Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Painted House

In 1983 I married. In 1984 I bought a house. In 1985 my son was born and in 2001 I retired from my lifelong job. In 2010, I am finally getting my living room and dining room painted. I’m finally getting new carpet. For most people, this might not be one of those beautiful life changing events that you cherish the rest of your life. But for me, I’m getting that same warm fuzzy once in a lifetime feeling about  newly painted living room, dining room and hallway walls. Not to forget, new carpet and new furniture. So why is this a big deal for a girl who has just about everything in life a person could ask for? I wish I knew. I can only blame it on my own laziness.  >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

My old walls tell a story, like most probably do. The patched hole (but never painted) that Lon’s recliner made when he leaned too far back and the corner of his chair crashed into the wall leaving a head sized hole. He was holding Andy over his head in the baby airplane position and each time he would lift him up high over his head, Andy would let out a giggle that sounded like a symphony. He was about six months old. My brother repaired that hole for me.

The big six foot scrape across the wall of the foyer was the result of my long gone sofa that I purchased from an estate sale of the Flagler Hotel. While I owned the sofa, the long scrape was hidden by the sofa. Because it had old wooden casters, it used to slide against the wall wreaking havoc. After parting with the sofa, the brown line was a constant reminder of the missing sofa. The reason Flagler College was unloading many of the original hotel furnishings, was because most all of it contained live, active dry wood termites still munching away at sale time. That sofa was the first piece of antique furniture I restored. It was also the last. I’ve told that story too many times, so I won’t go there again. That very visible waist high long brown scrape down the wall line is finally gone.

My picture of Ringo Starr posing as the sister in Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” was covering up another unpainted drywall repair that I think was caused by someone’s fist.  I wasn’t home when that happened so I never got the real skinny on that incident. I do know that the person who made the hole now knows how to repair drywall. I always wanted to hang this favorite drawing that I bought from the old "Some Place Else" bar and restaurant just after it first opened. They sold it to me right off the wall above the booth I was eating in. I didn't expect it would ever be prominently hanging in my living room to cover some one's bad temper.

There are a few ankle high tantrum dents near the laundry room caused by a kicking and screaming kid who was in a bad mood at the time and the proverbial hand marks down the hallway from dirty little (and big) fingers. These are now gone.  Whenever I hang a picture or painting (and I have many), I don’t measure and plan for the hanging. I just hammer in the picture hanger and hope for the best. My final hole usually has six or seven holes surrounding it sort of like the bulls eye of a bad marksman. The one hole dead center is always the last one I make. All the extra holes are gone now too.

Near my kitchen wall, I measured the growth of my son with a pencil and a ruler. Since he ate like a horse and grew like a weed, his growth spurts show on the wall, but I mostly remember the smile on his face each time he was taller than the last mark. The last mark is probably 6’ 2”. I jotted down the dates and heights (which also include measurements for Leola and Stella) and plan to re-write them on the newly painted wall.

Picking out the colors for my new walls was difficult. I deal with color in my quilting and you’d think I would know exactly what I wanted for my walls. I started out with several purples and used the small samples from Lowe’s to see what purple would look like. That was a no-go. I then switched to green shade that looked like pale celery on the paint card, but on the wall, came out looking like that green stuff spewing out of Linda Blair’s mouth in “The Exorcist”….another no go. "I must have been on drugs"

I gave it all a rest for awhile hoping that the walls would speak to me and was really discouraged when they remained silent until one day an impulsive shopping trip to Tuesday Morning resulted in a beautiful $150.00, 8’x10’ wool area rug with all of the colors that I love. The soft terra cottas, muted blues, soft yellows and greens in the rug became my starter pallet.

The main reason I bought the rug was to cover up some big obvious stains on my carpet, thinking that I would never be able to re-carpet the house. I used the colors in the area rug as my color pallet and finally, the wonderful process began. While picking out a new recliner for Lon, I ended up with another new recliner for myself, two new sofas, new carpet and newly painted walls. The new colors are called “Opium” and “Ingliss”. They are peachy…literally and they are beautiful.
My painter, Jack,  referred to the original color of my walls as “dry wood primer” and if it weren’t so pathetic, it would be funny. He did a wonderful job, showed up each morning at 9 o’clock sharp and brought along with him his good disposition and bologna and cheese sandwiches for his lunch.. The new colors are called “Opium” and “Ingliss” (?????). 

The “Carpet Man” has been standing by eagerly waiting for my call that the painting is finished and the furniture store is holding my new furniture until the carpet is down. He sent his two carpet experts to the house post haste and after piling all my furniture in to the kitchen and laundry room, set out to finish the job. I’m glad I wasn’t here to witness the preparation phase. When I arrived home from visiting the physical therapist, phase one was finished. I naturally tried to practice some Spanish with one of the carpet “professionales”, but had no luck there. He was either the quiet type or from a region in Mexico that didn’t speak my FCCJ Spanish. It didn't help that my husband kept telling me to give it a rest either. These guys could have at least cleaned up after themselves. The motor on my vac cleaner shut itself down due to excessive fuzz overload. The manual for the vacuum suggested a thirty minute cool down time and the vacuum would be as good as new. None the less, these two men worked very hard and seemed eager to please me, the customer. Laying down carpet is not a job where the word “ergo” comes into play. These guys use a carpet stretcher operated by the force of a knee kick that will surely have them limping way before their time and most assuredly will have no medical benefits to visit a doctor in fifteen years when this knee kicking contraption has done irreparable damage to every carpet worker's meniscus. Back in the day, laying carpet for your father's carpet business would have been a dream summer job. I know for sure that today, a young person today having already experienced his first "sports" injury would say, "No way, José." to this job. This is precisely why the men doing this job are named José.

I will not miss my carpet of outdated color or its dust, dirt and spilled coffee stains that marked a path to a “certain someone’s” easy chair. I will miss the stained area in front of the television where my son grew up eating his dinner while watching “Jeopardy” and the spots and stains he left behind after meals. I guess that marked his territory. He used to put a piece of newspaper under his dinner plate to keep the carpet clean. The newspaper ink left more marks on the old carpet than Andy ever did!

This morning after I got out of bed, I walked in to the living room and felt like I was Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" after her house landed post tornado. I opened the door from Kansas black and white to the vivid color of Munchkin land. Only Coroner Meinhardt Raabe wasn't there to sing to me.