On Monday I came home from picking up my elementary school children to find my responsible daughter reading "Spindle's End" by Robin McKinley and my three-year-old drawing on the windows with permanent markers.
The windows were not the only thing he redecorated. The wall that faces the front door had brown and yellowmarker scribbles all over it. Scrubbing would be no use - the wall had never been painted. Ten years ago, long before we bought the house, a fire gutted the interior. The man who bought the place from the bank and tried to fix it up never finished. One of the things he didn't do was paint the walls.
Why didn't I paint the walls when we moved in? Because I was trying to eliminate the deadly hazards like the lack of a stair railing on the inside and the presence of rickety wooden stairs up to a rotting deck on the second story outside in the back. Once I thought my children would survive in the house I unpacked and started living. Had another baby. Wrote a couple of novels. No time to paint.
The permanent marker was the last straw. With no way to wash it off, I got out the brushes, the roller, and the Kilz. After three coats the yellow permanent marker stopped seeping through. Then from my paint collection in the garage I chose a nice light grey brown color that would hide greasy hand prints and dust. After dropping a paper cup full of paint on the tarp, then tracking some onto the carpet (scrubbed it out with rubbing alcohol), then thinking I was going to die of frustration as I worked around all the corners and odd edges, I finally put down the brush and started in with the roller.
Once I had the wall painted I stepped back to look. Tears came to my eyes. It was so beautiful! It looked like a real wall, in a real house! Now I just have to paint all the rest of it.