“Dad, can we please go get some paint today?” I asked for the 43rd time since I hatched my renovation plans. I knew I was whining, but I couldn’t stop myself. I was tired of trying to reason with him. Why was it so hard for him to understand that a 10-year old has dreams, big dreams, and it was his job to support them?
Dad adjusted his baseball cap and gave me the answer I dreaded most, “We’ll see.” Translation: No.
He didn’t get it. I thought about my upcoming babysitting gigs and calculated the money. I’d earn about $7.00 per night, and I had three gigs lined up. Was $21.00 enough to score 4 gallons of paint?
What Dad– and no one else– could see was the picture in my mind. I had a clear vision– I was going to transform the rotten shack behind my Grandma’s farmhouse into a cottage. Dubbed the $200 house by everyone in my family for its apparent value, it had become my obsession. All they could see were rusty nails, rotten boards, and rat turds. I saw freshly painted walls, repaired windows, and a newly shingled roof.
I would do it myself. I had a multi-step plan and the first step was paint. I’d hit several roadblocks, namely my dad and my inability to ride my bike as far as the nearest Benjamin Moore store.
I decided to move on to step 2.
I was going to make curtains for those windows that had been blown out by the Texas prairie winds. Because my father didn’t care about my future in design I approached my mom.
“Mom, can you take me to a fabric store to get material for curtains?” I acted nonchalant, because mom wasn’t a huge fan of me hanging out where the likelihood that I would end up needing emergency tetanus shots was almost guaranteed.
“What for?” she asked.
Screw her. She was already giving me the third degree about my window treatments. She was a dead-end just like Dad. My Grandma could get me some material but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings by rejecting her country kitchen patterns. I wanted something fancy. Something from Dallas.
I took matters into my own hand and pedaled to TG&Y to get some material. All I could find was plastic tablecloths, which I decided would be good. It’s only temporary until I’m allowed to bike all the way to a real curtain store.
Eventually, my dad agreed to get me some paint. I spent hours slathering coats of pale blue paint on top of the half-papered walls. The picture in my mind grew more vivid as I refused to accept that the $200 house was never going to look like a cottage. I was never going to have sleepovers there. It was a shack and that’s all it ever would be.
Grandma joked, “Save your energy. The only thing that old house needs is a match.”
No! I wouldn’t give up. Maybe a rug? Maybe some air freshener?
I grew despondent. “Dad, how come I can’t make the $200 house look beautiful? I can see it in my mind!”
“Sweetie, maybe your mind is more beautiful than the world knows how to be.”