By Lisa Scottoline
Here’s what happened to me, last weekend. I’d just finished the draft of my next book, which left me with nothing to do and a residual feeling that I should still be productive. I’d been working on the same book for a year, and even so, wasn’t ready for it to end, even after I’d typed:
Please tell me this happens to you, no matter what you do. That once you’ve been working full-tilt, it’s hard to bring it to an abrupt halt. It’s not that those of us similarly afflicted are Type A, because we’re too nice for that. I prefer to think of us as adorable cartoon characters like Wile E. Coyote, who keep running in the air after there’s no more cliff.
Either way, when I finally finished working, I noticed some scuffmarks on the walls of my entrance hall and I couldn’t forget them. I kept looking at them, and though I wanted to relax, sitting down in my favorite chair to read a book, the scuffmarks stayed in the back of my mind. I remember when the back of my mind used to be occupied by men, but in recent years, they’ve have been replaced by carbohydrates.
And, now, scuffmarks.
Five scuffmarks in all, covering the wall in the entrance hall, and God knows how they got there. They bugged me, though I’d never noticed them before. It struck me that scuffmarks shouldn’t be the first thing people see when they walk into my house, even though nobody is walking into my house.
And under the scuffmarks, I noticed a line of paw prints. You don’t have to be a mystery writer to know how they got there. Little Tony, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who thinks he’s Little Tony Soprano, protects me by resting his dirty mitts on the wall and barking at the window. And whenever I leave the house, Peach, my other Cavalier, body-slams the door.
Plus I detected a generalized griminess around the baseboards that I couldn’t ignore. That would be from Ruby The Crazy Corgi, who rolls against the wall like a hotdog on a rotisserie.
I should have been picking up the nice thick book I’d wanted to read. It was going to be my reward for the nice thick book I’d just written.
That, and lots of carbohydrates.
But no, instead I went to the kitchen cabinet and grabbed the spray Fantastik and a roll of paper towels. I got busy cleaning the entrance hall and the baseboards, to no avail. The scuffmarks still looked grimy and dirty, and now, wet.
I realized that the entrance hall hadn’t been painted in five years.
An hour later, I had a new plastic drop cloth on the floor, a girl-size roller dripping with fresh latex, and a slim paintbrush for getting in the comers. I started painting the entrance hall and blasted music on the iPod. I sang while I worked, and the dogs watched, all of us happy. I was happy because painting is more fun than cleaning, and the dogs were happy because they had a whole new wall to mess up.
I finished painting the entrance hall, and it looked so great and smelled fresh and new.
But then I noticed more scuffmarks in the family room.
And there were still songs left on the iPod.
So I got busy in the family room, which was the same color, called Beethoven. Though it was Sinatra on the iPod.
A few hours later, I had finished painting the family room, or at least as far up each wall I could reach, making do-it-yourself wainscoting. Also I didn’t bother moving the pictures and painted around them, which saved a lot of time.
Still everything blended okay, and it all looked so terrific.
And since I had plenty of Tony Bennett left, I went on a scuffmark hunt upstairs, where there was more Beethoven. I found a ton of scuffmarks in the second floor hallway, and I painted it through most of the night and the next day, after the dogs had fallen asleep and the iPod had segued into old MC Hammer.
Yes, I was Too Legit To Quit.
And by the end of the weekend, I had a freshly painted house.
And I knew I was Type A.
Copyright Lisa Scottoline