That Time We Owned A Van Gogh Masterpiece

Yesterday, the boy helped me stuff our photocopied Christmas letters into envelopes with our Christmas cards, and then we dried our tongues out by licking them all shut, the old fashioned way.

Sealed with the spit.

We’re all friends here.

That big boy of mine and I were a frenzy of office work at our kitchen counter, as we got a little assembly line going between the two of us.

And yes.  I talked about this in last night’s blog post, which makes it a bit redundant, but whatever.  I was setting the backstory, because sometimes backstories are important.  Or at least they help explain to the police WHY something happened the way it did.

While the boy and I were running our Christmas card sweat shop in the kitchen, Thing 2 was playing in the doorway to his bedroom with his trains.  He had set up a track that extended from his bedroom into the hallway, and he was hauling coal at break-your-neck speeds down that track.  He had some bulldozers and backhoes there to help with broken train tracks.  Thing 2 was busy having a ball.

He was occupied.

He was content.

He was happy.

Never mind that the people in the train’s passenger cars were gripping their seats tightly and praying out loud, because the train exceeded legal speed limits, and the track seemed to be OUT at the end there.

The boy and I kept on working.

Thing 2 kept on chattering away to his locomotives.

I’d glance over every now and then, and I could see the top of his curly head, behind the half-wall that’s there in the hallway, where our stairs lead down to the family room.

All was well.

When the boy and I finished stuffing / licking / stamping / glory, glory, hallelujah-ing, we shoved all one-point-six million of our Christmas cards into a cardboard box to drive down to the post office, because THAT MONKEY was about to be shaken off our backs, as YES!  THE CHRISTMAS CARDS WERE BEING MAILED OUT!  I walked around that half-wall in our home where Thing 2 had an entire construction site and railroad station set up.

And that’s when I saw it.

All of it.

Or at least part of it.

Thing 2, you see, had discovered some Crayola markers in a package, which had been sitting on the boy’s desk, in HIS bedroom.  And… while the boy and I thought he was happily pushing train engines around on the floor as he talked, he was really chattering away and using those markers to draw on walls and floors and doors.

Eight walls, one bathroom door and three hardwood floors, to be exact, but who keeps a record of sins like that?

The mother does, that’s who.

image1 image2 image3 IMG_5475 These snapshots with my iPhone don’t even do justice to the masterpiece that Picasso had whipped out.  The mess was SO ENORMOUS and SO GRAND and COVERED SO MANY ACRES OF WALL AND FLOOR SPACE, all I could do was stare at it, slack-jawed and shocked out of my socks.

Eight walls… one bathroom door… and three hardwood floors.

The brown marker had been taken all the way down the stairs and around the corner, into the laundry room.  The length of that scribbled line was nearly four miles long.

The black marker had done loops and loops on the hallway floor, and then went in a straight line, clear across my bedroom floor and across my bathroom floor.

The marker was EVERY… WHERE.

I told the boy, after he’d gasped at the artwork and snickered a bit, because LO!  SOMEONE WAS IN TROUBLE AND IT WASN’T HIM!, that I needed to just sit down, throw back a whiskey shot and maybe take up smoking for the first time in my life.

I called Thing 2 over and asked, in the calm voice that could break at any second and cause the voice’s owner to spin into a fighting rage that would have gotten kicked off Jerry Springer’s show, “What did you do here?”

That preschooler looked at me and announced, “Well… I was drawing a beautiful flower for you, and then I drew a few roads for my dump trucks to drive on.  I drew some really big roads, Mom.”


That they were… really big, long, straight roads that went on for miles.

I hauled out the 409 spray and the scrubbing rags and the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and I got to work.  And the boy, bless his heart, picked up a rag and some Dawn dish soap, and he went to work at the opposite end of the roads and beautiful flowers.

Nearly an hour later, it was all cleaned up, with the exception of the bathroom door, which has managed to cling to its masterpiece with a death grip.  That one will need to be repainted.  But, other than that door, there is no evidence that Van Gogh ever painted here.

And there was an hour of clean up yesterday that I’ll never get back.

I think the T-shirt that Grammy bought for Thing 2 was rather fitting for yesterday’s graffiti, which was done without Mama knowing it:

IMG_7479 IMG_7484 IMG_7488 IMG_7485Although there was a small stretch of time yesterday when I discussed selling Thing 2 on eBay, I’ve since recovered and decided to keep him.  It’s because when I was rocking him to sleep last night, he sat up and whispered to me, “I love you so much, Mommy.  I just love you and love you!”

So now he’s staying with us throughout the Christmas season.  I just love him and love him right back… and his big brother, too, who spent his Monday working his tail off to help me out.

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