Friday, 13 June 2008

Thanks Dad :)

"You're gonna get paint all over yourself and everything, I can see it coming." - Dad

Those menacing words. All the more aggravating when it actually happens. I love to paint rooms. The whole process energizes me. Picking out colors, gathering supplies, preparing surfaces and then just doing it. I am a painter at heart. It's all I want to do. Before and Afters. Trouble is... I paint not only walls but clothes, hands, arms, face. Everything. The paint gets ALL over the brushes, the paint can, the floor...everything. It's just a mess and no matter how I try to overcome this tendency, no matter which precautions are taken to eliminate the unwanted splashes and spills, it's just inevitable. Something is going to happen. Even when I am not actually engaged in the process of painting 'something' has happened. Transporting paint for example. This should be uncomplicated. You make sure the can is closed tightly. Still, somehow, I don't know, but somehow it manages to work itself open. While driving with paint in my trunk, I take a turn and a can comes open. Every car I have ever owned has a paint all over the inside of the trunk. Last summer, while cleaning the trunk, I accidentally spilled a quart of white paint on the street in front of my parent's house. I've toppled ladders with paint trays perched on them, forgotten to watch where I am walking, stepped in and knocked over paint cans. I've leaned into walls with wet paint. Ruined clothes. Gone to work the next day with paint in my hair and fingernails. Or I drop the can and it opens. Earlier this year, I fumbled while unlocking the front door, in the dark. As the door opened, I dropped the bag with the can, in the dark. Lemmee just get the light here. All over the floor, the wall. Son of's seeping down the hall. Ruined my front door rug. Ruined my good Kenneth Cole leather bag from Kenny T. Oh no. Not my only real leather bag. WAAAaaaahaha.....I dropped everything and ran to the sink, dumped everything out and scrubbed it senseless. Hung it up to dry. Ruined. After 4 months I've finally let it go. Goodbye Kenny. Me and paint collide, but give me a brush and I'm into it.

My plan yesterday was to finish up the painting the stairs at my folks house, before moving on to bedroom wall in the 'guest room', where I had previously spackled. One final coat of paint and I'm finished. The guest room. When we kids were growing up, this was the room you got if you were picked to have your own. It wasn't as if you had to earn it, it just worked out that way. I know E had her time in the room. The baby brother had the room which freed up my other brother to have his room as well. Not sure about L. I never had the opportunity and could care less about having a room of my own. I think that was because I got along pretty well with both sisters. We would talk for hours into the night, until we fell asleep which was nice. Sometimes our talking would turn to laughing, suddenly interrupted by his whispered but firm " Shaddup!....Get to sleep!"

Off the topic. I love the comfort of sisterly conversation. No need for isolation. When we were younger, my mother would come in and tuck us in, and give us the little sign of the cross on our foreheads. Sometimes she'd come in and remind us of our many blessings, driving it home with powerful imagery. " There are children who have to sleep on the ground tonight, without dinner. Cold and crying." She always reminded us to pray for the poor and thank God for everything we have. That's Mom, always instilling a sense of gratitude for the littlest things. "In jail, you have to sleep on a board and all they give you to eat is bread and water. Nothing on it." I don't remember the context of the jail talk but at least you got to eat in prison. Some people in the world are starving. Poor starving children. Without a blanket. Mom needed for us to realize that not everybody lived a comfortable life, that there was plenty of pain and suffering beyond our little world, and that we ought to be grateful for our family and parents who loved and cared for us. Being grateful would undo the guilt of knowing I had it better. And when we got a little older and eager to make a run for it, we might consider there were also people in the world who would kill us for nothing.

