Saturday, 29 March 2014

Painting Day

There is brilliant sunshine blasting into my window, forcing its way through the light skim of cloud that sits on the distant horizon, warming my apartment to the point of near discomfort. Windows will be opened today. It is a beautiful start to what will be a very busy day. The trouble with this beautiful sunshine is that it highlights every speck of dust, every flaw of gyproc, every unpainted surface on every wall where the sun shines. Only those parts of my apartment shielded from this glaring eye of Sauron escape its inspection.

Fortunately today is the painting party. Today a group of my friends are coming over to help me paint and finish the walls and trim, signalling the near completion of what has been a marathon project. These renovations began on January 8th; today it is March 29th. We are in the midst of week 12 of this effort to make my apartment more wheelchair friendly. This effort has involved a great deal of help from my brother Jim, from my friends Mike and Dion, from other friends like Anne and Dan and Brian, and today from many other friends.

We have, as a group, made a bigger bathroom, twice as big as before; we have put in a wheelchair shower, handicapped toilet with washing system, and a wheelchair sink; we have put in wider doors to my bedroom and bathroom; we have widened my hallway near my door so it is easier for me to get around; we have pulled out carpet and underlay, ripped out gyproc, torn out plumbing, removed old doors, filled, sanded, repeated and generally worked together in all kinds of ways. Today, we paint.

I am forever indebted to those kind people around me who have put so much effort into making my quality of life better. The ultimate irony is the shortness of my life expectancy. While I hope for much, the reality is that ALS will most likely take my life within the next 24 to 36 months. Still, even in this situation, these changes to my apartment make a massive difference for me, some in ways that are almost invisible to see, others so plain as to be unmissable.

Next week we are getting together again, here at my apartment. Jim will be in town that weekend too. I have called it the "Clean Up and Wine Making Party". Mostly it will be the wine drinking party, a celebration, not just of what we have done, but of our friendship and our ability to care for one another. While I am the blessed recipient of this generosity, I have seen this group do the same for other members, for others in our "gang". While we may paint today, we will also commune, share, laugh and enjoy. This is the only gift I can give in return, a place for this joy. It seems so little when I have been given so much.


  1. It was very nice of your friends to help you out. Btw, what were the colors you chose to coat your walls? I wish you took photos on how you transformed the apartment into a wheelchair-friendly abode, so your readers might pick up some tricks they could use for their homes. Have a great day!

    Jeannette Greer @ JTC, Inc

    1. Hello Jeannette

      I posted a number of pictures on FB showing the change from standard bathroom to wheelchair bathroom. The colours I have are pumpkin and white.