I am fixated on the dingy filth that coats my walls. It’s time to paint, but I’m paralyzed by the enormity of the can of worms that will be unleashed when that daunting project takes shape. When we moved into this house, we hired a guy to come in and paint all of the interior walls. He used a sprayer. We chose the same nondescript shade of white for the walls and the high ceilings in the common areas, and we had yet to tear out the carpeting, so it must have been the world’s easiest gig. Now, after too many years while toddling babies morphed into clumsy kids with wheels on their shoes and mud on their hands, the walls are trashed and it’s time to paint. But now the house is full of stuff. There is so much stuff that will need to be moved, and you know as well as I do that if you have to touch the stuff, you have to sort the stuff. Otherwise, if you move the stuff around without sorting through it, you’ve got issues and it’s likely that you will end up crying on Oprah’s couch while one of those hazmat turbo organizing teams cleans out your closets with a blowtorch.
I have been making vague promises to my girl for a while now that it is high time we spruced up her room. Her room is teeny tiny, and had become a catch-all for the weird stuff that had no place. We had this huge black bookcase in there that would sometimes self destruct under the weight of its random burden, and a shelf would crash down in the middle of the night, scaring the beejesus out of my poor girl. The other furniture in there was always at weird angles and never looked quite right, and the room was chock full of what Ellie would call buckets – because Ellie calls everything capable of holding matter a bucket. My girl’s buckets were varied in size and scope, but the common thread that ran through all of them was a bizarre system of organization that explains the existence of a Christmas gift bag filled with: an empty piggy bank, a newborn’s knit hat, one red sandal, a huge jar containing 7 marbles, and my dress purse full of littlest pets.
When I left for the gym last Saturday morning, I told my girl that if she cleaned up her room, maybe we’d go pick out the paint for her walls. She barely acknowledged that I had spoken, I assumed that I was in the clear. When I got home, I idly asked whether or not she had worked on her room. She jumped up and asked me to follow, she said I would not believe how clean her room was. I turned the corner to find that she had unceremoniously chucked everything she could reach out the door of her room. Destination? Unknown. There was a colossal pile of debris in the hall, spilling into the bathroom. Everything from dirty laundry to art supplies to buckets to books to step stools was heaped halfway up the wall – I could not even step over it. I was too stunned to speak. Too intimidated to shout. Too overwhelmed to even grab my camera. There were so many things, and I was going to have to touch them. And you know what that means.
48 hours later, my girl has a clean and sassy blue room. I want to hang out in there all the time, because now more than ever I am fixating on the dingy filth that covers my other walls. And everywhere I look, I see that my shit is broken down. I open a cabinet and the mismatched Tupperware falls out. I hang a towel and the hook falls out of the wall. I watch helplessly as my stupid dog runs through the screen door, again. The printer’s out of ink, the vacuum bag is full, and the camera battery is dead. The sunroof that I had installed in my car will not open, and the passenger window that I’ve had replaced and repaired three times since this unfortunate incident started to fall halfway again, so that a pointy peak was sticking up when I tried to open it. I went back to get it repaired and they wanted $600 and I got mad and insisted that I could find a better deal, so they locked it in the closed position. Know anyone who can fix that for me so I don't have to eat crow and pay the $600 after having a tantrum then driving around with the window locked shut for two weeks?
I need a burst of inspiration, I’m sure it will come in good time. I need to start small and focus on one thing at a time, finding pleasure in what I get done rather than giving in to despair when I think about how much more there is to do. It’s a brokedown pile of shit, but it’s my palace. And that makes me the princess.