Painting the Walls

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Martin Hash
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Painting the Walls

Post by Martin Hash » Tue Apr 27, 2021 11:58 am

We built our house 2 decades ago. Though the house is elegant, my wife, Gwynne, isn’t really much for showy; she likes light-colored furniture, and white walls. The thing about white walls is that’s it’s pretty easy to tell if they’re dirty: after 20 years, our walls are not dirty but that didn’t stop Gwynne from wanting to paint them.
“They look fine,” I countered, exasperated.
But she was adamant: “I want to use semi-gloss paint so they’ll wash easier.”
“They’ve washed up fine so far,” I pointed out.
“We’re going to have grandkids over, “she retorted.
“Do you know how much it’s going to cost?” I tried to scare her.
“I’m going to do it myself,” she announced.
We went around-and-around about painting; finally, I simply capitulated because I know that look, I’d seen it many times before; you don’t stay married for 4 decades without knowing it. I decided not to mention that a frail 65-year old woman on a tall ladder was a very questionable idea.

The thing is, our ceilings are high: the Living room is 25’. It took my son, Heath, all afternoon to set up the scaffolding so Gwynne could paint it herself. He had to come over special. She spent weeks painting every wall in the house; Heath had to keep moving the scaffolding.
“Why’s Mom painting?” Heath surreptitiously asked me.
“I gave up asking that question,” I replied.
“It’s the same color as before,” Heath observed.
“No, it’s a little different; I thought the same thing but when I got close to a place where she hadn’t painted yet, I could tell the difference.”
Heath just nodded; we’d had this conversation before about other things. After Gwynne was done with the Living room, she wanted some new décor, so she had Heath put some big vases high on a shelf.
“Those are going to fall on someone’s head,” Heath warned.
Gwynne didn’t seem concerned; she just stood there smiling, looking up at her new vases framed against her newly painted walls.


Finally all the straight up-and-down walls were done but there was still the 2 circular stairwells.
“Looks great everywhere,” I told Gwynne, trying to convince her that not painting the stairs was fine, especially since the ceilings above them were higher than our tallest ladder, but she would not be detoured. She called Heath and had him make a platform for one side of the ladder to set on, and then had him come over every couple hours to move it. Luckily he was working a jobsite nearby. I had to hang around within earshot in case there was some problem. One time while Heath was there, him and I were talking in the kitchen and we heard a yelp from the circular stairs. We ran in, concerned, and Gwynne was at the top of the ladder with one leg extended out against the wall preventing the ladder from sliding away. Heath quickly righted it with her still at the top.
“I’ll have to repaint that,” she said matter-of-factly, pointing at the shoeprint.

Gwynne Painting.jpg

Gwynne got the first stairway done in about a week, and the second one, the larger, higher, more difficult one, painted in just 3 days.
“Well, Mom, you got to paint the walls all by yourself,” Heath congratulated her.
“You know how much it would have cost to hire somebody.” Gwynne replied triumphantly.
“I’m guessing about the same price as a hospital visit,” I responded.
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