Friday, April 04, 2008

A Lot of Paint and Some Pondering

I've been painting like crazy around the house lately. It is, we hope, the last step before re-doing floors so we can sell our house later this year. We're hoping that we can do much of the floor installation ourselves too, to save some money, but it will probably be a huge challenge. We haven't ever been big into table saws or mitre saws, and the work will probably involve the use of these to one extent or another. If it's too challenging, carpeting will cover more of the floor than we presently hope.
While I paint, I think about things. I ponder various problems and issues we deal with, I pray for people I'm concerned about, and I wash up in a hurry to answer the phone or to go to the store for supplies or to make dinner. My general housekeeping and cooking quality goes down the tubes when I have other projects in process. Painting is consuming work! Clean a lot, paint a little, clean drips a little, find missed spots a little...and start all over again in another place. I spend as much time fixing my mistakes as doing the original work. Still, especially on the walls that I've never painted, covering the builder-quality paint with a new paint with some sheen and substance to it feels oh, so good.
Tim had three of his friends over for the day yesterday; that's a good thing, because when I'm painting, he doesn't do very well at keeping himself occupied. There's only so much a kid can do out in the yard alone, and the tv becomes too convenient. (We've had his eyes examined, and the doctor says he can't focus well yet--he needs eye therapy, so until we have insurance again, reading by himself is a rather short-term occupation.) While his friends were over, they would one by one come into the entry where I was using an extension rod to reach the highest portions of the wall. The extension goes up about 15 feet, I'd guess, and I think it's very nifty. May God bless the person who invented that, and all his offspring! I never would paint those walls without it--a person could die from the fall from a ladder!
I was pretty surprised at the boys' choice of questions. "What are you doing?" (This with two five-gallon paint buckets, one one-gallon paint can, a painting tray, various brushes, a roller, wet rags and little corner tools etc. scattered across the floor where I was working, and the extension rod in my hands.) "Painting." "Oh." (Two boys asked that.) "What color are you painting?" asked another, later. "Brown," I said, holding a paintbrush with brown paint in my hand. I was touching up the paint over the front door at that point. When I was using the extension rod, I thought that would catch their attention more than anything, but none of them seemed to be in the least impressed by it.
Considering the low cost of paint, it hugely improves the looks of the place--that and the cleaning of cobwebs and dust that I discover along the way. Our ledges over our entry were huge dust collectors, and having cleaned and painted them, the climb up the stairs seems much brighter and will be easier to clean with the shinier paint. I've painted the high entry walls, the ledges, the stairway down to the basement, the family room, and I'm now working on painting our bedroom. I also touched up a number of other walls. There are a few more rooms to go. I found two places where just-painted corners got nicked again, needing plaster and texture before paint, and about four just-painted walls where fingerprints and mud splashes repopulated the surface. I guess I can be thankful that we only have one boy around most of the time! I may never finish, at this rate.
Still, I rarely feel this productive. It's easy to let a lot of time go by without doing anything that has a long-term effect to it, and many days would seem to have nothing much to show for them. Sad to think how short-term this long-term thing actually is...we'll only physically see it for as long as we own the house. If I didn't think it would help to sell it, I probably wouldn't bother. Hopefully it will make it sell faster, and maybe for more money, so that we'll be able to buy the next house with less debt than otherwise.
It makes me want all the more to focus on the things that give my life the longest-term effect for the time and energy invested in them. Cooking and cleaning are so daily and ongoing that it's hard to see any long-term good in them. I guess raising kids and being married (hopefully all to the glory of God) and growing in faith are the long-term, nay, eternal elements of being an at-home wife and mother...the dishwashing and cooking and laundry, and even painting, are just necessary distractions along the way.

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