Nearly 20 years ago, with both my kids in the early stages of primary school, I donned a pair of navy overalls and a shower cap, climbed up ladders onto a scaffold and painted the entire interior of our Californian bungalow. I look around where I'm sitting now, at my duck-egg blue walls, with white trim, and see that I did a really good job.
And I improved as I went.
Unfortunately, we're overdue for a bit of cyclic maintenance and this is most obvious in son, Pete's bedroom. I've accepted that he's not coming home - as if - but it's taken me about 18 months, what with everything else that's been going down in my life, to get around to clearing his room out ready for painting.
Monday I went to the DIY store and bought all my painting accoutrements. Had to buy new brushes, rollers, drop sheets; the works. After school yesterday I attacked the walls with sugar soap; scraped all those errant blue-tacky bits off. All the time I was going at it I was saying, Pete, you dirty pig. Can't imagine what some of those splattered stains were. My son was definitely one for marking his territory.
In the evening I visited my neighbours to borrow their ladder. I needed a second ladder to create my scaffold. That done, dragged the hardwood plank in from the back yard. Was only a bit rotten on the edges. Brushed off the cobwebs and snails. Voila. Set to go.
Up early this morning and straight into it.
Painting around the skirting board and into the lower corners, no problem. But then I had to get up the ladder. Farque alors. I was freaking out. Never have I felt so wobbly and insecure. I painted carefully around the cornices and the top of the window but was hampered by the adrenaline shooting through me. Was sure I'd fall at any minute. Climbed down; did a bit of self-talk about how secure the ladders and plank were. But it wasn't them, it was me. Despite me being quite flexi and fit for a 57 year old, I couldn't freaking do it. Half the room now has one coat of paint. But I cannot go back up onto that plank.
Was quite teary when I phoned Al, husband, to say I'd given up. It's awful thinking you're past it, but past it I am. In fact, what was I even thinking imagining I'd have the agility I had in my thirties?
No matter. One of the compensations of being this age, in my case, is that I can afford to pay someone to finish the work.
Will just have to be mollified by looking forward to riding over the Westgate Bridge this Sunday en route to Altona. I'm cycling in the 50k leg of the Round The Bay ride. Can't paint, but.