Adventures in Painting

Last week I had vacation from work and I made great big plans to decorate our bedroom. Our house is lovely, don’t get me wrong, but it hasn’t been decorated since what must be 1985. Our house was built in 1989. But. There you go.

It has matte-stained mahogany-colored doors and trim throughout. Our bedroom was [poorly] painted a crisp, cold white.

Bedroom Before

I made big plans for a tan/green/gold bedroom. I pinned a thousand pins on pinterest. I picked up a thousand color cards at Lowes and Home Depot and Sherwin Williams. I held them up to the wall and squinted at them.

I made plans to paint all the trim in the whole house a warm shade of white. I thought that choosing white would be one of the easier choices – white is white, right? Nope. When I picked up some samples at my local home-décor stores I ended up with colors which all looked relatively similar to me, and sported elegant names. Eventually it came down to a choice between Cloud White and Almond Cream. I abandoned Antique White, Oyster, and Snow. I thought I’d made an excellent choice, but after waiting in line at the counter for 10 minutes I looked at the Cloud White again and ran back to get Almond Cream. It just seemed much more delicious.

While at the counter getting our gallon of trim, gallon of walls, and gallon of old-trim-sealant, the older lady behind the desk asked my mother and I if we were sisters. At first I felt flattered for my mom. But, later, I started thinking. What if it wasn’t a compliment to my mom, what if it was an insult to me? Do I look old enough to be my own mother? Was choosing whites really that detrimental to my health? I knew buying a house would make me feel like a grown-up, I didn’t know it would make me look like one too.

[FYI – my mom looks significantly younger than she really is – I can only hope I age like her!]

And the evening and the morning were the first day of the painting project.

On Tuesday my mother [who had agreed to “get me started” with the painting] and I woke up bright and early and put on old clothes. I moved everything I could out of our bedroom and put it in neat [ish] piles on our guest room floor.

Then the painting began.

We started with the trim, as the online advisors were divided on the best place to begin, and we felt overwhelmed because there was so much of it – all to be painted with a coat of sealant and 2 coats of Almond Cream.

We were moving along at a daring pace when my knees started to get a little sore. I thought to myself that I’d just slide over and sit on my patootie for awhile while I painted the bottom of a door. I slid, I sat, and my knee popped out. I heard it pop. I felt it squish and pop. I was paralyzed with fear and pain. My mom encouraged me to straighten my leg at inch-wide intervals. I tried, but I cried. My mom tried to help me stand up so that gravity could help with the straightening. I tried, but I cried again.

At this point I had visions of half-sealed bedroom trim being abandoned whilst I was checked into the nearest knee-specializing hospital. I envisioned knee-replacement surgery in my not-too-distant future. Maybe the woman selling us the paint had been a prophetess about my age?

Tim arrived home in the middle of my knee distress. He and mom together lifted me up and, after a few minutes of encouragement, and some help from gravity, my knee popped back in to position. Crisis averted.

And with a coat of sealant and a coat of Almond Cream, the evening and the morning were the second day.

I awoke at 5:45 on Wednesday morning, on the couch [since our bed was covered in paint-drop sheets], and every bone in my body ached. My knee sported a lovely gray-blue hue, not unlike the shade I eventually plan to paint our living room and hallway.

I painted from 6:00am to 4:00pm on that day. I finished the first coat of trim and completed the second coat of trim. I taped the edging with blue tape to protect the hardwood floor. When I pulled up the tape it turned out that a large portion of Almond Cream had run under the tape and dried on the floor. The last several hours of daylight were spent in a sort of downward dog yoga position with a box cutter, carefully scratching the paint off the floor without scratching the floor off too.

At this point I paused with my damp cloth to wipe several footprints off the floor from where I’d stepped in a drop of paint and walked it across the room.

At this point not a few curses were uttered.

And the evening and the morning and the cursing and the scraping were the third day.

On Thursday morning I was up early with my gallon of Plateau [a warm beige-tan color] and planned to do the first coat before lunch and the second coat after lunch. Future me chuckles when I remember the innocence of past me.

I began with a nice, blank, empty wall. I thought I’d start at the corner and practice my “cutting in” before I tried it for real by the ceiling. It seemed to go well.

At this point let me take a moment to tell you about my step-ladder. It is made of metal. The top step is 6 inches wide and slopes to the left at a 45 degree angle. There are edges that will pinch your toes. It will randomly drop clumps of dirt on the floor, even though it looks clean from the outside. At times, when you climb to the top, it will suddenly slope to a harsher, more acute angle. You will pray your final prayers, your heart will leap to your throat, you will regret that you didn’t get to see how Plateau looked on your walls before you kicked the proverbial [paint] bucket.

