Monday, 18 August 2008

Reluctant royalty

After recent weeks I have been dubbed the official “Painting Queen” by my family. The irony is that I am not crazy about painting. I am even less keen about the work that precedes it – the scraping, sanding, hole filling and sugar soaping that is required before one can even start thinking about painting. I’ve noticed that most people who volunteer to help with painting (not a huge selection so my conclusion are not statistically significant) turn up ready to paint and turn up their noses at the prep work. A notable exception is my mother who valiantly sanded, washed and painted many windows when she was here.

My list of work-related injuries is mounting, but I haven’t yet fallen off the ladder. The injuries are limited to scrapes, bangs, bruises, pulled muscles and what looks like a permanent French manicure but which is really encrusted white primer under my nails. In a sign of our increasing seriousness, we bought a second ladder. Mr Blithe can then be fitting trim and fixing ceiling gaps while painting continues unabated. This particular ladder has a panel affixed to one side that lists all the things one should not do while up the ladder including the following dire and comprehensive list:

“Do not use this ladder if you tire easily or are subject to fainting spells. are using medication, drugs or alcohol, are pregnant or physically handicapped.”

Blithe Girl pointed out that if I were using drugs or alcohol, I probably wouldn’t be reading warning labels. I might even be sitting above the second step or resting my feet on the paint holder! I personally like the injunction against people who tire easily. What if you are already tired from months of renovations? Will they provide a suitable painting contractor?

The sad thing is that we have been painting for a long time and still have so much more to go. However, last night I remembered that it took the painter about two weeks of solid work to paint our then existing house so my track record isn’t too bad. Completed are the laundry, toilet and nook. The hallway and joining section are all undercoated. All the trim is finished in these sections. I don’t think you realise how much trim there is in an old house until you have to replace most of it. Merry Girl is especially pleased that the “mouse-keeping-out-boards” are installed in the hallway (what we would call skirting or kick boards).

Between painting and multitudinous school and other activities I have intended many times to sit down and write but have been ambushed by exhaustion and lack of time. The Residents’ Association and the Historical Society are launching their websites next week and we are rushing to tidy up the site and get some of our advertising up. Somehow, I have volunteered to mock up several of the advertising banners. That’s the big push for this week. I’m also meant to be doing the “guided tour” of the site at the launch and have to work out what to say. The mayor and assorted dignitaries will be there and I’m wondering if I should sneak my house completion documentation to them. I’m sure the building branch of council would accept the mayor’s signature on a paper napkin with smears of icing, aren’t you? After all, I am royalty.

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