One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

August 19, 2010

Renos Day Five

You have a lot of time to think while washing walls and applying coats of paint.

Washing Ethan’s walls I think about Where the Wild Things Are. Each time I come to a new hole in the wall, I see scenes in the movie of Max’s destructive streak. Ethan’s rage, like Max’s rage, makes him destroy even things that are important to him.

I think about the book, and how deeply the story has been embedded in Ethan’s childhood.

I probably read that book to Ethan every single day for eighteen months straight. There is a certain way that I have to read it – the right cadence, the right emphasis that I have taken from a daycare worker of my childhood. How many times could she have read us that book? I only went to that daycare for a couple of months, but she read it with such certainty and drama, and she was one of my favourites, so I paid attention.

We watched the movie only recently. My cousin had written months ago, “Hey Megan, I saw Wild Things today. It made me think of Ethan. Not in a helpful way or anything, it just did.”

That may be why I avoided watching it for so long, even though I had purchased it. Finally, after months of having it sit around the house, we found an evening to watch it. And I kept leaking tears all the way through. “They forgot the scenes where this fantasy world gives him the lessons he needs in order to understand and work with his anger and then he goes back to the real world ready to deal with things and grows up to be happy and successful,” I said tearfully to Ian when it was over. I obviously took it too personally.

Later, Ian said, “there was such a fuss about that movie when it was coming out, and then the fuss just seemed to fizzle. It never got mentioned or took off like it should have.”

“Probably,” I said, “the people who understand the dynamics were a little uncomfortable with the movie’s refusal to be easy. And the people who don’t understand were all, ‘why won’t somebody just give that kid boundaries?’

Sometimes as we work, we puzzle over the little things we unearth and wonder about the last people who worked on the room.

There were little pieces of newspaper behind the baseboard. Nothing exciting in the newspaper – just a piece of the business section. Bland white businessmen in bland 80s business-suits. The most exciting thing was their mustaches. So many amazing mustaches in business in 89.

We found newspaper when we tore apart some wall in the basement at Robespierre too. Is that a thing? To put a current newspaper into your renos for future homeowners to find?

Painting in Rachel’s closet, I say, “you know, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s still a bit of lathe and plaster in the back of this closet. This wall seems more pitted than drywall typically gets.” And Ian says, “I was wondering that about this wall that goes straight and then makes that pathetically weak angle just as it gets to the door, and whether that was because a new wall got poorly framed so it didn’t quite meet up with an old wall.”

I love old houses.

I picked the color for Rachel’s wall at a local lumber store – so I decided to get the paint mixed there for the sake of shopping locally. Ethan’s was picked from one of the C.I.L. cards at Home Depot, so I just got it mixed up there. So then I made the mistake of treating Rachel’s paint like it was C.I.L. or Behr – when, evidently, it was thin and prone to separating if you let it sit for five minutes. I did not, therefore, adequately shake or stir it before painting with it. So the first coat was really thin, didn’t cover, left drips, and was quite dark. When I went to cut in on the second coat, I noticed that the last wall of the first coat was a great deal lighter than the first wall was. And that my second coat cutting in was lighter than all of them. I surveyed my poor coverage and thought, “even if I stir it religiously to keep it homogenous from here on in, I’ll probably have to do three coats just to even this out.” So I took the paint chip to Home Depot to get them to colour match it in a better quality paint.

Though, not before the paint counter guy treated me like I was just being a crybaby. “Nothing’s going to give you coverage after one coat. Look at this demo here of the paint plus primer – EVEN THAT you can see the old colour if you look up close.” “You know that latex paint takes about twenty four hours to settle.” “You know that any paint is going to settle.”


Came home and applied the Behr and I think I’m all done painting walls now. Though, as I was painting the new paint on, I realized that the colour I had chosen was really more blue than I thought. The original pink had been showing through enough to make my blue a lovely lilacy purple. This paint is not supposed to be purple, evidently. So that beautiful purple in this picture? It is now just dark blue. Oh well, I am not painting another coat.

The subfloor is down. The planks are all cut and half nailed down for Ethan’s room. Tomorrow we’ll do the planks for Rachel’s room and then start the ceiling panels.

Then we have to get the ceiling painted, the floor treated and varathaned, the baseboard and trim up, new light fixtures installed, curtain rods hung and the beds and linens finished. Whah.

I mean, we’ll get there.

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