As Seen on The Knot
  • Kelly

The Wall


Something appears to move out of the corner of my eye.

Is that the cat? No, not the cat. Just a blanket. Let me just grab the vacuum and do a couple of my nighttime chores and then I’ll get to folding laundry.

As I reach for the vacuum, it slips through my hands. I watch it crash towards the floor, its top-heavy handle picking up speed as it races for my freshly painted wall. It grazes the wall with enough force to take out a chunk of paint and drywall.


Okay, there’s got to be spackle around here somewhere. I remember packing it before we move.


It’s probably out in the garage with the paint rollers. I walk around to the foyer and open the door to the one-car garage. “Garage door left,” my alarm system chimes. The heat is overwhelming. I walk over to the far back cabinet and flip the tiny little latch upwards so I can access the paint. Blue, beige, white. I grab the can of white paint and put it on the ground. I look for the toolbox and spot it in the corner. Its latches are starting to rust. I make a mental note to invest in a new toolbox.

I rifle around for something to dislodge the lid to the paint can, trying to tune out the overwhelming smell of a bonfire. Usually, I like the smell of a bonfire in summer. It reminds me of family cookouts- not something I ever had with my parents as a kid- but it reminds me of roasted marshmallows and charred meat.

I get the aching knot in the pit of my stomach again and push it from my mind with all my might. The wall has a gash in it and I need to fix it. I just paid a lot of money to have my basement redone and I’m not going to let a vacuum ruin that for me.

I pry open the lid to the paint can and give it a shake. I locate the spackle and some sandpaper and a tiny paintbrush and make my way back inside.

I head to the bathroom for some paper towels- I just redid the floors and I don’t want the paint to splatter onto them. My mind starts to wander and I start to think of the mall and how I miss shopping but I redirect my thoughts because this chunk missing from my wall is going to drive me crazy if I don’t take care of it tonight. I mean, yeah, it’s 2 am but I need to get this done so it can dry by morning.

Cracking open a window, I instantly regret it. I close the window and prepare to paint the wall.


Okay, so let’s see. This spackle is purple, which means it dries white. Here’s hoping, at least. I apply a generous layer of spackle and wipe some off. Then I head to the laundry room where I keep a hair dryer, especially for moments like this. With hairdryer in hand, I head to the hall closet and look through my clear plastic bins, all labelled with the contents. “Extension cords.” I pull out a long, white extension cord and slowly unravel it. I attach it to my hair dryer and plug it in so it can reach the spot on the wall with the spackle.

I turn the hairdryer on and watch as it turns red- there’s some type of gimmicky infrared light on the tip of it that allegedly help keep flyaways at bay, or so the box advertised. I don’t know- I use it to dry spackle and paint.

Once the paint turns white, I start to sand. I sand down the spackle until it’s nice and flat. At this point, I’m pleased with my work. This is my motorcycle maintenance. I grab my paintbrush and start to paint. I make sure to paint with careful little strokes- when the basement was remodeled, I’m pretty sure the crew used rollers, so the stroke pattern will be different.

As soon as I finish painting the spot on my wall, I again hit it with my hairdryer. I can see the paint slowly starting to dry. I walk over to the desk and grab my Game of Thrones lamp. I think back to watching the show in my condo, missing the beach. Missing leaving the house.

A loud bang rips me from my reverie.

I get back to the task at hand. I grab my lamp and head over to inspect the paint job I’ve just completed. Looks good. No visible brush strokes. I actually notice some other brush strokes and wonder if the painters maybe didn’t use a roller but used paintbrushes themselves.

Then I spot it.

An imperfection in my paint strokes.

It appears as if I was a little heavy-handed with the paint, and I can see a glob near the base of my work.

A dried glob.


I grab my sandpaper and start to smooth it out. But at this point, I can’t tell where my paint job ends and where my layer of paint applied by the professionals begins. And I know I’m probably sanding off more paint than I should be.

I start to sweat. I just had this basement redone. I can’t have fucked up a wall already. Okay, relax, I remind myself. There’s a paint roller in the garage. You saw it when you went to get the paint supplies.

I walk back through the foyer and over to the garage door. “Garage door left” I hear my alarm system say as I open the door. The heat hits me in the face, the smell of smoke overwhelming.

I make my way over to the paint supplies. I spot the roller. It’s bigger than I need for this small area. I root around a bit and then I spot it. Success! There’s a brand new small roller, perfect for this job.

Roller in hand, I make my way back through my foyer and into my basement. I walk over to the wall and dip my roller into the paint can. I coat it in paint and slather a thick layer onto the wall. I use this layer to spread out the paint, going as far as the crown moulding above and the trim near my feet.


You’d never know I painted this wall.

It looks absolutely perfect.

I go to the laundry room and clean off my supplies in the slop sink. The cold water splashes out against my legs. It feels good.

I go back to the wall to inspect my work. I grab my Game of Thrones lamp and give the wall a throughout once-over.

It looks amazing. Even better than before.

I head for the garage and put all my paint supplies away. I ignore the smell of smoke. I need to find the hammer so I can close up this paint can. Never know when I may need to fix more damage to a wall.

Once inside the foyer, I look down. My hands are filthy. I need to get this paint off before it’s crusted on. I head for the bathroom and scrub my hands. The paint turns the water in the sink a frothy, milky white. I dry my hands on the paper towels I keep nearby.

I make my way back to my wall and see some paint and dust on the floor. I grab my steam mop and clean up after myself. This is a brand new floor. I don’t want paint on it. I head back to the laundry room to put the dirty mop head in the clear plastic bucket I reserve for dirty rags and such. I’ll do laundry tomorrow.

Time for bed.

As I head upstairs, I take a look over my shoulder and out the window above my front door. I can see the entire city.


Another building collapses.

But at least my walls are perfect.