Monday, October 23, 2023

I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints...

The last thing our contractor did this week was paint the exterior boards he had to replace on the side of the house. Evidently he spilled a not-insignificant quantity of paint on the ground, which Andrew knew about, and which Andrew warned the children to keep away from. 

I'm sure you can see where this story is going.

For the record, I did not know about this spill or I may have done more than warn the children to keep away from it. I also may not have done much more...we've been so exhausted this week, staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning working on the basement. 

On Friday night the girls—who are finally back at our house after spending three weeks at Grandpa's house—had a fire night with their friends. When their friends went home, Andrew and I roped them into helping us finish putting carpet in the unfinished portion of the basement. They weren't terribly happy about this, since they had planned on showering and going to bed, but they were good helpers nonetheless. 

In order to put the carpet down we had to move furniture, roll the carpet padding out, roll the carpet out, move furniture onto the carpet we had just rolled out, roll the carpet padding out, roll the carpet out...until the room was carpeted. 

Although the carpet was more ore less rectangular, there was more cutting and taping involved than I'd like to remember. We must have put the carpet padding in sideways or something because we had to cut so much of that. Anyway...

We were cleaning off a shelf full of crafting supplies and moving them across the room so we could carry the shelf. We moved stacks of papers, bundles of patterns, boxes of yarn... Miriam grabbed a box of glass bottles from the top shelf. We got a case of ginger beer for Christmas and saved the bottles as we drank them so she could make a xylophone. 

She was too short to see that there was another box of bottles on top of the first one, so she wasn't prepared to support that second box. When she lifted down what she thought was one box, the other box came crashing down, too. 

Now, I don't know if you've ever dropped an entire box of glass bottles from high over your head onto a bare cement floor...but it wasn't pretty. Broken glass went flying everywhere

Luckily, we were all wearing our shoes and we had the broom and shop vacuum handy. 

Poor Miriam ran away crying, which made Rachel feel angry because there was "no point" to her tears since no one was upset that she had broken all those bottles. It was certainly an inconvenience since it was already just about 2:00 in the morning and we had to pause our work on putting down the carpet so we could, you know, clean glass up from every nook and cranny of the basement. But no one was injured and since that part of the basement was already mostly empty, cleanup was relatively straightforward. 

We did have to empty out the cat's food and water dishes (both received a lovely sprinkle of broken glass) and things like that, but it wasn't too bad at all. 

Still, hearing that much glass break at once was quite the shock to everyone's systems—most especially Miriam's, and we could all feel adrenaline pumping through our veins. 

"Don't get mad at her for crying," I chided Rachel. "She's not moping. Her body is just trying to regulate her adrenaline and cortisol levels and crying can help to do that."

(I didn't tell Rachel that yelling also helps release a build up of cortisol and adrenaline, which may have been why she was snapping at Miriam after "The Crash"; crying doesn't hurt anyone, but yelling at someone—while also a natural response—is less appropriate because it has the potential to hurt (feelings)). 

Anyway, we got the glass cleared up, finished putting down the carpet, and everyone went to bed so we could get up for church in the morning.


On Sunday (yesterday) we kept noticing muddy footprints around the house. 

Someone had clearly tracked mud from the front door to the backdoor (or vise versa), taking a path through the dining room, kitchen, and hallway...right down the basement stairs...and...just there were footprints all over. 

Andrew called Zoë over and gave her a "special task" (our kids love special tasks...or so we tell ourselves (in actuality they probably resent these extra jobs, but that's okay)). 

"Tomorrow morning, after breakfast, I'd like you to mop the floor," he said. "See all these muddy footprints? We need to take care of them. Got it?"

"Got it!" she said (because, honestly, kids love to be given responsibilities, even if they don't love doing the work).  "But wouldn't it be better if I mopped before breakfast so that I can do it before we get any crumbs on the floor?"

"You can do it before breakfast or after breakfast. Up to you!"


This morning after breakfast (because she decided she'd work better on a tummy full of banana muffins, after all), Zoë grabbed the mop and started working on the floor. But no matter how hard she mopped, those footprints would not come up.

"Mom!" she whined. "I can't get these footprints off!"

"Try holding the mop with your hands closer to the mop head," I suggested, taking the mop to show her. "It will give you a Huh. These footprints are pretty stubborn."

I got a rag out so I could get down on my hands and knees and attempt to remove the footprints with some good ol' fashioned elbow grease. That's when I realized these footprints were not made of mud. They were made of paint

The same brown paint that was recently used on our house siding, so oil-based exterior paint (which is super fun a pain in the neck to clean up). 

"This isn't mud!" I gasped. "This is paint!"

"Paint?" Zoë said. "I know I walked in some gooey mud. But I didn't step in any paint."

"Sweetie, I think that gooey mud was paint..."

"I'm pretty sure it was just mud."

"I'm pretty sure it was paint."

We checked the bottom of her shoes was paint.

Fortunately, we were able to scrub the footprints off the wood floors fairly easily. I imagine that my fingernail did more work than the rag in the end, but the footprints are gone!

The footprints going down the basement stairs, well...those are going to take some doing. 

The funniest part of this is that when we set up the order for our carpet we so proudly found our exact carpet from a huge lineup of carpet samples (Miriam was actually the one to do this; she considers it a huge victory) and told the contractors that we would not need to re-carpet our stairs, thank you very much. We'd only re-carpeted them four years ago (and technically the main room and girls' rooms as well, but the footprint of those rooms changed with our remodel and the old carpets wouldn't work anymore) and the carpet still looked lovely

Now those same "still-look-lovely" carpets are covered in mud-brown paint footprints!


"At least I didn't step in wet cement," Zoë said sheepishly.

1 comment:

  1. Josie wondered if you can razor-blade shave the paint off?