On the eve of our departure for the eastbound road trip, we’ve just finished painting the livingroom. It’s now white: White, white, white. White ceiling, white trim, white walls.
As my friend L would say (in his awesome Australian accent): “BOOOOORING.”
We first painted it this past spring, during a fit of home projects that included the procurement of the chickens. It’s true that we purposely chose to make these changes while our landlady was in Mexico, but that’s because change stresses her out, and we thought it’d be easier for her if she only had to see the beautiful results of our work.
In the case of our livingroom, this meant a new paint job: Fresh flat white ceiling paint, a shiny white on the trim and features, a dark red behind my wall-o-shelves, and bright avocado-ish green on the other walls. It went from being a boring room with ugly damaged bits every where you looked, to becoming a lovely homey place. With Oats’ paintings everywhere, and a new couch that we’d bought to celebrate, it felt eclectic and modern and comfortable.
When we’re talking about her in the yard or on the patio or somewhere that she might hear us, we call our landlady Marsha, after the landlady in the British teevee show Spaced. For the sake of the blog, I’ll continue this trend.
So Marsha first saw the livingroom when she had some friends visiting, and as they admired the paint job, she said she liked it too. Later though, we realized that she didn’t, as she told Sum that we’d done it without permission. Not true, we argued to Sum, who always gets stuck in the middle when there’s a conflict around here. Marsha said that we could paint, and she’d pay for it if she liked the colours but otherwise we’d have to paint over it when we moved out. Fair enough, we said, knowing full well that she does not like bright colours. It still was a good investment in our space, even if it would mean more work later on.
Our friend J is taking over our suite from us, and liked our decorating: At first, we thought we could leave the colour up for her, reasoning that we could promise to paint it over when she moves out, some time down the road.
Then as plans developed for our big move-out at the end of the month, the tension swiftly began to rise around here.
Having an eccentric landlady living next door can be a good thing, because she might agree to fun additions to the household, such as the chickens and our puppy and the kitten upstairs. We’ve had nice times together, sharing a meal every once in a while and even going sailing once. But when things aren’t going so well, Marsha’s oddness comes out in different ways and suddenly I’m all about establishing boundaries.
Given the conflicts that have been coming up, we decided to just prevent any problems before Marsha even has a chance to get in a knot about it: We decided to paint over the livingroom.
I write “we”, but really it was Oats who decided and immediately zipped off to the store with Sum as consultant, and Sum and Captain Pestou who did most of the painting: They are the greatest friends a person could ever want, and I’m just amazed at their generosity. Oats and I had to go out to an event with a friend on Monday night, and when we got home, they’d done a first coat all over the entire room plus second coats on a couple of the walls. I’d even say that it looks fantastic, if it weren’t so utterly dull. As we stood there admiring their work, Sum promised that at our new house, where she is the new Marsha, she will let us paint our walls any colours we damn well choose.
You can’t actually see how uneven and scummy the cream-coloured walls are.
Trust me, it’s better that way.
Being a renter is really tedious.