A few weeks ago my landlord gave us the heads up that he was going to have the house painted. I was annoyed when he told me this. I have a lot going on in my life, but that's a whole 'nother blog post! Dealing with painters is not on my list of things I want to deal with right at this particular moment in my life. You see, when I think of painters I think of a big mess and strange men running around getting my yard dirty and looking in my windows. I quickly shoved the thought to the back of my mind until yesterday.
I came home yesterday to find a ladder propped up against my house with a person standing on it. Here we go, the freaking painters are here. So I parked in my drive way...walked up to my porch and stopped in my tracks.
The man on the ladder was old, and when I say old I mean....like Grandpa old. He saw me, and starts to climb down the ladder. My first instinct was to grab the ladder and help him down; I mean...he's really old. He nimbly climbed down before I could make the first move.
I am not usually lost for words, however I've been a little discombobulated and absent minded lately (I call it Wedding Brain...seriously I let steak burn on the stove while typing this blog post *sigh*). I mustered a polite "Hello, I'm Kerry"...but that's all I could manage. What in the hell was this old man doing painting my house?! Could my landlord really not afford to pay a REAL painter to come? Should I be calling the police for elder abuse?
"I'm Mr. S, I'll be painting your house" as he took off his work glove and shook my hand. Mr. S was much taller than I thought and not as feeble as I first assumed. He quickly moved his ladder and let me in the house. He started apologizing profusely for being in my way. I was still in stupid-shock so I just told him no problem and walked inside.
After collecting myself and calling my Mother (my go-to person in times of....well I call her at least 10 times a day) I went back outside through the back door. I walked around and watched him for a while. He was not what I expected. He had 1 bucket of paint and one paint brush and was stroke by stroke back and forth painting the whole damn house. It was maddening. I wanted to tell him there are bigger paint brushes at Home Depot! They have these machines that spray a square foot of paint at a time!
When he saw me watching him he got off his ladder again. I asked if he needed anything, water, bathroom (a walker?) He says "no I have my thermos and my wife packed me food". Ok well good, at least he's prepared I thought. He asked me if he was going to be in my way! I said no of course not, he also asked me if it was ok that he came throughout the weekend. I told him he could paint whenever he wanted, it was no problem. Then he starts talking, and talking, and talking. I learned that he is 79, he is friend's with the landlord's parents, he pays A LOT in taxes and thinks CT is too expensive, and that his son used to work on Wall Street but joined the Marines after 9/11, got "blown up" in Iraq but recuperated at a hospital in Germany and just completed a bicycle fundraiser from CA to NYC for Marines and those affected by 9/11).
That's a lot of information to digest. He then mentioned that he lives up the road and notices I'm never home. I laughed and told him I work 20 miles away and because of traffic I leave early and come home late. Then (as I was carrying in bags from AC Moore) I explained that I was getting married in June. He was happy to hear my very briefly about my wedding plans etc. (again another blog post for another time). Then he says, well I'll get back to work now, it was nice meeting you. Whew! This nice old guy is a talker, but very endearing I thought as I walked inside.
So this morning, I wake up to Mr. S. waving at me through my kitchen window. I waved back and went outside to say hello. He was all smiles. "My wife says to tell you CONGRATULATIONS on your upcoming wedding". How freaking sweet. I smiled and thanked him. He asked if he was going to be in my way...I assured him that he wasn't.
He is still out there painting. He seriously is a breath of fresh air in my life right now. I went out to the grocery store and he smiled when I left and said "Welcome Home" when I returned. I want to keep him, he is so positive and friendly and genuinely happy. He has a story like everyone has a story. He has a life, has a past, and has stuff going on in his life too. But here he is painting my house, congratulating me on my wedding. I have not been sleeping well, I've been obsessing over wedding, work and other things happening in my life. This little old man has reminded me to stop, breathe, and enjoy life. I think it is so easy to get consumed with your life, and forget to "stop and smell the roses" so they say. Today,I was reminded that the world doesn't revolve around me and the stresses in my life are no different than other people's stresses. Being miserable and overly stressed doesn't fix anything. I've slightly spun out of control emotionally and mentally lately. Sometimes all you need is a smiling stranger painting your house to help bring you back into orbit. Now I need to go be a smiling stranger to someone else....and check on Mr. S, who I have fondly nicknamed Mr. Smiles. Last time I peaked out he was half way up the roof *eeek!*
Until next time,