighten up her room.

Our son was very calm about the transformation, living through weeks of paint and glue and ladders and clutter and chaos. As long as he had a space to get horizontal for 12 to 16 hours a day, he was comfortable. I think he’d shrug off a typhoon.

Our daughter has the smallest room in the house but – Imagine! – has the messiest. Gently I told her we would spend some time going through her stuff, organizing, tossing, donating. I would be happy to help her, in fact.

“No, Dad, I’ll do it myself,” she said. “I don’t want other people going through my stuff.”

I pulled out that shopworn, “Don’t forget, this is actually my room, and my stuff, ‘cause it’s my house,” and I got a little smile in return.

My heart sank a little as I realized once again that she is no longer eight, but I respected her independence as her bedroom door closed in my face.

It won’t be the last time.



  1. Yikes! and so it begins!!! I remember that age vividly – and the same “discussions” about privacy, too!! (except I was never messy… truly!)

  2. It is so wrong that my 3 year old is doing those thing now. What am I going to do in ten years when she becomes a teenager?

  3. Ok Mike we feel your pain over here… as the mother of 4 girls I’m here to tell you…
    Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid!

  4. LOL, what can I say???? They do change once they start thinking with their own brain…You’re going to have more laughs to come. HAVE A HAPPY EASTER!

  5. That Mike, I tell ‘ya, he’s a funny guy. I think the last thing my husband wants to do is go through any of the girls stuff. He has a hard time too that they are not 8. Or maybe in Mike and his eyes they always will be?


  6. We girls are a real pain. Sorry about that ;)

  7. I wouldn’t know what to do with a girl. Make her take hockey??

  8. Oh yeah how true now I only had girls but I know girls are still a bigger nightmare then boys………….

  9. this is so so true — the bottom line is not the messy room it’s that they begin to grow and grow and even though it is a wonderful thing to watch…the heart hurts a bit though during the transitions but all’s good! wishing your and yours a blessed and wonderful Easter…hugs…

  10. I get that. Big time, Mike. For one, I’m a girl. Two, I’ve got two sons. And one husband.

    So what I really need to know now, Mike, is how you got onto your wife’s laptop and were allowed to log into her blog and type this post?


  11. At least Linda isn’t slamming any doors in your face!!

  12. Mike, this sounds like my daughter. :) She turns 11 this year and it’s as if she decided not to be a “my baby” overnight. Hope you and your family had a wonderful Easter!

  13. Is that a picture from the old Danny Thomas show?…

    Girls just wanna have fun…if young girls agree with their parents…quickly take the temperature, for they are delirious with fever….

  14. Hmmm. Sounds like my house!!

  15. I have a boy and a girl…I think my son will let me pick out his clothes until he leaves for college. My daughter started selecting her own at age 2! Oy.

  16. I have 3 boys and one girl …. Ages 29, 28, 20, 18 … Daughter is kid No. 2. She was the messiest. Clears throat, still is. Line their vehicles up and my daughter, albeit she and hubby have 3 boys has the messiest vehicle. I finally gave up. Hahaha. When they visit, she’s the first to tell her husband and boys, take your shoes off before going in. Mom and Dad are neat freaks.

    On the My House note … My Mom told me that until the day I left. She made it clear, your stay here is temporary, and when you get your own house, you can live any way you want. I was a tad messy. *giggle*

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meg and mums guest post

Not long after my first-ever blog post I received a very sweet comment from the fabulous Meg of Meg and Mums.

And in subsequent email exchanges she let me know of her new blog link party launch.  A furniture party.  And I try to link up as much as I can …

But unlike the fabulous Meg – whom I’ve crowned the Miss Mustard Seed of Australia –  my furniture refinishing skills are, well, lacking …


I just don’t have the wax on/wax off gene. I don’t find the joy in the stripping and the sanding and the staining and the poly-ing.

And after my staircase project


… I’ve had enough of the stripping and the sanding and the staining and the poly-ing for a lifetime.

But when the fabulous Meg asked if I would like to contribute a guest post here.  Of course I said yes.  I’m all over Meg and Mums.

And I’m all over Australia; can’t wait to visit one day …

And I’m all over growing my Australian readership …


…  I mean, you are neck-in-neck with the U.K. ladies (and gents) for third place in all-time pageviews by region …


… and I am motivated to help my Australian readers surpass those Brits …

… by shamelessly wow-ing you Aussies with my “I’m shamelessly proud of my” entry remodel


And if that doesn’t win you over, maybe you’ll ooh and aah over my powder room reveal …?


And then you can dig my killer sewing skills


Unimpressed (you’re a tough crowd), perhaps you could swoon over the rug I painted directly onto my front porch landing …?


