Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Contagious Painting

I caught something from my friend Anita, but I figure it’s nothing a few good bottles of Malbec can’t knock out of me. Not only did symptoms begin today, but I got the four-colored strain. And to think I’ve strived to stay so sane all these years.

Today I painted, the worst chore I can imagine. I actually opened four containers of paint at separate times throughout the day and appropriately applied their contents. I’d rather clean a toilet than paint, but since I’m not swimming in money, I tend to be a handyman, attempting projects I have no ability to be doing. But being po’ means you try stuff that those of mo’ means don’t have to unless they want.

My friend Anita is a paint precisionist. I’ll have to make her new business cards with a new title. (It currently just reads Wonderful Human Being and See Pee Accountant.) In painting her home, she has to have the tint or shade just so. And if it’s a bit off, which is often the case, she has no fear. This girl will leap onto a ladder twice her size, hold a roller twice her arm’s size, and gobble up almost as much paint as I do wine. But it’s not a contest.

So today my friend Norm was going to come over and help me paint the bottom half of my home’s rear—kind of like giving the house new panties. Well, ol’ Mother Nature offered us some much-needed moisture, so Norm didn’t come over, and as we were all praising the Lord and licking the grass, ol’ Auntie cracked open a tall one.

First, a can of warm something, like tan, the color of my kitchen, foyer, and hallway.

No wait. First, I must tell you how frightening it is for me to begin painting. In fact, last night I lay awake from 2 a.m. till 4 a.m. (normal) wondering why I am so scared of painting, and here’s what I came up with. When I was 17, I painted Nana’s house, a very large house. Aside from some brick, she wanted the color green, with white trim. The white was standard white; the green, well, right now I’d call it putrid green, because on the final day, as I listened to the Sweet’s “Ballroom Blitz,” 10cc’s “I’m Not in Love,” and Starland Vocal Band’s “Afternoon Delight,” I was reaching the pinnacle of the white trim, the crest, the tippy-top.

Ka-chunk-ka-splash! The damn white paint fell off my ladder and onto the slimy, bird-poop, I-don’t-give-a-shit-if-it is-environmentally green main color of the house. If I hadn’t sworn until that point, I certainly developed a liking to it that day. I was exhausted, in pain, frustrated, and really, really mad.

That is one reason why I hate painting.

The other is less dramatic. In 1990 I hired maids to clean the home Mr. Ex and I built, ’cause it was big and I was working from 40 to 65 hours per week, sometimes out of state and country. Every two weeks after the maids’ visit, I would have to drag out the paint can and touch up all the vacuum cleaner cord’s black marks on every smooth, hand-troweled corner of this big house. And I paid those people! And I fired them.

So I hate painting. Plus there’s the prep and cleanup, which stand on their own as being teenage-girl difficult.

But today I smoked a little sage. Actually I prayer-cleansed the home last night using salt and sage—it just smelled as though I’d smoked it. So I was primed. A little terra cotta touch up here, a little pinkish brown touch up there, and the Wall. I decided to take whatever color I already owned and brush it on a brick wall in my soon-to-be library. Just to get an idea, I artistically brushed strokes of terra cotta (after touching up my daughter’s wall) on the brick. I’ll admit, it looked cool. I was New York bound, or at least Santa Fe.
Then I remembered: I’m not that cool. So I grabbed the can of a soothing light brown and painted the brick. It took three point five hours, one huge helping of Chinese leftovers, and two cups of something white my sweetheart bought for me. But it looks great! Even Shiloh likes it.
So here it is, 8:20 p.m., and I feel good about wagging a brush at a wall.

And tomorrow? My home’s panties and afternoon delight.

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