Saturday, January 20, 2007

Ceiling, Trim and Then Walls

The date? Playdate? What do I call getting together when you are eleven? Way too young for dating, even though they play with the words. Way too old to have a playdate.

Ben’s night with his friend was much fun.

For me? The Celtics lost. Again. But I had much fun with Jake and my friends.

When I got home, a full description was in order. Allan reported silliness, goofiness and a general good time had by all. There was a little bit of snuggling toward the end of the evening, carefully monitored.

Ben was so sweet when I walked in. The expression, floating on cloud nine- popularized by the 1950’s radio show Johnny Dollar (I had to look it up)- was a perfect description of Ben.

What was the best part of the night? I asked.

[Friend] coming over, he sighed.

Oh, the boy has it bad. He adores this girl.

And, to think, they both have the same Fergalicious dance moves.

Scary but true.

And today, I am painting.

Okay, not painting yet. 90 percent of the work of painting happens before – prepping, taping, spackling, sanding. I love when the walls are smooth to the touch. Of course I swore I would never again take down wallpaper- as I always do when taking down wallpaper- and I wasn’t even doing the steaming. Donald was.

When we talked about doing work on the house I balked. I hate having people in my house. But when Jeanine said, well, it could be Donald… I said, sure. I like having him around. He’s easy, chats sometimes, and is quiet others. Personally, I can spend hours silent partly because I’m comfortable with it and partly because it’s the space I let my mind wander to find words for the next story, blog, or essay.

Donald could live here. I’d be fine with that. There are very few people I could say that about.

I love to paint. For about two rooms and then I don’t want to see another paintbrush ever again. I am meticulous and can cut a mean line although I have resorted to tape in recent years. After two rooms? I am no longer meticulous. I’m annoyed, sick of being covered in paint and want it all finished. Time to stop. I cannot, however, pay someone to paint. There has only been one person who did as good a job as me. And he cost a ton. And lives in Rochester.

The in-between- when there is no color, only smooth walls and seemingly sterile cloths draped over a room- is silence to me. Anticipation. As the paint is brushed on, color and pigment cover old blemishes. Suddenly, it’s new again. Ceilings, then trim, then walls. I can barely wait for the walls.

I’m going to do the walls first, I said to Donald as I scrubbed off old glue.

Okay, he said, still guiding the steamer over the last small parts of wallpaper.

I know I’m not suppose to.

He didn’t answer. Just kept pulling off paper with one hand, running the steamer with the other.

I want to be sure it’s the right color…

And then I knew I would do the ceilings, then trim and walls. I can wait. It is what I am learning now. Don’t rush forward.

I wish I could explain that to Ben. And his friend, who is a sweet, wonderful, smart kid who is also feeling the peer pressure to reach for not just the next year but the next five years. It is so intense, the pressure. I know. But still… please. Slow down.

Ceiling, trim and then walls. The glorious walls full of saturated colors, the final touch, everything complete.

You’ll get there soon enough. Be eleven years old. Giggle. Be silly. Lie side by side on the floor doing the bicycle and laughing without the pressure of being sixteen.

Sixteen will come soon enough.

Enjoy your Dads, their lack of directional skills, or their insistence on eating dinner before the show. It is your job to roll your eyes. It is theirs to be certain in their uncertainty.

Just as I know I need to slow down and enjoy every day. To take the time to see every detail and the bigger picture.

Ceiling, trim and then walls.


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