is really like writing a book. First, you must prepare. You must research the paint. You must determine if you need semi-gloss or something different. You must figure out how much you need. Then you must go get the paint.
You must also tape mirrors and trim. You must stir things until your elbow aches. You must move furniture and wall-hangings. You must use a ladder to reach the high places.
You need the right tools. You need good brushes. You need paper towels. You need the paint can opener. You need a drop cloth or lots of wet paper towels.
Most of all, you need determination.
This old-fashioned quality is required permanently in life, whether painting or writing books, or, hey, parenting. Considered after the fact, determination is that actually quite lovely quality of stick-to-itiveness that looks so matter-of-fact and sweaty and not exactly attractive as you’re deciding to embrace it.
But it means that at hour six of painting when you think that the crick in your neck is permanent from slapping semi-gloss white Valspar on the ceiling for forever, you keep going. Hour six separates the real painters from the wannabees.
I painted eight hours straight. I brought my leftover pizza and diet Coke up. I cranked up 95.7 FM, “the Ridge,” on my little black radio. All those classic hits filled the day with joy. I opened the window. From that second floor, I enjoyed the view of sun-yellow daffodils, what my son calls, “the farm of flowers,” in our backyard.
It was a warm spring day, and I painted trim, all the baseboards and molding. I painted rust-colored ceiling spots with stain blocker, where a tree that crashed into our roof created short-term leaks and more stubborn stains. A few coats of stain blocker erased them and replaced them with nothing but shine.
I got the kids’ bathroom sparkling. It smells clean, it looks new, and it is gorgeous. And it only cost me a few dollars in paint, some elbow grease, and stick-to-itiveness.
On the days that I paint, I’m thankful to be alive.
That also goes for writing, teaching, and especially for parenting. Each life is short. I will dance while I can.