She left me holding the pole and staring at the window. There was NO WAY I was going to stand on TOP of the ladder to paint, much less crawl inside a space that was NOT designed for someone to be in and paint from there. I shook my head, walked out to my truck for a smoke and thought about it. I even called Laurie to make sure I wasn’t being stupid. She agreed with me. See, I have a bad leg. A knee surgery that went horribly wrong. Lost use of the leg for the better part of 10 years until I made friends with a sports physician who put me on the right track. I can walk now without looking like Quismodo and even run a bit, but my leg will never be what it once was. I can bear my full weight on it, shakily, for a few moments before I feel it starting to go. Ladders and I have an agreement. They promise not to wobble and I promise to ascend and descend slowly. There’s a REASON why it tells you on the ladder itself not to stand above the last step. It has to do with physics and I BELIEVE in physics! There had to be another way to do this without risking injury. My friend knew about my leg, but apparently wasn’t convinced I had told her the truth.
I haven’t mentioned the drop cloths yet. We didn’t have that many. Luckily I brought one that had been Pop’s, but we were still short. I wanted to start in the bedroom while thinking about how to tackle that monster of an entry, but to do so meant pulling the drop cloths from the entry into the bedroom. Plus, the furniture had been moved to the center of the room and it wasn’t covered. The owners had thrown old sheets over it, but I knew that a good glob of paint could soak right through the thin cotton. I pointed out the lack of drop cloths. “A good painter doesn’t need all those drop cloths. You shouldn’t be making a mess in the first place. Just be careful” she told me.
I had only witness one painter who could attempt that…Pop. He had been painting for over 30 some odd years and he COULD do a ceiling without a drop cloth, I saw it with my own eyes, but chose not to. See, he had ethics. Why risk getting paint on furniture or the floor when you can put down a drop cloth in no time flat. All of our experience combined didn’t equal Pop’s and I didn’t trust myself, much less anyone else in the room, to paint without enough drop cloths! Plus, no one had bothered to put down any protective plastic on the floor to keep us from tracking paint from our shoes all over the house. More on that later.
She left and the workers revolted. I pulled 2 drop cloths and my ladder into the bedroom. The hall upstairs was finished. The other two would start on the entry and I would start the bedroom. Fair enough. I layed one drop cloth on the floor and used the other to cover part of the furniture that was near. When I finished the section, I’d remove my boots, leaving them on the drop cloth and pull it down to the next section, cover the next part of the furniture, step back on the drop cloth to put my boots back on and go back to work. Obvisouly this slowed me down a lot. But it was the only thing we could think of doing.
Quittin time rolled around. I carefully removed the drop cloth, paying special attention to keep the work side together so it could be unfolded properly the next day with risk of putting the yucky side down on the carpet. I inspected the furniture to make sure any stray paint drops were cleaned up, thankfully there were only a couple small, tiny blips that came up with a damp cloth. We put everything up where it belonged. My friend and the owner was on their way there so she told me to go ahead and lock up and leave. I did.
I hadn’t been gone more than 10 minutes when my cellphone rang. It was my friend. “Hey, who painted in the bedroom?” I told her that I did. A moment of tense silence. “Did you bother to cover the furniture?” Yes I did, even cleaned up a few spots before I left that managed to find its way beyond the drop cloth. Still more silence. “This room is a disaster! You’ve got paint all over the floor, on the furniture and the owner is livid! I’m gonna have to spend my Sunday cleaning up your mess.” Huh?? I had checked and re-checked everything! I didn’t see paint on the carpet! I walked it in my socked feet to make sure of it! Maybe I had missed some rebel drops on the furniture? But a disaster was going a bit far. I felt horrible! What had I missed? I asked if she wanted me to come back and take care of it. “No, don’t bother. Just be here on Monday to finish the entry and everything else. I only gave this job 3 days and I want it done in 3 days, period.” I spent the rest of the evening and all day Sunday feeling like crap. I’d make everything right on Monday, I swore it.
-- "Creativity is...seeing something that doesn't exist already. You need to find out how you can bring it into being and that way be a playmate with God."