That one troubled me. What was to be gained by killing a person for nothing? Why would anyone cause harm to another person? Especially a stranger who had done them no wrong? I was thinking that maybe this crazy person was taking his orders from someone else. But why? She'd just say that some people in the world were crazy and would do anything for no reason at all. Just be grateful that we are safe and loved, fed, clothed, and warm. And try not to stir up trouble with strangers. Pray for protection. As for my own room? Who wants to sleep alone? Besides. I already had it ALL, just not having to go to bed hungry, in a cold cave without a blanket or pillow. Thank God for my pillow! And who needs a canopy bed when you've got a perfectly sturdy trundle? We'd wrap up the bedtime chats with the prayer.'and if I die before I wake...I pray the Lord my soul to take. No wonder I would get up in the middle of the night to check the doors and make sure there wasn't any loose paper under the furnace.

My mom encouraged creativity and bought us neon paints and posters to tape up but holes were highly discouraged. Elena dated a boy named Charlie (married), and painted his name, which was also a perfume at the time, on her closet doors and desk. Some time in the 70s I painted a Godspell Jesus on the wall in the closet with white paint. I certainly loved Jesus back in the 70s. Played that record all the time and memorized every word. Just painted over him the other day. Bye Jesus. When the paint dried he was still bleeding through. I just love that Jesus (sigh)...

SO. Just some final sanding here and a second coat of paint. Half an hour tops. Dad was home alone while Mom was off to hear some naturalist speak on 'Hormones in the Aging Woman'. I was going to get this done before her return.

I hadn't even opened the can yet. This time, I will prove him wrong. And I did. Up until it was time to pull up the blue tape from the edges of steps. Next thing I know, it's in a big ball sticking to my hands and the ends are stuck to my orange tee shirt. Rats. The man just has to be right. He's down there guessing the Jeopardy Answers.

" I heard this guy had a stroke. He had his arm in a sling for a while. He's okay now."

"Who, Alex Trivec? Alex Trivec had a stroke?"

"Yeah.... I guess it was time."


"Time for something to happen."

"Things don't HAVE to happen, do they? Geez. Couldn't you just live healthy and not have anything happen?

" Things happen. He's cutting back a little."

"Well I guess he should. Does he still have that mustache? Oh shizzle...paint on my...sheesh"

" Trivec. You think he's French?"

"Sounds like it, Dad. He could be." Maybe Canadian, on second thought. I'll have to look him up.

" You're done, right? You should be done by now. Take a break, Geen."
Spoken as I spotted an indentation in the freshly painted wall. Drats. Must have sanded off of the dam spackle. Can't wait. Respackled over tacky paint. Not good. Everything I do I have to do over again. Nothing goes on right the first time. Sixth grade. I remember making a cave for a science fair project. My siblings helped me. Chicken wire and plaster on a heavy piece of plywood painted brown. It was hideous. I started it in school and the kids were LAUGHING at me, Cracking up...
I heard 'em, the Dumbasses.
"Look at that thing she's making there", laughing hysterically, both in front of and behind my back.
"Oh, Don't you worry," I said, "this is gonna come out nice.... and it's gonna probably win something".
Maybe I just ignored them and 'kept on keeping on'( Jan Brady style), silently fuming while piling on the wet strips of newspaper. They'll see. I could tell my teacher felt sorry for me, and was struggling to keep a straight face.
"Be quiet boys. It's looking promising, Gina."
I will NEVER forget how she turned around right after saying that. God bless her. Imagine if she busted out laughing with the rest of them?
"Just wait, Mrs. P. Wait 'til tomorrow. They have no idea what I am gonna do here."
"Are you sure you can get that done by tomorrow?" It was a late start but I work well under pressure.
" Yes. I'm bringing it home." (praying my sister E and brother V could work a miracle on it. Dear God of difficult to impossible science projects, I need help. Thanks.
"Jerks. You'll see."
" You wish, Morrone." ...

