A Little Slap
It's been quite a week.
Well, truthfully, it's been two weeks. I've been balancing out the work that I do for my author, the work he and I are doing on the Florence Klotz estate; I have been hired by the executrix of the Florence Klotz estate to help organize the personal matters, aside from my work on the business matters. I have had to continue my work with my photographic clients; and I continue my work as the best housespouse in Manhattan. And the gym. Leave us, never, forget the gym.
I also threw my friend, Marci, a birthday party. To prepare for this party I decided to paint the kitchen. Have mercy. I had a week to do it. I knew that the week before the party would be spent cooking and cleaning--and there was limited amounts of time to do that because of my dayjob(s). So one night on the way home from the gym I asked Pat if we could stop at Home Depot. We spent a long time looking at different options for wall decorating. There are these beautiful shades of colours in this material that you scrape on with a trowel and then you scrape on a lighter or darker shade, later, to make a marbled effect. It was just what I wanted. But it was too complicated, too much work and too much money. So we bought paint and a roller.
I have painted rooms before, to disastrous effect. It never works out for me. I just make a mess. But this time I was determined.
That very night I began stripping old paint off of a window sill. I had done this before on two different doorways and never finished. It is a long and boring process and I HATE it. You strip with either a liquid paint remover or a heat gun; and in a New York apartment you are stripping YEARS of paint and many different coats. UNadvisable. The doorway to the living room remained unfinished, as did the door to The Happy Room and, now, the window from to the a/c shaft. Ech. More on that later, I decided and I began to paint. I was going to paint the walls to that kitchen, hell or high water. So I went to bed with the paint stripping project in full force and the next day, when Pat left for work, I began to paint.
Pat chose the colour. It was a beautiful sunflower-y colour that would make the room bright. I was happy with it and I hoped he would be, too. Well, he was. After the initial shock of going to work with dingy grey/white walls with cracks and nail holes and velcro sticky from wall hangings from the past and coming home to bright yellow walls, he stood in the middle of the room and said it made all the difference in the world.
The next day came the hard part. The trim. I had white paint, which I used on all the baseboards. Then I ran to the paint store for a few quarts of red, blue and pale green paint that I splashed on these paints in various places around the baseboards. Well. I didn't splash them on. I took painstaking care to paint them on in fine lines--blue over here, red over here, etc.. And for the doors I chose a colour and a technique and painted them. One was a rag-on technique, the other was rag-off and the other was dragging. I taped and painted and pulled. I found a way to use the unfinished stripping to create a (seeming) purposefully unfinished look. It took days and days and, finally, on a Sunday morning, Pat went for a massage and I promised myself that I would paint the ceiling and have the kitchen finished by the time he got home.
When he walked in, it was as though the room had always looked that way. The only thing left to do was hang the wall hangings. I knew that I wanted to hang one of my grandmother's sketches and some real artwork--paintings and drawings. I knew that I wanted to hang a photo of Pat and I with our son and I knew that I wanted to hang a photo of my idol, Brian Kinney. Naturally, the portrait of my mother would stay where it was; and I thought it would be good to hang my letter from Katharine Hepburn over my desk. Ah. My signed photo from Mae West (my grandfather's onetime employer) would go nicely, there, too. And the colours in the mask Jennifer Houston made me for Christmas a few years ago would be perfect against the yellow wall. And that tiny watercolour I had bought at that auction that summer I saw Nancy LaMott sing in upstate New York. A photo of Tom and me would be nice...but the origami swan he made me would be more interesting. And the huge P and S that Tony and Jim gave us HAD to be incorporated into the room. Mom and Dad brought me some trivets from Portugal and they gave me an olive oil jug expressly to go in my Tuscan kitchen. I had all the fixins. Just needed to hang them up and place them around the room... AND wait for the ones to arrive from Texas!
I called and asked my mom to send them. One is a painting she, herself, did; I have always loved it. The other two are paintings my parents acquired in Portugal; she gave them to me when I went to college. They are going to look perfect in my new kitchen. I hope that soon, the landlord might give us new flooring, new cabinets and a new stove. I doubt that it will happen. He has been promising us these things for three years, going on four. And when one is a renter, there isn't a whole heckuva lot one can do, especially on a limited income. The best one can do is keep the place as clean as possible and cut your suit to fit your cloth. But at least I have the peace of mind in knowing that I can do something new, something important.
I can take control of my space and make it more live-able, more comfortable, more home-y.
And I know the truth:
I could never have done it if not for the film UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN. It was my inspiration and my guide, my beacon of light.
In so, so many ways....