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The decorator just called me. "There was water damage from the terrace above,” she said. “It has to be repaired and painted in four days by the time she comes back from New York.  So I went for this job north of Malibu on Pacific Coast Highway.


I walked through with the manager to see what had to be done. There was extensive water damage in one part of the huge living room. I had to fix it, while matching not just the colors of the flat ceiling parts but the exact color and the sheen of the woodwork part of that vaulted ceiling. What was slightly aged I mean a couple of years old. In case you would paint over with the same paint there would be some difference. This huge ceiling was so lit from the light outside that, the slightest mismatch would be obvious.


I stepped out onto the terrace above that had a 180-degree picture-postcard view of the Pacific Ocean with Malibu and Santa Monica in the far distance. The house was built right on the edge of a steep sandstone wall to take full advantage of this vista. Down below was a narrow strip of private beach blocked from both ends by nature. The house could have been featured in any interior decorating magazine. Probably it was.


We went to see if there was any paint left, any material that was used before. We walked along a pathway to the other house. 


I've found out from the manager, that all three houses belonged to her. On both sides of the path there were beds of roses. “Barbara planted all this,” he said. “She loves gardening.” in one hand she spreads the seeds with the other she spreads pesticides. "She is a real crazy"  I thought would you dare to tell her?


There was no paint left in the storage room. Whatever left there seemed to be mixed together unusable trash. With nothing to rely on, I would have to do everything from scratch.


The manager, sensed that there was not much time to waste. He offered lets go buy the material on Barbara's account.


We drove down Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu Lumber, but before we did, I had to write down exactly what I needed. There was no time to go back and forth.


You have to do the same whenever you go to the store. Use the printout forms. I bought everything the payed much attention that I don't have to come back to the store again.


At the cashier’s counter, a lady who seemingly knew Mike the manager asked with a big smile "How is Barbara?" I thought, “What does she care? As if they’re friends.”


We arrived back at the house. The walls of the hallway leading to the living room were decorated with pictures of Hollywood greats. On the far side of the living room was a grand piano with memorabilia and pictures. There were pictures of her with politicians like Al Gore, and several other pictures with Bill Clinton, seemed taken at a party all with friendly hugging poses and big smiles. This did not surprise me at all. After all, I knew she is a major contributor to the Democratic Party and of course pictures with everybody from Hollywood.

It is easier to repaint a whole room, but here the problem was no personal objects could be moved from one part of the room to the other not even touched.


The couple of days was enough for me to finish the job, although I really had to plan. It was difficult to match the colors and tedious time-consuming work. The difficulty was not only matching the colors already aged exactly, but also the sheen on a large continuous ceiling. You need practice for this, but finally everybody was satisfied with the result. No one could see the difference.

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