Wait, wait.  Don’t abandon me yet.   There’s more good stuff to come.  Like in this post ….


… where I share the secrets to my financial blogging success.  You will be astounded and amazed by my transparency and riches …

… McDonald’s Happy Meal here I come!

I’m just so very glad the fabulous Meg didn’t ask me to do a guest post about a furniture project.  Because, honestly, the reason I like this furniture transformation …

… has less to do with the furniture piece and more to do with the fabric and the cushion and the pillows.

… and I’ll be checking those stats hourly to make sure you Aussies overcome the Brits …

Just saying …

Thank you so much …  the fabulous Meg!

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and now a word from our sponsor (my husband mike)

Okay, I will admit, I have become somewhat addicted to the home improvement shows on the television machine.

I remember when our son was an infant, I’d get up early (note my emphasis; do I get a reward?) and give him his bottle while watching first-generation shows such as “Fix It Up!” and “The House Doctor” as the sun came up.


So quiet, so calm, so pleasant, our time together. He smiled at me and he smelled good, then.

I moved up to “Trading Spaces” as the kids grew, and admitted to Linda that I had a crush on carpenter Amy Wynn Pastor and host Paige Davis. I think you can see the connection to sexy women who work on homes.


Since then, I’ve found shows about crashing and inspecting and flipping. Who knew? But here are my dumb thoughts about the shows:

Mike Holmes is probably great, but he scares me. I worry he will use his crewcut to rub the features right off my face. That said, he actually is great.  In case he’s reading this.

Kirsten from “Property Ladder” is probably not a “real estate expert” as advertised. She seems uptight and superior and prone to pulling faces for the camera. Lighten up, Frosty.

The “Backyard Crashers” and “Room Crashers” and “Bathroom Crashers” guys need to tone it down a bit. Obviously they have been told to amp up the ‘personality’ to match the zooming and shaking cameras. Not everything you do and say is funny.

And how about “Are you going to love it? Or are you going to list it?” How many times did you have to preen and film that “spontaneous moment”?

Now I wish I was back in the living room watching Pat Simpson and Jodi Marks with my boy in my lap. Times in the late ‘90s seemed so simple.

~ Mike


  1. Those early HGTV shows were the best!!

  2. Totally agree..don’t watch as much anymore~

  3. Oh man, I remember some show on early in the morning of this man and woman redecorating – wow it was boring to watch. I think they lost their spot ages ago. Somehow we seemed to watch it over breakfast nonetheless. Ahhhh

  4. Yes, I miss the older shows too. Now all the shows seem to show ‘break it up, throw it out, start over with THE MOST EXPENSIVE STUFF THERE IS’ because that is what ‘everyone’ is doing.
    I loved the shows where they made over a room for $500.00….who has a budget of $XXXX,XX these days to make over their bath room? I don’t that is for sure.
    Also the ‘million’ dollar rooms etc??? This is the real world with people who work for a livng. Show us what a normal home can be.

  5. Made me laugh out loud! I wholeheartedly agree. :)

  6. Oh you have taken me down memory lane… I miss Room by Room and The Carol Duval show. Thanks for the laugh, I’m so glad to have discovered this lovely blog.

    Maybe one day they will put those old shows on TV Land!

  7. Ever watch the Christopher Lowell Show? If you could get past the drama, or laugh along with it, there really was good sound principles and how-to’s presented on that show. I loved his tenet that when DIY’ing / building furniture at home you don’t try to build it like they would commercially: think how to stack and arrange different size boxes until you have the shape / function you want, then put a skin on it (wood, veneer, etc) and that’s how a novice DIY’er can make a sturdy piece of furniture. Say “hi” to Linda for me Mike.


  8. Linda- My husband feels pretty much the same way about Holmes and the shaky camera action going on now. He just wants them to stop jump-cutting every 1/100 of a second and actually show the work.

  9. I don’t care what you’re watching I’m going to slap on my tool belt and rev up some power tools now that I know men like that. You forgot to add Paige always had cleavage too.


  10. I totally agree. The older shows were much better and you actually could learn something from them.

  11. I’m even older (and don’t have cable), so miss Bob Villa and Norm on This Old House… and the JoAnn and Dean on HomeTime when they actually worked on real-people homes instead of new and glamorous huge ones.

  12. I’m with you on everything except having a crush on the lovely ladies! There seemed to be a lot more diversity in the kinds of shows that were on in the early days. I miss that. I don’t watch anymore cuz it seems as though I’m just watching the same things over and over.

  13. Embarrassingly enough, I wasn’t watching much HGTV back in the 90′s – I was still rocking my big jersey hair and partying the night away!

