After we got the kids to bed tonight, I came into the den to discover that the carpet was covered in a colorful blanket of tiny paper slivers that Carlos had cut from a junk mail circular. No big deal–I had given him the safety scissors and the flyer before I walked out to take a call from my friend, Rachel. It’s just that in the 30 minutes I was occupied….yeah, those of you with kids are laughing right now, right? What could go wrong??
He hadn’t cut his hair or the sofa or the dog’s tail. But he had sliced up the program from Vivi’s theater camp performance, a stack of yellow Post It notes, a bag that had held some leftover chips from Willy’s, a few other pieces of mail, and one very special list that he unearthed from the back of my desk drawer.
When G came in and found me standing there in the middle of the paper flurry, transfixed by the piece of white paper that I held in my hand, he asked, “Did he cut up something important?” I considered his question. “Not important. Just…old.”
Here’s what remains:
I wrote this list in 2004, when Richard and I bought this house together. I lived here by myself for a couple of months before he moved back to Georgia, so while I was getting the place habitable, I jotted down ideas for every room. I found the notepad a few years ago and stuck it in the back of the desk drawer. There are still some good ideas on there but they don’t exactly fit my current living situation. I like the note about getting pictures from Helen–I wanted to surprise Richard with some family snapshots from his childhood in our first home. But a gray and white paint scheme with window pane checks and black and white picture frame collage? These were the ramblings of a woman who had:
A. HGTV Poisoning
B. An irrational belief in the power of painter’s tape
C. No children
D. No idea what a Magic Eraser was, much less why a homeowner might need one
Here’s how that hallway turned out. It’s still yellow, still dark, still got the scratches on the doors. There’s one door covered in butterfly stickers. One door with a warning sign Vivi drew of all the things that aren’t allowed in a baby nursery (sharp things, chokies, balloons, gum, etc). There’s the bathroom door with a big hook lock on the outside that G installed after Carlos plugged up the toilet so bad that we had to replace the whole thing (it was a kid’s vitamin bottle). There’s the door to the room with the big bed where we all piled up together on Sunday morning. Where Carlos bounces then puts his hands on his hips and declares, “Dis not a trampoline. Dis a BED!” There’s the traveling trunk that belonged to my great-grandparents. That’s what Carlos leaned against when he was first learning to stand. Above the trunk hangs a Matisse poster that I bought in London on my first big adventure. Vivi used it to learn her colors.
So I never got to the ideas on that list. Maybe the hall didn’t need that much work; maybe it will get some real attention one day. We have made one “improvement.” I called in a muralist who expressed his own vision on the wall beside the bathroom door. I think he really captured the cacophony of modern life rendered against the clean lines of the mid-century modern aesthetic. He’s a real up and comer.
Even Magic Eraser couldn’t clean it off, so I guess it will be there for a while.