Saturday, July 31, 2010

The war on bland.

I had a grand plan tonight: whip up to the pharmacy, come back and catch up on blogging over left-over stroganoff (not the same stroganoff as last week). Then I was reminded by SP, that her presence means there will no longer be any 'whipping' anywhere, not anymore. As I attempted to load her into my beloved Ergo, she threw up everywhere except for on herself. The next twenty minutes were spent changing my jumper, mopping the mess off the floor etc. Then, and only then, could we wander up to the shops as planned and then home again, reheat the food, baby into bed and start writing. I was reminded, however, of my planned post topic as I tossed the sling into the washing machine (spot cleaning was not really possible this time, good thing SP is super-cute, evidence below!)

Before we bought this house, the previous owners had painted the laundry, toilet, and 'lobby' floor a mid-grey, presumably to tart the place up for sale. Pity they didn't think to seal the floor in any way before they painted it. Every time the floor got damp (remembering this is a laundry, with a tub, which doubles as a bath for SP, a washing machine, and a dryer), the paint would bubble up. Every time anyone walked over the floor in bare feet, pieces of grey paint would peel off and get walked through the house. The floor rapidly looked like it was suffering from some sort of pox, with rust-red concrete showing through underneath.

I had jack of it.

In a fit of enthusiasm, I armed myself first with a homemade scraper cut from a plastic takeaway container, and then with a real blade scraper, and then I attacked the floor with a vengeance. The grey paint - that expanse of bland - came away relatively easily, sometimes I was able to peel it off in great swathes; terribly satisfying. It reminded me of times in a childhood classroom, smearing my hands with sticky clear glue, waiting for it to dry, and then pulling it away like skin.
Sometimes I've felt this house is featureless and cold. It's all the white, and the grey. It's a house of air; floating and without substance; not grounded. I love the rust-red stain I've found under the grey paint. It's like I'm finding the history of this little house. Around the edges of the wall, and around the door frames, some of the red paint peeled away with the grey because it's thicker where people never walk. At the step, in front of the toilet and door, and in the middle, the floor is roughened and scuffed where thousands of feet have paused, where people have turned, where housewives past must have stood to put washing in their tubs, in their machines. Brilliant!

I had a great time taking away the grey. I even found myself doing it at one in the morning; strange how that energy always comes late at night. Most of the paint is gone now, apart from a few hard-to-shift patches and all around the edges over the rough concrete, that's going to take a lot more time and patience to remove.

1 comment:

Anita said...

:blergh: to dodgy paint, I wish I could strip this place. Unfortunately the owner "prettied up" the house before leasing it, so we can't do anything to his crappy paint job, tiling, etc. Thankfully however, we have had free range with the gardens.