We always have a lot of people over for Easter. This throws me into my usual entertaining tizzy.
Ugh. This paint color. Why did I even pick this? How could I paint the whole downstairs with something I can't even pronounce?
These floors need to be stained and varnished.
Mark!!! Mark, look at this. Hasn't this wallpaper has been in the bathroom since Clinton was president?
Can anyone tell me what happens to all the silverware around here?
On and on I go. The inside, the outside. I get on my broom, wave my pointer and cackle "All of it. All of it must go."
Nobody even pays attention to me except my sister who is doing the same dance on the outskirts of Chicago. Cleaning, springing things up and staring at a hundred pillows at Homegoods and thinking the same thing as me, "Good Lord. Let it go with the pillows already."
With only a few days until Easter I'm not entirely sure how many people are coming or what they're bringing. "Dessert or side" I say ever so casually like this is just so dang delightful to pull together that we'll all just wing it if there's twenty plates of lemon bars and a ham. I should narrow these details down but I'm on my hands and knees cleaning baseboards because when I go to other people's homes that's the first thing I look at.
In my cleaning bender I might have been stopped in my Clorox tracks by Jesus ever so gently whispering in my ear, "Listen, sister, I didn't die on a cross for this shit."
And I might have snapped back, "Oh yes, Jesus. I think you did."
Last fall we had the house painted. I paid all but $300 to the contractor and even though there was touch-up paint to do, debris to haul away and a porch roof to fix they never came back. I called or texted a few times a week with not a single response until December when I got a long apologetic text from the owner.
"Come back," I said. "All is forgiven."
A date was set and no one showed up. Another date and another and then another. No painters, no carpenters, no sign of any effort to finish. Texts and calls from me. A "let me get back to you" text from him. A new date was set and nobody showed up.
A different text was sent this time. Short and curt. I said I was going to talk to an attorney if I didn't hear back by the end of the week.
I never heard back. My bluff was called and so I started to research just how one goes about filing a small claim. Like taking down the Clinton-era wallpaper in the bathroom, this seemed like another thing that would get talked about but never done.
And then out of nowhere a van pulled up in front of the house the other day and the owner of the business came to the door. I tried being an offended, terribly mistreated customer but it didn't last long before I softened and said, "Raul, what happened to you? Where have you been? Do you know how crazy you've made me?"
"I'm really sorry", he said. "Someone in my family died and it set me back in a lot of ways."
We came up with a new plan to finish things around here. I met the carpenter and the three of us stood on the porch and assessed the damage to my roof and the plan to fix it. It seemed too good to be true - the wayward painter and his handy sidekick telling me all they plan on accomplishing next Tuesday. Will they really show up? Past experience tells me not to bet the farm on that one but I hugged him anyway.
"Thank you for not being mad at me," Raul said.
"Thank you for coming back," I answered, and it occurred to me that maybe we were both letting go of some shit that's been weighing us down for months.
I watched them pull away and Jesus might have leaned in and whispered, "That's better, sister."
"I know," I whispered back.