  14. Oh, Kelly–*shaking head*
    My husband is now into the shows where they put apartments in the basement. I am starting to panic. (Although that one Canadian boy is a cutie!) And I do love Tommy who works for Sarah. He wears glasses just like mine!

  15. I miss the old shows too! I’m a little tired of HGTV lately, but I do like all the crasher shows the best!

  16. Hi Linda! Gwyneth and I tagged you on 11 questions! Details are in our latest post!

    mk & Gwynnie

  17. I totally agree. Trading Spaces was my favorite and Mike Holmes makes me nervous. :)

  18. Add my voice to the choir. I miss the good ole days of HGTV. My husband loved to watch a landscaping show on Sunday mornings. I don’t remember the name of the show, but the host was Gary Allen.
    I don’t watch HGTV much anymore, when I do flip over there, 99% of the time, House Hunters is on. They should start a spinoff network called the real-estate channel and bring the DIY shows back.

  19. I remember the older shows too! I think they’ve forgotten the name of their own show: Home Garden Television. It used to be about what you can do with your own home and garden, but now its more real estate. Funny thing is they get these same complaints from thousands on their website. I stopped watching a long time ago but so glad I have some older shows on video/cd! : )

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and now a word from our sponsor … my husband mike

MikeI am happy that Linda is part of – and may have begun, it really is hard for me to decipher how this stuff works – a link party or two on her blog site. She is dedicating a lot of effort into it, and seems to be enjoying the experience. 

It makes her happy, which matters a whole lot.

I’d be happier if I understood what a link party is.

Now no one enjoys a party more than I do, if you don’t count people who actually like going to parties. I have a hard time wading into a crowd where I don’t know many people. If you cared to, you could find me near the chips or the beer or the television. Is “The Dick Van Dyke Show” on here? What, it’s not 1961 anymore?

So when Linda started to explain what a link party is, I tried, I really tried, to follow her, but my eyes glossed over in the exact same way Linda’s eyes fade out when I talk about baseball or Jennifer Aniston. How does that happen?

A “link party”? As a Chicagoan, I immediately thought of the Tru-Link Fence company, which famously sponsored the Cubs games on WGN-TV in the ‘60s and ‘70s (“It’s over the fence! A Tru-Link fence!”), but even without asking Linda, I knew it was a bad guess.

And I can’t put my mind around how an Internets party works anyway. The good news is, it seems clean-up would a breeze.

What is a link party? Is it a sausage link party? She doesn’t eat that stuff, and I hope she wouldn’t find a use for it on our walls or floors. A Lancelot Link party? That show was depressing at best, and an obscure reference at least.

Perhaps the link party is homage to Linc, the hip African-American character on TV’s “Mod Squad” from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. That must be it. He is way into board and batten.



  1. Hee! That made me chuckle. My husband’s eyes glaze over when I talk about link parties and followers and how to build followers through BlogLovin’ and Pinterest. Yet, he perks right up when I talk about sponsors and monetizing!

  2. So true! My husband finally sent an email to all of his friends telling them about my blog, I think he said “this is Jessica’s way of justifying her career decision. Look what a Harvard education can do”! At least it’s all with love:)

  3. Too funny! Thanks for the chuckle!


  4. Hi Linda, so glad you stopped by, I’m following you back and on Pinterest too! Great husband you have there!


  5. OK, Mike needs a blog too. Only can I request his picture on that with his shirt off holding a hammer?


  6. i second that — i think mike needs a blog of his own too! : ) thanks for the smile! : )

  7. I have just come across your blog and see there is a lot to learn here…I am a new follower. I have nothing to link up (working on projects right now) but will be sure to visit those I have not come across. Your husband has a terrific sense of humor as I am sure do you (or else you would not have published this post:)). Have a great weekend!

  8. Nobody puts Linda’s hubby in the corner! Step away from the chips and beer – wait, you don’t have to. The best part of a link party is you can sit in your undies chugging beers and scratching your nether regions and nobody would be the wiser!! Why do you think we do it!

  9. What? No love for the Secret Chimp? I WOULD pronounce our friendship now tenuous, but fortunately your husband has other great assets, like the ability to reference “beer” and “Dick Van Dyke” in the same paragraph. A man after my own heart.

  10. And do I need to do this linky follower thing?

  11. K-ster’s eyes glaze over at all thinks blog related and we’ve had more arguments about my time spent in the blogosphere. The boys just don’t get it, do they??

  12. I say we do a sausage link party next! :)

  13. well
    my hubs has certainly never heard
    of a link party
    and would recognize one
    if he tripped over it

    too funny

    i am now following you
    via LF
    and hope you’ll return the favor!


  14. This was great!! I’d love for my husband to write on my blog but that hasn’t happened yet. You need to have a regular appearance over here! You made me laugh. So glad you joined the #findingthefunny party!

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