I’m an old woman. . .

I’m a feisty one, I am.

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I may have mentioned a time or two that I hate painting.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I’m an old woman.

When I was 30 or so, I had a sudden onset of back spasms. Doing the Granny Clampett walk, I waddled my way over to the chiropractor’s office. We’d never met before and he walked into the exam room and looked at me. Then he looked at my x-rays. Then he looked at me again. Finally, he said, “You have a lovely spine for a 70-year-old woman.”

My misspent youth was not kind to my back.

Between yoga and outright refusal to be one of those whiny-assed people who complains about their back all the time (preferring, of course, to whine about other things), I refused to accept his or the neurosurgeon’s diagnosis and have lived reasonably well without back surgery or a wheelchair.

Over the years, I’ve learned how to do things in such a way as to accommodate the limitations of my back. (I was, hands down, the strangest rock climber you’ve ever seen.) I have not found a way to minimize the physical agony of painting.


Lord’av’mercy, I hate painting.

It goes something like this:

I decide to paint.

I sit and ponder the painting.

I get up and gather a few supplies.

I repeat steps 2 and 3, sometimes for weeks.

I spackle.

Sit and rest.

(Rinse and repeat)

I sand. . .sit and rest.

I bite the bullet and get the paint out.

I repeat step 2 for hours.

I begin painting.

I paint 5 minutes, rest 40.

Eventually, 5 minutes at a time, I get the painting done. But my back curses at me the entire time and, in turn, I curse back. It’s rough having an old woman’s spine. It also sounds like a biker bar in here, what with all the cursing.

Instrument of Torture

It’s the ladder work that gets to me. That and the spots near the floor. And around windows. Let’s not forget the bits at eye level.


After two weekends of painting prep, I got the paint out yesterday. It took all flippin day to do about 20 minutes worth of ceiling painting. Tonight, I girded my loins, told my back to shut up, and set to. Three hours later, I have one coat of primer on the ceiling. I’m figuring on two coats of primer and two coats of color. It’ll be years before I’m done.

And since I’m now 50, I’m guessing that means my back is 90 – not too many 90-year-old women up to painting their study. I’m right proud of my progress.

Amaryllis Vigil Day 25

The twins are getting big and the blooms should be spectacular this year.

I mentioned that you have to be tough to live in The Barn; and, it seems, amaryllis bulbs thrive on toughness.  For the past few years, one of the two amaryllis bulbs has produced blooms.  In fact, the second bulb was an off-shoot of the first and I didn’t expect it to ever do much of anything it was such a small and puny thing.  Indeed, both plants look awful most of the year and I only keep them around for the February/March spectacle of blooms.   

This past year, as part of Gardenpalooza, I put all the houseplants in the ground to fill an empty bed.  They were happy campers, all of them – including the amaryllis bulbs.  The two bulbs grew healthy leaves, for once, and simply thrived in the garden.  When it was a given that the first frost was imminent, I ran outside in the rain, ripped all the houseplants out of the dirt and, lacking potting soil, simply set them in the guest bathroom bathtub.    

I got busy.   

I don’t ever use that bathroom and forgot about the plants.  By the time I remember, all of them looked dead.  I left them.   

Last year - double buds.

With the news that Chef Boy ‘R Mine was bringing home a girlfriend, I figured it was time to get the dead plants out of the bathtub.    ‘Twas a miracle it was, but many of the plants survived – they’re on life support, but alive.  In inspecting the amaryllis bulbs I was astounded at how big they’d gotten.  It took some doing to find pots around the house to accommodate their size.  Since they had been brutally treated, I expected no bloom this year.  Hah!  I’ve got two stalks on each of them including the one that has never so much as thought about blooming.  The other major difference this year is that growth is much slower – in previous years, the stalks appear out of nowhere and are 2 feet tall within a week or so.    

One of last year's blooms.

This year’s are taking their time and I’m thinking the blooms are going to be spectacular.  Extrapolating from the past, I expect to get 8 large flowers rather than the 1 double-bloom of last year.  (And look how healthy those leaves are!) Hoo boy!   The camera is going to get a workout in a week or so – two of the bulbs have started bulging – a sure sign of impending bloom.   

I’ve mentioned a time or two (is than an understatement or what?) that 2009 was an awful year in many respects.  With a couple of remarkable exceptions, my well-being has been as brutally treated as the houseplants.  I think this means I should be double-blooming soon.  Stay tuned for updates.  🙂