Skip to content

Careful What You Ask For

May 11, 2021

Looking back, I’m surprised we didn’t get into more trouble for it. In fact, I don’t remember getting in any trouble at all. And I cannot decide if my parents were better parents than me, or worse.

Growing up, we moved around a lot. And then, in the fifth grade when I was eleven, we moved to the house that I grew up in. We were in that house until I graduated from high school. It was your typical four bedroom, two bath rambler.

It had a formal dining room and a kitchen bar. The dining room had the typical dark paneling that was so popular in the 1970’s. (It also had green shag carpet in the living room, but that’s not part of this story.)

My dear mother hated the paneling. She had often complained about it. So, one day my brother and I took it off. All of it. We stripped the entire dining room down to bare walls.

We didn’t tell my dear mother. We wanted to surprise her.

She was surprised.

If my kids did that, I’d be pretty upset. I don’t remember my parents being upset. Instead, they went out and bought some drywall tape, mud and wall paper. And we all learned how to finish off drywall. And for the next couple of weeks, we mud-ed and taped and sanded. And then mud-ed again and sanded some more.

And then we wallpapered the room in a beautiful pattern with vines and flowers and some kind of fruit. We spent a lot of time lining up the seams and smoothing out the bubbles.

And when we finally completed it, we stood back, admired our work and realized it was installed upside down. We hadn’t realized that the patter was supposed to show “hanging flowers and fruit. Everything was pointed up instead of down.

My dear mother, how had done the built of the work swore us all to secrecy.

If no one says anything, it’s not upside down.

She actually sent my younger brother to his room when he started to mention it to a neighbor. We never spoke of it again. (In fact, my dear mother may actually chastise me for mentioning it now.)

But, she’s the one who said she didn’t like the color.

Stay safe

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (
LinkedIn (
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2021 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

  1. Patricia permalink

    I was a usual mother who thought my kids were the smartest in the world. Turned out I was pretty close to right as their adulthoods have shown. I remember being SURPRISED when they removed the paneling but kind of pleased also. It was fun working with any of my 3 sons living at home.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Well, They Didn’t Make Us Put It Back | Rodney M Bliss

Leave a Reply