Monday, May 16, 2016

A Little Paint Covers A Multitude of Sins

                A Little Paint Covers A Multitude of Sins
            Years ago a builder said to me, “Paint covers a multitude of sins.” I didn’t need convincing. When I was a senior in high school, mere days before graduation and marriage, I rescued and painted a small wooden dresser.

 I don’t know how many years it had sat neglected in our farm dump, that place through the woods and near the river where we discarded very little. I think it might have come from the labor house, used only during sugar beet and potato harvest.

            Nor do I remember what made me notice it, half-buried in trash as it must have been. I remember shoring it up with a few screws. Once I had stabilized the framework and attached wooden thread spools for drawer pulls, I drove to Coast-to-Coast for a quart of paint and slapped on several coats. Voila! I had transformed junk into a serviceable piece of furniture.  

            Today I am painting a butcher block island I rescued from an abandoned casita. (Not much changes in my life!) The wood is dry as old dry bones lying out in the prairie sun. The wood soaked up the first coat and the color. 

            Meanwhile Leo is cleaning junk of ages out of the storage bodega. Sergio is in the main bodega trying to figure out why my washing machine leaves clothes sopping wet eight times out of ten. The incessant pounding in my bathroom is Charley, attempting to fix my shower which at first worked intermittingly, but the last five days, not at all.

In the recesses of my mind I hear “ka-ching, ka-ching”. Paint will not cover those sins. I’ve a feeling a fat bundle of pesos will be demanded.

The second painting on my island leaves a hint of promise of color. Two coats will not finish the job.

My washing machine is still a mystery. I considered asking Sergio to marry me but he is a good twenty years younger and probably has a lovely wife and doting grandchildren.

In my shower the entire pipe system and fixtures need to be replaced. Charlie is hacking and grinding away with gigantic frightening tools. If you have a mind-picture of a stereotypical plumber, that is Charlie. He might make a wonderful husband—for my oldest granddaughter.

Leo pats me on the shoulder. “Don’t worry. Go visit Lani. It not be too expensive.”

“Easy for you to say, Leo.”

With the third coat of paint, my kitchen island glows soft and buttery, golden. Another dabbing ought to finish that job.

Sergio disappeared with part of my washing machine.

Charley will be back to finish manana. Or he won’t. Manana covers a multitude of days. But he promised me a shower tonight—after I clean muck and guck from the bathroom.

One job has led to three. Charley says I need a new tinaco, the water storage tank that sits atop the roof on every house in Mexico. Then when finally all the pipes are hooked up, after Charley’s work is finished, Leo’s uncle will come replace the tile that had to be torn out.

Another decision for me—do I replace the whole wall or pick something and be satisfied with patchwork?

Where is Sergio?

Paint doesn’t cover every sin. If I had just a little more confidence in the power of paint, I’d wear make-up and dye my hair. Now that would be a major renovation!

Sondra Ashton
HDN: Looking out my back door

March 31, 2016

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