Sunday, October 30, 2011

It used to be that when I'd paint I'd be all sloppy, interested more in the outcome, half-assed as it was, than in the process, the knowledge that what I was doing was being done well. It wasn't about people coming over and saying "Oh! Isabel sure did a neat, methodical job on those cabinets!" but the knowledge that shit was getting done quickly. Crappy as the cabinets looked with bits of masking tape still showing, here and there, and the interiors as neglected, as yellowed and ghetto as they'd been in the 60's, all I cared was that, come on, the fronts were blue now! There was color! I had done my work and anyway, HELLO, I HATE PAINTING.

Times have changed, and I am now an adult. The ripe old age of almost-38 has taught me a thing or two--namely, a thing or two about painting...


1. Choose a small space, like a closet or a bathroom, for your first project. If it's a closet, drag a bathtub/horse trough up to it; if it's a bathroom, use the bathtub that's already there.

2. Open can of paint with a spoon. If that doesn't work, use your teeth. While calling the dentist (because of resulting "teeth"), use power drill to create holes in paint can and, simultaneously, to ease stress caused by fact that eating, talking, swallowing, and other basic life skills will be problematic for a while. With free hand, pat self on back for multitasking!

3. Pour contents of paint can in bathtub/trough. Stir vigorously with foot.

4. Remove clothing. If paint is red, bloody shirt (from teeth issues) can be wrung into it, creating a DIY organic effect. Pride self on resourcefulness, then jump into paint.

5. Naked, roll in the paint. Cover hair with it. Pretend you are engaging in a strange alien ritual. Make it more convincing by screaming "EEP! EEP! PIXELLATION IS THE HANDIWORK OF OSCAR MEYER!" Disregard the knocking on the front door.

6. When thoroughly drenched, get out of tub/trough and approach an area that needs to be painted. Place self against the area; rub.

7. Continue to rub self against the area, effectively painting. Using the snow-angel, windmill, and eggbeater techniques, cover as much space as possible as quickly as possible. This is called efficiency, and it is the cornerstone of living life maturely.

8. When you get to hard-to-reach places like the inside corners of cabinets, do a quick assessment of body parts that will fit in there and proceed accordingly. Sometimes, you'll find, only your butt will do. This is normal, especially if the space is shaped like a giant cinnamon roll.

9. When entire area is painted, lie in bathtub/horse trough for a well-earned rest. Gazing at the ceiling, now covered in turquoise imprints of your butt, reflect on the leaps and bounds your painting skills and overall maturity have made; you might have the "teeth" of a 1-year-old, but your wisdom is shining through for all to see…

10. Rouse self from paint-fume-induced hallucinogenic trance and briefly wonder about the knocking on the front door. Still delighted with your ingenuity and your ability to commune, while painting, with Oscar Meyer, skip towards the door. Feeling as ecstatic as that time you ate an entire bag of mushrooms, open the door, turn around, and moon the policemen--moon convention, rules, and responsibility!--with your turquoise-painted butt.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's 1:27 p.m. and I'm trying to type really quietly so as not to wake up Malko, a.k.a. Harbinger Of Noisy Destruction. He finally fell asleep around 12 after yelling "PAPA'S BED!! PAPA'S BED!!" no less than 180 times, during which I gritted my teeth and sent him the telepathic message Suck It. I'm all about respecting my needs, yo, and my needs were telling me to ignore his insane, demented, loud, obnoxious demands to "take a nap" in the parental bed. My needs were that he needed to shut the hell up. In his bed.

Funny I should talk so roughly about my child after having a little breakdown, yesterday, about the impermanence of life--specifically, about the unrelenting possibility of one's child getting sick or having an accident and everything quickly turning into a nightmare. I recently learned that one of Malko's nannies, Jessica*, lost a child to cancer years ago, and putting that knowledge next to her ever-smiling, uncomplaining face was a shock. I've always wondered how people who've lost a child go on, how they manage to act normal, and to be so physically close to Jessica's reality--to witness, in a way, what I imagine is a constant struggle--was more than a little moving. I imagined myself in her shoes, working as a nanny thousands of miles away from the country she grew up in, from the place where her seven-year-old son died. How does she do it? How does she look at Malko, the same age her son was when he got sick, without bursting into tears? How does she keep it together?

I try not to think about this kind of thing--children dying--too much, but the fear, the worries, the thoughts are always floating around on the periphery, and sometimes I think that's a good thing: it makes me appreciate what I have. Believe me, I know what a ridiculously perfect life I have: our kids are healthy and happy, we have a comfortable home, we have safe water to drink and lots of food to eat. We have loving family and friends, and luxuries beyond belief.

I try to appreciate these things daily, to really think about how lucky I am, and most days, to a certain degree, I'm able to sustain awareness of our good fortune. Sometimes, though, like today before Malko fell asleep, I revert to the me who bitches and complains, who wishes my kid would shut the hell up so I can sit down and finally, finally write an entry in my blog, an entry that says, I hope, how much I love him.

*not her real name