Friday, January 10, 2014

An Unexpected Surprise

"Craigslist," I said putting a sticky note on the brand new box of never-worn men's roller blades.
"What's going on," Mr. Wonderful said finding me in the laundry room knee deep in stuff.
"Goodwill," I pointed to three bags of clothing.
"You're cleaning out the house?"  
"Garbage," I slapped a sticky on an old painting.
"Thank you!"

Yes, Mr. Wonderful was thanking me now but I'm not sure if he'd be thanking me in the evening. But then, why not? Mr. Wonderful was full of surprises. And thus far, January, too, had been full of surprises: 1) The weather had been 75-80 degrees F every day; 2) The sun had been shining every day; and 3) I'd gotten a suntan on New Year's day. I loved January surprises! One of the best things about January is getting rid of all the rubbish and detritus that accumulated during the previous year… just in time to make room for the junk I got for Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa! 

On this glorious day in which Mr. Wonderful had to work at the studio, I decided that I'd work, too. I dropped off a car full of bags at Goodwill, snapped some photos of "For Sale" stuff for Craigslist and emptied everything from my kitchen cabinets. In other words, I cleaned out the laundry room then made a mess of the kitchen. 

Oh, yes! Mr. Wonderful was going to be surprised alright!

But this was done with the goal of painting the kitchen cabinets' interior. Therefore every pot, pan, plate, bowl, spoon, mixer and cookie cutter was removed from its place in a kitchen cabinet and put atop the kitchen table, the butcher's block and the cat's water bowl. I had stashed more kitchen detritus  in those cabinets that now any available counter space in my kitchen was at a premium. Besides Jackson never drank from his water bowl preferring the pool's water. I like my water with lemon, he likes his with chlorine.

I seized 16,000 sheets of newspaper and laid them all over the floor, then grabbed the paint and brushes. The cat looked at me with interest.
"It's time to paint the interior of the kitchen cabinets!" I sang to the feline. He blinked, yawned then exited the kitchen for his 10th nap of the day. They're called "cat naps" for a reason. Cat's take them. A lot. 

As for my painting, my plan was to have the cabinet interiors painted and every pot, pan, plate, bowl, spoon, mixer and cookie cutter returned to its rightful place by the time Mr. Wonderful came home from the studio. Unfortunately it was only at this time that I closely examined the interior of the kitchen cabinets to find them, in short: a lousy mess. Their surfaces were as rough as Jackson's tongue, without the sanitary element. Evidently, previous owners had glued shelf paper to the cabinet interiors, which had left them covered in layers of residual glue making the cabinets as smooth as a pot-holed, rocky road in Cleveland. 

My, my, what a surprise. I couldn't just paint. Oh no, first I had to wash every shelf, door and wall; sand all the surfaces down; wash everything again; then paint. I hated January surprises. 

I went to the spotless laundry room to retrieve the sandpaper then returned to the disaster zone of my kitchen to sand down everything--scrape, scrape.

When you're sanding wood for, oh I don't know, 65 hours, the best thing to pass the time is to listen to NPR's Fresh Air radio show--every single episode of its 25 plus years. And when Terry Gross has stopped asking insightful questions of the newsmakers and culture shapers of the day, well keep sanding, Sugar, because it's ain't over. Scrape, scrape.

I sanded in the morning, I sanded in the afternoon, I sanded into the evening and I still it wasn't done. What a surprise. Speaking of, my spouse was going to be surprised when he saw the "Area 51" I had created in the space formerly known as "our kitchen". But hey, if he wanted to eat in a clean place, he could chow down in the laundry room.

"What's going on," Mr. Wonderful said finding me standing on the counter, balancing on one foot to reach a far corner in the uppermost cabinet. 
"I'm sanding," I said my clothes, hair and face covered in the super fine dust of wood and glue circa 1960. 
"What a surprise."
"I was supposed to be done by the time you got home."
"You're full of surprises."
"So if you want to eat in a clean place, go to the laundry room."
"Only if you join me," he revealed a carryout bag of Indian curry. I smiled tasting the wood dust on my lips.
"I like your surprise better than mine."
"Only because mine's finished.

Good surprises and gifts shouldn't be reserved just for the holidays. January needs them, too. Scrape, scrape.


  1. Great story! Reminds me of some underestimation scenarios I've had with cute chairs. : )
    Love, Isabella

    1. Hi Isabella,
      Thanks for reading and for your comment! I'd love to see your cute chairs. Did you ever finish them? Enjoy today!

  2. So true! Thank you for the reminder. :)

    1. Hi Patty,
      Thanks for reading and your comment. As a mom, you know what's real. Underestimating projects. Enjoy today!