Tuesday, January 26, 2010

My Missing Gene

I didn't get it. You know the gene I'm talking about, the one that requires women to fuss with their houses. My HDTV-addicted friends are forever painting, redecorating, rearranging, redoing. It's a really big week for me when my house gets cleaned. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't be doing stuff to my house, but then I realize I am quite all right with it just the way it is. I've also been relieved of my paint roller after an unfortunate paint vs carpet disaster (the paint won) in our Florida house. I was told I was no longer "allowed" to paint (oh PUNISH ME, honey, PLEASE). Shortly after the disaster, I saw the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where Ray teaches soon-to-be groom Robert that if you screw something up, SHE won't ask you do it again. Works both ways, and I wish I had seen that episode earlier in my career as painter.

You see, at one time, before the writing bug bit hard, I did have the fuss-with-my-house gene. I once attempted sponge painting a wall to match the red flowers in a new sofa. We tried five or six different shades, but just couldn't get it right. After an entire day of sponging paint onto my wall, my cousin walked in and asked who'd been shot. My mother, who was supposed to be on my side, laughed her booty off. It was not funny! However, I can't deny there was a St. Valentine's Massacre-esque feel to it. My sponge was soon revoked, never to be seen again. Dan got so frustrated by the many paint purchases that he poured them all together and created a Pepto Bismal pink living room that the new owner insisted we paint over before he would sign on the dotted line at closing. Can't say I blame him. People walking by the house would double take in horror when they saw the hideous color of our living room.

Prior to the disaster that ended my interior painting career, I once painted the 10-foot walls in my Florida family room with two toddlers (aka ankle biters) underfoot while their father was at sea in the Navy. I remember starting on Friday afternoon and about an hour later, the idea was looking really bad to me. I had to use a roller on a LONG pole to reach the top and it was brutal. My neck and shoulders were tin man stiff for days afterward. My neighbor Bob came in hallway through the project from hell and recoiled, calling my color "standing-on-the-sun-yellow." I can't deny it was bright. My eyes were hurting from looking at it. Many future visitors (including the guy who lived there between Navy deployments) recoiled from the brightness, but once I had the crown molding done and added furniture that matched, people said it was clear I'd had a "vision" all along. Not really, but if they wanted to believe that, I was okay with it. Martha Stewart I am not.

In our current house, we're still living with the walls three of us painted during a frantic "the-furniture-is-coming-Monday-and-this-all-has-to-be-done-before-it-arrives" weekend with one dimly lit lamp lighting our way. We painted the ENTIRE HOUSE in one weekend. The entire house. One weekend. The same weekend Dan ended up with stitches in his hand (not my fault). Keep painting, I cried. Turpentine will prevent infection! Needless to say, our walls are slightly "less than." Guess what? Seven years of looking at them, and I couldn't care less if I tried. If there's anything great about living in this old house it's that it can be a bit beat up and no one really cares. It's old. It's supposed to be beat up. That's not to say I wouldn't move back to my brand new fabulous Florida house in a New York minute if I could just have the house re-located to Rhode Island. However, I don't miss the pressure of keeping that sparkly new house looking new and well, sparkly. This old house often looks crappy. I'm okay with that.

I'd rather be writing. That's one gene I did get, and I wouldn't trade it for anything, especially a sponge or roller.

(After reading this, Emily noted I used the word "recoiled" several times. I was glad she recognized the theme. That's my English honors girl!)

What about you? Did you get the fuss gene? Had any disasters? Roller or sponge?


Mary G said...

OMG you are so funny!!"who's been shot?" LOLOL. I always say that if I wasn't a reader who also plays tennis our house would be spotless.
There are always newspapers, magazines and books around except when we have company.Our tennis equipment is in the front hallway (3 tennis bags)always ready to go. It's just clutter. Once a week before recycle day I gather it all up.The gene missed me much to the chagrin of my Italian mother who always bragged that you could eat off her floors & we always said we'd never do that anyway so what's the point?

Marie Force said...

If I wasn't a writer who reads nonstop when not working, my house would be spotless, too. I am with you, who cares if you can eat off the floors. Who wants to do that? BTW, do NOT eat off my floors. Don't do it. We joke that we're lucky we have friends over fairly often otherwise, we might not find an excuse to clean!

Kara said...

Too funny!! I once painted my daughters room a pepto pink...ended up having to sponge paint one wall in order to tone it down a little. That didn't go over well either.

No I did not get that gene either. I'd rather be reading!!!

Marie Force said...

I'm glad it's not just me. Clean is good, right??? Fussy? No time!

Cheryl Brooks said...

I haven't worked on my house in so long... Well, let's just say that my 20 year old was in a backpack while I painted the last time!
Since then, I hire people to do stuff like that. I know. I'm not Martha either.... Glad I'm not alone.

Marie Force said...

Cheryl, we have more important things to do these days, right? Who cares what color the walls are? I never look at them anyway. Ha!