reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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paintclothes. [two artists tuesday]

we are painting the bathroom. this is no small task. first of all, the trim – including both sides of the closet door – is barn red. barn red. that is not an easy color to cover. i loved it back in the day. now…somewhere i guess 20 years later…it is time to paint it. (the painting aces among you are shaking your heads, horrified at the time-inbetween paint jobs, but time has a way of flying by and old houses demand your attention in ways other than paint.)

we went to ace hardware, the neighborhood store, happily singing, “ace is the place of the helpful hardware folks” as we drove. we had picked up samples and had spoken to a helpful paint guy last weekend and so all the decisions were made and it was merely time to go have the paint mixed and buy all the necessary supplies. i have to say – we really loved our neighborhood experience. we know we might have spent a tad bit more on our benjamin moore paint and the new brushes, but we had real help and lovely conversations with real people, like the gal mixing our paint, who were interested in what we were doing and the questions we had. kind of old-timey.

the problem came yesterday morning.

during the work week, while david was toiling upstairs in his office, i was in the bathroom washing down all the walls and trim and then vinegaring the walls. now, this is not-quite-as-advertised. i had read numerous articles about this – including one by the ever-trusted bob vila of “this old house” fame. the first thing they don’t mention is that when you “saturate the wall” it immediately starts dripping long long driplines…there is no recommendation on how to handle this without wiping, which is un-saturating the wall, if you ask me. just sayin. then they tell you to wait an hour while the vinegar dries and then you can go back and “brush off the mold” (in our case, less of a mold, more of a mildew.) this.is.not.true. you cannot simply “brush” it off. goodness, no. instead, you get one of those rough green sponge thingies and grab your spray bottle of vinegar and you spray and scrub, spray and scrub. hopefully you are wearing glasses or goggles and a mask and rubber gloves because the vinegar (and the mold spores apparently) get everywhere. it’s all part of the fun. 😉

but i digress.

once all that was done, it was time to start painting. two coats of zinsser and two coats of bath and spa awaited us.

we got back from “the ace” and headed to change into painting clothes. herein lies the problem…i had just taken the first giant load of clothing and such from the going-through-every-single-thing-in-the-house-effort to goodwill. i had given away clothing that didn’t quiiiiite fit or that i wasn’t as fond of anymore or that i would never wear again. as a really messy painter, what on earth was i going to wear to paint? drama ensued.

i finally found a pair of the local high school sweatpants and an old long-sleeve t-shirt (i’m sure you are relieved to read that) so that i could mosey into the bathroom slightly later than d, who, unsurprisingly, had no problem picking out paintclothes, and start cutting in.

yikes. what else have i given away, i wonder. it’s too late. the second set of goodwill boxes are piling up. i refuse to go look at them once again. it has taken days to try everything on or look at everything and decide what to do with it.

i will load them up and move them out.

and return to start a few more.

*****

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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bird by bird. [k.s. friday]

the mallards are back. a male and a female. they were hanging out across the street on the corner in the grass next to the sidewalk by the bus stop sign. i couldn’t help but smile; they are a welcome sight.

the robins have been gently waking us before dawn – their birdcalls, wafting through an always-partially-opened-window, a soft entry into a new day. i wake, listening to them and other early birds, then slip back to sleep for a few-more-minutes.

after what feels like a long winter, accentuated by the pandemic’s limitations, the mallards, the robins, the tiny flowers poking out of the grass and alongside the trail, all harbingers that spring is actually coming to wisconsin. really, really.

there is a temptation to clean out the gardens, to neaten and tidy up. but rule of thumb – wait until the daytime is at least 50 degrees for 7-10 days – puts the nix on this. wisconsin is not 50 degrees even two days in a row yet. the robins and the mallards roll their eyes.

so, the spring cleaning juju goes inside and we spend any extra energy readying our home for throwing open the windows, allowing the sun to stream in, cleaning out the cobwebs and the (ahem!) dust of the past seasons.

we changed our sitting room last weekend. we put up fresh paintings, moved things around, pared down. the sitting room is between the hallway and the master bedroom and, though with a comfy couch and chair, has often felt merely like a walk-through. we pause now. it feels peaceful and inviting. a little re-arranging, a little re-decorating and it is a space luring me to curl up, read a book, write poetry, sit and ponder.

we are moving around the house now, doing the same as last weekend. the dining room has bags and bins and boxes filling up – things to donate. the basement, also. it will take some time. this is not the first time i have written about this lengthy process, nor will it, likely, be the last. it is a journey. i’m taking it bird by bird. (anne lamott)

the next room up is my studio. it has too many remnants of past workplaces, too many packages of stuff, too much in it to feel inviting or peaceful. i stand in the doorway and wonder if the mallards would turn away, grimacing, were this to be where their homing instinct returned them.

i know that the sitting room’s new persona, so to speak, has encouraged me to sit, to stay there a while.

i wonder if the studio will do the same. cleaned out, tidied, pared down. bird by bird.

full stick and an empty piano bench are a powerful invitation.

*****

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