Side story:I will never forget Dominick A telling me how 'I wished I could run'. Then he told me that I can't run 'for beans', and then he turns to Eddie P. isn't that right Eddie? Oh...I see. Eddie knew otherwise but he agreed. 'you wish you could run'. One time, he told me that I was the type to commit suicide. What a sick thing to tell a girl. I remember the shock of hearing those words and looking at him incredulously. I rebuke that in the name of Jesus. " Ew. That's a disgusting thing to say to me. How can you even say that to me? YOU DON'T ME AT ALL! " I had a crush on him right up until then. Dumbass. 6th grade boys can be so nasty. It was a difficult year for me. The lice epidemic, the sudden shag hair cut. The panic attacks. The elephant bell plaid pants and sweater vests. The over sized costume necklaces. The dance. that Craparo girl with her perfect hair and snickering whispers and thick eyebrows. The training bra. The only highlight was my cave, and the Medieval fair ( I designed a candle dipping booth that they laughed at too until it was done and was a smash). It didn't help with Angie being in Mr. Jecks class. The French horn failure. The spilling of the blue leather dye. Getting screamed at. Not being able to do get the Halloween bulletin board done while the other kids went out for recess. Ugh....a bad year indeed.

Back to the cave: Mom picked me up and helped me carry it out of the building. They're just jealous, she said. We got some tempera paints. My sisters and brothers helped me carry it into the garage. We made all kinds of colored stalagmites and stalactites (out of Playdough) and stuck a mirror inside like an underground pool of water, and an orange light, from one of those candles in the window. By the time we were done, that cave looked every bit like the Batcave. A replica of Luray Caverns. A rocky/grassy hill from 3 sides, back and top...and a really cool cavern you'd almost want to shrink yourself down to explore. It got an honorable mention. More importantly it set the tone for my entire life experience. I'm sloppy but I'm good. And I work hard. Honorable mention.

"Take a break, Bean. You're working too hard. Get some sleep."

"Sleep? It's daylight and at least 90 degrees in here! Please. Just lemmee finish this and get home."

" No one is going to notice."

"I'll notice."

" No one sees it, no one sleeps in there. No one cares."

" I see it. I'm almost done"( struggling to get the second layer of spackle to stick to wet paint and trying not to curse too much). Son of a...I'm just gonna leave it and come back next week.

" So how'd you like that dinner?"

Dad had taken Mom and I out earlier this afternoon to the recently refurbished 'Harpoon Willies' on the Manasquan River. That, after paying the balance on my car loan. I still can't believe they did that. Shocked. They've been talking about that. I show up and he grabs his checkbook and says " Come on. We're going to your bank."

"Why are you doing this?" I am so grateful but at the same time, feel funny taking so much from them. Cause we love you and don't want you paying the interest. It's not the first time. My parents saved my house from foreclosure when those lying thieves gutted it. They paid a good builder to come in and fix the mess. They allowed me to take that summer off from work to help finish the project until the house sold. The closing went down just as I started this new job. The timing was perfect. Everyone was paid back but I always felt that they really should have gotten more. Mom and Dad kept me out of the loony bin when the pressure was on and I was about to take a job on the parkway as a welcome girl for 7 dollars an hour. Looking back I can see how broken I must have felt at the time. They stepped in. No daughter of theirs was going to be welcoming people into the pit stop. " You'll lose your mind" my Mother said. Hope was never lost.

"Yeah, Dad. Best fish tacos I ever had. Thanks, Dad. How'd you like that place?"

" Pretty good, but they have to fix that window. Are you done yet?"

"Yeah, I'm done. for now. Have to come back to finish it. Thanks for the car, Dad. You and Mom are the BEST. Now I don't have to think about it, and can put the money toward retirement. It's a load off my mind. I'm going home. Love you. XOX"

"Love you too, Bean. Get some rest.":)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You crack me up Gee! I laughed. I cried, but I highly doubt you thanked God for your pillow that night E stopped by for a little evil fun. Yeah... Mom and dad are the best,most-giving folks alive! How can they not be with a daughter that does so much for them and criekies! dad can be so mean with his comments he prolly feels bad? You are great just like them.