Crazy convalescent

July 9, 2011

I warned my husband repeatedly throughout our courtship and young marriage that there is a latent artist inside of me.  She was sleeping, but restless. 

Last week, the artist awoke.  I had four quarts of paint, a plain white entryway, and a week to recover from surgery.  I’m pretty sure the pain medication didn’t hurt the creative process, either.

For the past eight months I have battled with ongoing tonsil and sinus infections.  Enough was enough.  Last week I had my nose “roto-rootered,” as my nurse mother so eloquently describes it, and my nasty rotten tonsils taken out.

Thanks to the pain medication, the last week of my life has been… trippy.

My husband has been far away fighting fires for the past six weeks.  During our daily phone conversations, he tells me about his most recent fire, and I tell him about my recovery. 

Somehow, the topic of what I’ve been doing with my empty, drugged out days just hasn’t come up.  He imagines me sitting around sipping smoothies and resting quietly. 

For the first few days, that was really all I could do.  But resting is not my thing.  I am really bad at resting. 

I awoke last Sunday morning from a dream that I had painted my front door a bright red.  My brother’s girlfriend stayed with me for several days to help me out with my recovery.  I told her about my dream, and she said, “Let’s do it!” 

The color swatch said Red Gumball.  Four coats later, it’s perfect.

For several weeks now I’ve been purchasing a quart here and there of different shades of green paint in an effort to decide on a color for my house.   

Sometime later last week I was sipping a smoothie and watching Cake Boss on TV when it hit me.  I can’t waste all those extra quarts of paint.  I need to think of an area small enough to use up all three colors.

I wandered around outside, looking for a nook.  A cranny.  Anything to paint.  My house is a square box.  Except the recessed entry area.  I’d already painted the front door.  Why stop there? 

I scrubbed the whole stoop top to bottom.  I used one of my son’s art brushes to paint the darkest green in the creases between the siding boards.  Then, I rolled a lighter green over the walls. 

When I was finished, I spent a long time standing in the front yard in my pajamas, smoothie in hand, gazing at my striped stoop.  It looked good, but there was something missing. 

The concrete of the entryway had been painted several times over the years.  A lighter blue was chipping off to reveal a darker blue, which was chipping off to reveal bare concrete.  I scraped off the loose paint with a wire brush, primed it and painted it green.

The next morning I rolled out of bed at sunrise with the dizzying, drug-induced mania that I’d grown accustomed to over the past week.  I stumbled outside into the blinding early morning sun, still in my pajamas.

I used painter’s tape and a ruler to mark out a symmetrical diamond pattern on the freshly painted concrete.  Then, I used a darker green to fill in the pattern. 

The rest of my house sits scraped and ready for paint, patiently awaiting my husband’s return.  The stoop also awaits him in all its glory. 

Red door.  Striped walls.  Diamonds on the floor.  Proof that creative people should not be left alone and heavily medicated for extended periods of time.

This article first appeared in the Lewistown News-Argus and the Sidney (Mont.) Herald on July 9, 2011.