Dave and I finally decided to tackle the kids’ room. We had already agreed on our motif — it was going to be our Cleveland Browns/Pittsburgh Steelers room. 

So I set about digging out everything we owned pertaining to either team. We had stuff everywhere in the house, and the garage. Dave and I have been collecting memorabilia of our favorite teams since we were teenagers. Separately, of course. Funny how our collections are like mirror images of each other.

We needed a plan as to how best to display our stuff. There’s only so much wall space in that room and not everything we have could be hung up anyway. We have a lot of stuff that needed shelf space. 

Everywhere we went, I was scoping out shelves and such, picturing how we could set out our collections. We batted around the idea of painting half the room Brown and Orange and half the room Black and Gold. He’d get two walls and I’d get two walls to decorate. 

We settled on painting the room a neutral color to showcase both collections — together. This isn’t a Browns vs. Steelers room. 

We picked a nice, pale blue for the walls, which oddly enough is what we were looking for when we painted in there the last time and ended up with a robin’s egg blue. 

A little severe and seriously in need of a redo after how many boys stayed in that room in varying levels of maturity. It looked like they had a Chinese food fight in there — on more than one occasion. 

First things first, I had to haul everything out of there. And kick our hoarder genes around a little. Dave agreed to throw away the empty boxes that the NASCAR cars displayed in the garage came in and box up his Hot Wheels collection for storage in "the hole."

He looked a little peaked as we put the empty boxes in trash bags, but denied it was "hurting his soul" when I asked. 

I agreed to go through my entire collection of cedar chest stuff that has outgrown the chest and flowed into five large dresser drawers. I have everything from my grandma’s first- through fourth-grade report cards and various family birth certificates and marriage licenses to things from my childhood and nearly every school paper our No. 1 son completed. 

OK, I had all that stuff. I now have the cedar chest plus only two drawers full. 

Once the drawers were emptied and sorted, the dressers were easy to roll out into the front room. The bed has no frame so I didn’t think it’d be a big deal. The mattress is flexible and the box spring is light. How hard can this be?

Tougher than expected, especially by myself while the boys were out back surveying the wreckage that is our yard following the downing of two trees. 

To get ready to paint, Dave spackled and I taped and sanded. Two tips for next time. 1) Wear a mask when sanding to avoid a nasty asthma attack and 2) Don’t use the pretty plastic-like painters tape on a textured ceiling. 

By the way, textured ceilings should be outlawed. For many reasons. 

The pretty tape didn’t stick well to the ceiling and started coming loose. By the time I got down from the ladder and over to it, it had untaped an entire wall plus half another one. 

I thought Dave was going to help paint, but he bailed completely. He did keep Our Beagle Boy Cletus from going Smurf in the paint by keeping him downstairs. 

It was a little disconcerting that this is the third time we have painted this room and our bedroom has yet to be painted once in our 22 years here. 

We emptied the three bookshelves upstairs, putting his Playboy magazine collection from the ’80s in the dressers and my books on our headboard shelves. These bookshelves, plus the former living room TV stand will display our collection quite nicely. 

First things up on the walls were the Cleveland stadiums picture Dave got for a gift last year, the Super Bowl XXXV Miller Lite mirror he bought at a yard sale that I thought would never have a place of distinction and the "House Divided" Steelers/Browns flag our son got us for Christmas. 

The rest of the stuff started finding a place to be on the shelves. Stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day in decades, packed away where no one can enjoy it. Steelers posters next to Browns calendars, opponents’ penants on the same wall, collector glasses and beer cans, hats, crocheted football players, "retired" T-shirts and sweatshirts, all hanging out together. 

We were a little perplexed on what to do with the calendars until we came up with the brainstorm to hang them just like we do this year’s calendar and flip to the next picture on the first of the month. Kind of an interactive display. 

Dave had a silly grin on his face when we finally declared it done with Mr. Cletus passed out on a Tim Couch T-shirt on the bed. He said "I love it. We should have done this years ago." 

Well yeah, but it was still the kids’ room then. 

© 2018 Laura Nethken