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Cheryl Hughes: Fine Print

Last spring, I changed the scheme in my bathroom from horses to trees.  I put up a Tree of Life shower curtain, a metal owl on a tree wall sculpture, and an Audubon Birds in Trees calendar.  I needed one more piece to complete the scheme, so I decided I would find a paint-by-number print on Amazon.  I browsed several before I selected “Girl on a Tree Swing.”  The colors matched my shower curtain, and it was just whimsical enough to fit my taste.

When I received the package, I opened it immediately.  To my surprise, it contained hundreds of tiny beads.  I looked at the picture on the enclosed directions.  It was a girl in a tree swing.  There were color codes on the paper that matched each tiny space.  There was a plastic nib, wax, and a tray to hold the beads.  I was confused.  I unfurled the canvas, and to my surprise, the picture was sticky.  It was then that it dawned on me what I had in front of me.

I pulled up my orders on Amazon, found the “Girl on a Tree Swing” and read the complete description: Paint By Number, 5D Diamond Painting Kit…Full Drill Tree DIY Rhinestone Embroidery Set Paint with Diamonds Art by Number Kits Cross Stitch Home Wall Craft Decoration.  

I’m old people, and when I see paint-by-number on a product, I assume it means PAINT by number, not stick beads-by-number.  Now, wouldn’t you think by the time you reached 65 years of age, you would have learned to read the fine print? Yeah, me too, and we’d both be wrong.  This story has a happy ending, though.  Not one to let anything I’ve spent good money on go to waste, I set about sticking those tiny beads to the canvas one at a time.  I found I enjoyed the process.  My granddaughter saw mine and asked for one of her own.  She enjoyed it too.  Granted, I didn’t finish it till well into the process, but I was delighted with the outcome, and it hangs in my bathroom with the Tree of Life shower curtain, the owl on a tree wall sculpture, and the Audubon calendar.

I’m not the only one to ever be tripped up by “the fine print.”  One of my favorite examples happened a few years ago with some of the guys at our business, New Image Car Care.  Our friend and business partner, Greg, always offers the guys who work for us a chance to make a little extra on the side by helping him with odd jobs on his property on their days off.  Greg has never been one to go home and put his feet up after work.  He always has at least five or six miscellaneous irons in the fire.  He has rental property, and he gardens, and maintains his own property, doing much of the work himself.  Sometimes however, it’s more than he can do by himself, so he enlists the guys from work.  

Enter Dillon Taylor, one of the best employees we have ever had.  He was high school age at the time, but really responsible and helpful.  He and his dad worked on, and raced, 4-wheelers, so Dillon was mechanically inclined.  He also raised chickens and loved the country life, just an all-around good guy.  Dillon was not lazy, but Dillon hated weed-eating probably worse than any job you could assign him.

Shortly after Dillon came to work for us, Greg told the guys that he was cleaning out some brush around his lake, throwing it on a trailer and hauling it to a brush pile if anybody wanted to make any extra money.  Dillon jumped right on the chance.  It took them about an hour and a half to haul the brush.  The rest of the day Dillon spent with a weed-eater, manicuring the banks of Greg’s lake.

A couple of weeks later, Greg told the guys he was moving some stuff out of one of his rental houses if anybody wanted to make some extra cash.  Two of the guys said they wouldn’t mind helping with that.  Dillon told Greg he had promised to help his dad with something that day.

The next work day, both guys came in grumbling that they had moved stuff from the rental house for the first half of the previous day—work they hadn’t minded at all—then found themselves finishing off the last half of the day running a weed-eater.

Dillon just grinned and said, “You gotta read the fine print, Boys.  It always says weed-eatin.”

You know what this means, don’t you?  Dillon was smarter at eighteen than I am at sixty-five.



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