When you are cutting peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and you hear a loud crash, you run.
Seconds before, Carrie had been helping Michael set the table for lunch. She went to the laundry room for some reason and no one knows what happened next. Somehow 3/4 of a gallon of latex paint hit the floor, busted open and splattered everywhere. In addition to the huge puddle on the floor covering a paper bag of stuff from the car and a box of tile, paint had hit the wall, the shoes in the shoe bin, the hanging aprons, the washer and dryer, and the clothes on the floor. It was a mess of giant proportions.
Ironically Carrie didn't have a drop of paint on her.
I yelled for Michael who came fast hearing the panic in my voice. He swept Carrie up to her room and came back to help. Unfortunately, his foot had hit a little paint and he tracked it through the kitchen as he hurried. It's hard not to panic in such a situation.
The clean up:
1. Laminate wood floors in the kitchen first.
Brenna filled bowls with water and ripped off paper towels for us so we could water down the paint on the kitchen floor and clean that first. The biggest puddle in the laundry room could wait, but the kitchen floors had to be cleaned quickly. Thankfully it came up easily, but when I reached for another roll of paper towels I also stepped in paint.
2. Assess what can be saved
Once I had paint on my feet I decided to just stay in the laundry room. The shoe bin was giving me a near heart attack as I looked at all the shoes splattered with paint. I began pulling out only the shoes that currently fit and are worn. Brenna took some to the kitchen sink and Michael took the others to the bathroom sink and they washed off what they could. I filled Kroger bags with shoes that couldn't be saved - the majority of which were too small or heavily worn anyway.
3. Determine the extent of the splatter
I knew there was paint running down the wall, but as I turned my attention from the shoe rack to the clothes on the floor and the jackets hanging on the hooks, I found more paint spots. I started the washing machine and began trying to rinse paint from the canvas bag the kids' use for overnight trips, the jackets, and the pjs and swim suits that had been on the floor. Except for the bag and one apron, most everything came clean. Though the bag is still dotted with paint, it saved Brenna's brand new tennis shoes.
4. Move paint soaked items outside to a grassy area
Now that we'd saved what we could, we had a mess to clean up. First was a paper bag full of stuff that had come in from the van prior to vacation. The front and bottom were covered in thick paint. As Michael lifted it, I slid a plastic bag over it so he could carry it outside with it dripping. Next was a very heavy box of tiles that were sitting right in the puddle of paint. It was awkward to carry dry, let alone slippery with paint. We finally got it into a plastic bag which would keep it from dripping. Michael then put a plastic bag on each hand like a glove and carefully lifted the box.
5. Clean up the puddle
Talk about a massive mess. sigh. I opened a plastic bag and then used paper towels, in lengths of three, to scoop up the paint and drop it into the bag. It was messy, but it worked. I splashed a little on the washer and got a good bit on my knee, but I got the job done. To do the final clean up of the floor, we spilled water in controlled sections and scrubbed with paper towels.
6. Be thankful it wasn't worse
There's paint all down the wall, but our laundry room was already fairly high on the priority list for a redo anyway. No clothes had to be thrown away. All of the floors came clean. The most necessary shoes were spared. Despite being angry, we all managed to work together to clean up the mess.
It's been a wild few weeks with Carrie. In addition to her daily temper tantrums, refusals to do what she's asked (including go to the bathroom or to bed), she has also gotten her head stuck between the back of the couch and the wall. Gotten her foot stuck between the top of her head board and the wall. Pulled a gallon of milk off the counter (luckily it didn't spill). Let the water run in a plugged sink till it overflowed. Broken the battery cover off of the remote. Screwed up the tv settings. Gone outside by herself (we now keep the doors deadlocked). Eaten half a package of cheese that she snuck out of the fridge and hid out behind the couch to scarf down. And those are just the things I can remember right now.
Thank goodness she is child number three and we know that this phase will end. In the meantime I'm researching boarding schools that take two year olds.