What did I do with the toothbrushes? Oh, yeah, the box in the loft outside the bedroom. Ah, here’s the toothpaste in the same box. The liquid soap dispenser I need to wash my face is in the other box. I locate a chair with towels to complete my morning ablutions. I am now reminded of being on a trip and living out of a suitcase. It is way early in the morning and this is much more mental effort than I am used to. But such is the lot of someone living through a room-painting project.
Little confusions around the place are a part of the re-decoration process. I get that. Maybe that’s why I am always so hesitant to change things around the house. Or maybe it is inertia. Becky and I talk off and on about re-painting this space or that, but then the details come up: choosing the color, prepping the walls, locating brushes, drop cloths, tape, and so on. Soon the idea of setting a painting plan in motion passes. We move on to other projects or at least to thinking about other projects.
But as it has tended to do for so many people in so many ways, pandemic isolation has resulted in many changes in our lives. For the last few years, the dark months of January and February are the excuse we have used to fly away on a trip somewhere brighter and warmer. Although this year we have zero desire to get on a plane, we still dream about trips to faraway places. Maybe this dream is how the painting idea actually began to happen.
During last January’s trip to Chile we stayed a few days in Puerto Varas. It is a spectacular area of volcanoes and rushing waters with challenging hiking trails and dramatic scenery. Of course we took photos including some of blue water charging through channels of black volcanic rock. It was the blue of the water that left an impression on us as we stood watching. Later in the hotel we reviewed our pictures. “That would be a good color for our bathroom,” Becky said.
Fast forward a few months and we are in the hardware store paint department checking out the color-filled displays of paint chips. She had continued carrying the blue of the Chilean waters in her mind. “I think one of the blues in this group is it,” she said, fanning out a few samples for me to see. Later, we compared the pics we took with the colors and decided on a blue paint Valspar calls “Fresh Basin.” Now it was time to get the process started.
We found a paint tray, a roller and brushes to fit on it. We had some rolls of blue painter tape that would work and dragged out a couple of old sheets to serve as drop cloths. I lugged ladders up the stairs. We drove back to the hardware for spackle, fresh brushes and a gallon of paint. We removed pictures and hardware from the walls and filled boxes with our array of bathroom bottles then carried them to other rooms. It seems like we spent a lot of time taping the edges of things.
And then we painted.
It is the morning of the second day and it is almost over. Running a bright light over the new blue walls looking for areas to touch up, replacing light switch plates, deciding which things we want to put back and which things we don’t. By this time tomorrow, I should be able to stumble into my morning routine without thinking too much about it. And as I eventually become aware of my surroundings, I will look around me and remember the wondrous blue waters of Chile.
Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected]