By: Mary Fran Bontempo

toolbeltYesterday, I spent the entire day scrubbing the glue off of the walls in my kitchen.

This is not a new exercise routine. It’s what has to happen when you finally remove the God-awful wallpaper that’s been on your kitchen walls since 1993 before you can paint those same walls a nice, soothing, solid color that has nothing to do with paisley, or Victorianna, or any of the other crap I mistakenly doused my home with two decades ago.
Yes, it’s been two decades since I redid my kitchen, as well as other rooms in my house.
Oh, I would have liked to have done something about all of it sooner, but things–like kids, and college, and an economy that sucked the life out of our finances–intervened.
So the wallpaper stayed, as did the hokey, yawn-inducing Americana in the family room, along with the duck decoys (yes, we have duck decoys), and the rooster on the dining room table that I thought conjured the French countryside in my Pennsylvania dining room. It didn’t.
Thankfully, the economy is finally turning around, which means there’s a little money available to drag the house into the twenty-first century. Unless, that is, two of your children are getting married within the next six months.
Which explains why I was first scraping off the wallpaper, then scrubbing the walls to remove the glue. And which also explains why I will be the one painting the walls once my son (God love him) spackles and sands the walls, after which I will likely also have to wash every dish, glass, pot, pan, fork, spoon and knife in the kitchen.
I am exhausted. Tired enough that you would think I’d fall into a dreamless, deep sleep at night. But no, my dreams are the stuff of fantasies. Wild, exciting fantasies.
I dream about men. Workmen.
Men who will come into my home, saggy jeans and butt cracks in full view, and do all of this crap for me.
Men who will smell like sweat, leave a trail of dirt in their wake and ask to use the bathroom, which I will promptly scrub when they leave.
Men who show up not with flowers, chocolate or jewelry to woo me, but with grimy pick-up trucks, tool belts and drop cloths.
When morning comes, I reluctantly open my eyes, knowing full well that the hotties who have graced my slumber are nothing more than figments dreamed up by my exhausted, feverish mind.
I used to dream about George Clooney. These days, my heart flutters at the thought of a guy named Walt, or Chuck, or Pete, who will amble up to my door, fix all my stuff and hand me a bill that’s at least a hundred dollars less than I thought it would be. Be still my heart.
But a dream is just a dream and I’ve got a kitchen to finish. If you need me, I’ll be the one wearing the industrial gloves, slopping around a bucket of hot water and scrubbing the walls. Just call me Walt.