Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Yesterday after my morning Wii session, I wrote a long-ish blog post, cleaned the house , did several loads of laundry, made lunch, taught English down at the school, and went to the post office. By the time I got home at about 3pm, I was ready for a little break...maybe, say, sitting down with a novel and a cup of coffee? Just for half and hour or so?
It was not, of course, to be.
JP was in full project mode. He'd been writing all morning and wanted to "do" something. He decided that he would start painting the ceiling over the central staircase of our house. I got out the huge can of white paint I'd bought, but refused to participate any further. I merely suggested that he remove the spiderwebs before he started painting (which he did) and that he cover every surface below with tarps (which he did not).
Leaving him to his fate, I went down to the kitchen and heated up some coffee in my special "Mom" mug and made my way up to the attic, where JP and I have our bedroom and office. I sat down at the computer to have a quick look at my emails before settling down with my book.
I saw that a good pal in the USA was online and decided to try to "chat" with her. First time ever! What fun! Even better than reading my book!
We started typing inane, funny comments, as is the way of chat. But after only a few minutes, I heard a crash and a thump and a heart-wrenching cry of surprise, pain, misery and disbelief. I ran over and leaned over the railing. There was JP down on the second floor landing, clutching the ladder and looking down at the huge can of paint laying, dented and empty on the stairs below. A torrent of white paint poured down the stairs onto the landing below and on into the bathroom.
It was a Niagara Falls of paint right in our own home.
My first thought, to my credit, was intense relief that JP himself was not laying there on the stairs.
My next and less laudible thought was : I'm so glad that it wasn't me that made that god-awful mess!
I abandoned my chat and my coffee and went to help. I brought up a bucket of water and some rags. JP prompted dumped the water onto the huge lake of paint on the lower landing, sending a cascade down the NEXT flight of stairs, which until then had been clean.
Woe was us.
But at least it was water-based paint, right?
"If this was oil-based paint, we'd have had to move." I informed JP as we scrubbed at the mess. "You realize that don't you?"
He started at the top and I worked up from the bottom. The rags weren't getting the paint out of the cracks in the cement, so we started using scrub brushes. As it dried and sunk in further, we had to switch to steel wool.
We scrubbed for two solid hours.
The stairs ended up reasonably clean. They were originally covered in repulsive brown vinyl. JP just recently ripped it all off and exposed a layer of ancient, thick, hard yellow glue. He spent several afternoons stripping all that off and then scrubbing the cement with a special cleaning solvent. The idea was to get the stairs perfectly clean so that we could cover them with special paint for cement floors. We needed an impeccable base, as the stairs are a high-traffic area right in the center of our home. So, we're really hoping that the traces of white ceiling paint won't affect the layer of brick red floor paint we want to apply.
If I was I quick thinker, I SO would have taken a photo of the mess to post with this!