I was getting new carpeting in my apartment, which was desperately needed. I’d been there for 10 years and it was kind of shoddy when I moved in. It would be a couple of weeks before the installation. Since my walls were in an equal state of disrepair, that’s when I got the brilliant idea to paint. Myself.
My sudden ambition was largely due to the fact that I’d gotten quotes in the range of $1,000 to have it done by professionals. I was determined to be a successful do-it-yourselfer-no-matter-how-long-it-takes-and-how-much-pain-and-misery-you-will-be-in.
I lived alone so I’d have to recruit some help. Painting is a task I had only taken on once, under parental supervision, some 30 years ago. Since then, I’ve had back surgery and have developed arthritis in my back as well. I’m not quite as mobile as I once was, not to mention that I’m out of shape and about 80 pounds heavier than when I did my last paint job. I’ve also developed a severe case of lazyitis.
The landlord kindly supplied me with the paint and accessories. I stared at the stuff for about a week, hoping it would somehow transpose itself from the five gallon container sitting on my floor, to the walls.
When that didn’t happen, I called my daughter for help. She’s 20 and has a pretty busy social life, but we usually talk every day. When I mentioned the words, “paint” and “need help” she suddenly had numerous dropped calls, stopped answering her phone and stopped calling me. I began to worry and thought I should report her missing.
So I called 911 and explained the situation.
“You’re saying you think your daughter is missing because she doesn’t want to help you paint.”
“Yes, exactly. Ever since I asked her to help I have not been able to get in touch with her. I’m worried. But I don’t know if she’s genuinely missing or just avoiding me.”
“Ma’am, she probably just doesn’t want to paint. We get these kinds of calls all the time. It’s even worse when it comes to hanging drywall.”
I called a friend. I got the same kind of reaction when I mentioned those two deadly words, paint and help.
“I’m sorry, you’re cutting out. I can’t hear you. And the baby’s crying, I’ve got to go, sorry!”
Baby? When did my friend have a baby? She’s in her 50’s. What was going on?
Desperate for help, I even tried to get in touch with the 911 operator who was so friendly. After all, my walls were in a state of emergency. When I finally got him on the phone, he recalled me as the “paint lady.” He told me, sorry, but 911 was temporarily out of business and he promptly disconnected.
I finally came to the conclusion I would have to do this dreaded job by myself. So I put on elbow length gloves, stuck my hand into the paint, and began throwing it on the walls. It was a little messy but when I rubbed it in with my palm it started to look okay.
Then I remembered some kind of brush and roller thingie. I picked it up, eyeing it curiously. A lightbulb went off. I poured some paint in the little tin thing and stuck the roller in. I was well on my way to becoming a professional painter.
After three days, one room was finished. And it looked pretty darn good. All I had left now was the living room, dining room, my bedroom, the hallway, the kitchen and the bathroom. A breeze! It was November 2007, and at this rate, I’d be done before November 2010!
Each day, I was covered from head to toe with paint. Having used muscles that hadn’t seen any action in years, I felt pretty much like someone had beaten me up. Too exhausted to wash the paint off, I’d pass out in my bed and go into a deep painting-induced sleep.
One night, I dreamed that I painted my two cats and they were stuck to the wall. I woke up screaming and ran to the one completed room to make sure I hadn’t dreamed that I finished painting it. Sure enough, the room was still painted, as were the cats, but at least they weren’t stuck to the wall.
Gotta run, the paintbrush calls!