Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Bones of Toad Hall




Every one of you said, “Keep the bricks.” When I thought back on some decisions in life – most of my regrets are of the – I should have taken the risk variety. I know you didn’t say, keep the lath and mortar, but I’m doing that, too. Fortunately, I had three days to stand in the midst of the mess like a refugee (all our stuff is piled in the dining room and I can’t find the French press, but I know where Caribou’s is) eyeing my wall, while Dan, our English teacher, summer-time painter, went to Missouri for the Fourth. He had already measured the drywall and left it leaning against the chimney. When he walked in on Monday morning, I said, “I’ve been thinking…,” and he started laughing and couldn’t stop. He was remembering this old series from the 80s – Murphy Brown, who had a painter as a regular character on the program. I guess Murphy messed up his life regularly. Apparently Dan was sort of picturing himself in that position. I retaliated with: Well, I was thinking of episodes of Fawlty Towers with O’Reilly, the drunken Irish painter. (Basil Fawlty, played by John Cleese, always hired him when his wife was gone and O’Reilly’s favorite solution to everything, with a wave of his hand, was, “No problem, a lick-a paint here, a lick-a paint there, and she’ll never know.” Of course, the wall always fell down.) Anyway, the vision I had was applying something so the ribs of lathe looked like they were emerging from the plaster, like the bones of the house were showing up. We could clean them up, seal them a little, round out the edge, and… Dan consulted with some contractor type guys standing around at Home Depot just waiting for some dumb idea like this. One guy thought it was nuts. “Drywall it!” Another guy who was a LOT younger thought it’d be cool to go for it. Dan came back with a kind of concrete, and applied it with the finesse of a real artist. I think it looks great. And look at the close-up to see what we found in the vent – a real, vintage California Prune Box! Just kidding. I had it and sacrificed it. It sort of looks like the thing a guy mighta, coulda done in 1923, as in: Oh ya, let’s just cover that hole with this, then. If when we’re done it looks like I hired TGIFriday’s to decorate, I will kill myself. Oh, wait, I’ll just start over. In all this, Denis is, “Whatever, you want, Sweetie, is fine with me.” Ah. The freedom.

6 comments:

Shawna said...

Fabulous!! I've gotten those looks before, especially when I was on a kick of moving the coalroom doors up from the basement and trying to figure out a way to use them on our main floor. Mostly the looks were, "ok, sure, that's a nice idea. now look away and change the topic." Ahh, the life of a dreamer.

Daniel Daugherty said...

I'm finally reading this...Margie, you didn't ask me to sign a release to use that photo of me...my forehead looks a little greasy...you could have at least photoshopped me. I just did a little bit of research on Elden, the painter from Murphy Brown, and I found out he died. Quite sad.

Lynn Trew said...

Margie- Lynn Kirkbride here. Glad you left the orginal!! Looks great! Add lots of character. Denis sounds like Dan- whatever you want dear! I am so glad because I painted our new kitchen aqua with touches of cherry red and caramel. I love the color! Every morning I wake up and it feel happy and warm. Enjoy your peach and mystic gray! Blessings!

Ransom Fellowship said...

Shawna, thanks for the support! Lynn, I think I'd love your kitchen.
Dan, think about it, would photoshopping really help you?

kate ortiz said...

well, how fun is it when you're reading through a favorite blog to come across a picture of an old seminary classmate!

and i'm digging the prune box.

Margie Haack said...

So you know him? Great guy. Great job. We were lucky to get him on his summer break from teaching at Schaeffer Academy.