that every time I paint a room in our new-old house, I hate the people who used to live here. But that sounds harsh and I don't really hate them. First, I don't know them, and all I'm going by to justify my harsh feelings are the people's questionable decorating choices.
The orange ceiling, for example, in the dining room, the orange paint with glitter added to it, so it took two full coats of primer and two coats of ceiling paint to cover it, and even now, when the light slips through the windows in a certain way, you can see a sparkle.
Okay, that sparkle, I'll admit is kind of lovely. But did I tell you about the hole in the wall in the kitchen? This was left over from an old laundry chute, but the previous owners had blocked the laundry chute and put a shelf in its place and framed it, and now there was a random framed hole with a shelf in the middle of a wall and nothing
you could really do with that space, and my husband chipped the frame out and pulled out the shelf--the idea being, we'd patch up the hole and have a more useful space and counter area, but when he pulled out the shelf, something plopped onto the counter, a long ago bit of laundry tossed in the chute and caught by the frame--
--a pair of women's underwear--and Oh my God who knows how long that was hiding behind the walls. There are all kinds of surprises when you live in a new-old house. Upstairs on my hands and knees, prepping to paint the hallway, but first, trying to scrub off the yellowed cigarette stains on the walls, noticing every scratch and nick in the previous layers of paint, a square of decades old wallpaper behind a light switch plate, I want to forgive these people
for living in our house, and ask forgiveness too, from the people who will live here after us. I promise we haven't tossed dirty underwear behind the walls or glittered up our paint, but being what we are, human, I mean, we will have committed other decorative sins. Go easy on us. Please. We do the best we can with what we are given.