Once perched atop the ladder of death I began, carefully, “cutting in” where the wall met the ceiling. More paint went on the ceiling than on the wall. Drips fell on my face and dribbled down my wrist into my sleeve. I muttered under my breath and tried a narrower brush. More paint went on the ceiling. I began sniffling.

Eventually I painted the entire edge of the wall with a ¼ inch wide brush that I’d bought to paint on small canvases when I was in high school. It looked like crap [there are stronger words, but this is a family show]. When my husband arrived home from work [and painted the rest of the walls with the roller] I burst into tears and cursed the day when I thought I could paint a bedroom.

On this day I had to stop early to cook food. Because, you know, painting is hungry work.

And the evening and the morning and the dripping and the stuffing my face with alfredo were the fourth day.

On Friday I had invited people over for dinner. I had to do the second coat of paint, put up the curtain rods, iron and hang the curtains, and tidy up the [neglected] rest of the house by 5:00pm.

It worked. I painted and screwed screws and ironed, I did dishes, I swept floors, and I picked up cookie crumbs. I did not sit down. The bedroom painting was done. No clothes were put back. No pillows were on the bed. No lamps were on the bedside table. But I was done. I am done with home décor. At least until my bruised knee improves and I wash the Plateau highlights out of my hair. And, to be honest, the dark brown trim isn’t looking so bad anymore – maybe I can deal with it for a few years.

Finish Bedroom

And the evening and the morning and the pizza and the rum-and-coke were the fifth day.

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#maineprobs

There are few things I want more right now than a haircut. I haven’t had a haircut since August. That was 6 months ago. My hair is forming it’s own cult. It’s starting a band. It’s pouf-central-station.

I was going to make an appointment for last Tuesday after work. It snowed. I was going to make an appointment for Friday afternoon instead. It freezing-rained. I was going to make an appointment for Saturday. It snowed. I was going to make an appointment for today. It’s snowing. #snowdaysareoverrated

snowyAnother thing that I’d really like to do is make a budget. We set up an account with a heating oil company for automatic delivery to make sure that our pipes didn’t freeze. It got a bit chilly around here and they’ve delivered three times since January 6th. No one in their right mind budgets three oil payments in one month. There goes that organization. #bankruptcy

I wore the cutest outfit to work last week. There were leggings. There was a gray sweater dress. There was a sparkly collar. There were fluffy, salt-stained, North Face snowboots in a definitely-doesn’t-match tan color. #outfitfails

I went to the grocery store last night to get in some vittles for the upcoming doom known as Linus. I practically wrestled the last bag of tortilla chips from a woman in an L. L. Bean floor-length, down-filled coat and uggs. My cart was covered in snow. Have you ever tried pushing a full grocery cart over a parking lot made of re-frozen, tire-tracked, solid slush? I have. I have also done it while carrying a 24-pack of bottled water in one hand and a carton of anti-freeze car stuff in the other. #hardcoregrocerystore

deckI think I ruined my window-wipers. When I drove home in the freezing rain on Friday I must have left them switched on when I got out of the car. When we started my car yesterday they innocently attempted to start wiping again. Little did they know that an inch of ice and a foot of snow were gluing them to the window. #ripwipers

carsAn ever-present danger that results from living in Maine is the likelihood of getting pierced through the skull with an icicle every time you exit your front door, or walk under a power line, or walk under an awning, or go outside ever, at all. This is not a joke, people, this is a real problem. A little girl in my school arrived with a red, swollen bump on her head and a practically pierced lip due to a near-miss with an icicle. #icekills

iceAnd, that reminds me, you know that part in “A Christmas Story” when the kid sticks his tongue to the ice-cold pole? Well. If you come visit me at work I’ll show you three kids that have had similar problems in the past month. Did you know that school bus windows got that cold? Well – now you do. #savethetongues

It would be really awesome if there was somewhere in Rural Maine that delivered food in snowstorms. Like, if there was a truck with a plow attached that would plow your driveway and deliver your sweet’n’sour chicken and teriyaki beef-on-a-stick. Sorry Tim, it’s sandwiches again tonight. Who cooks on a snow day?

Except if it’s baking. Snow days are excellent days for baking cookies. And for watching tv. And for catching up on your facebook stalking and pinterest pinning. And for finally deciding what color you’re going to paint your bedroom. And for putting items in online shopping carts. And for making a dent in that pile of laundry. And for inventing new outfits. And for trying to do that cool cat’s-eye eyeliner trick you saw on the internet. And for texting your brothers funny gifs at 6:45am.

On a good snow day that stuff will get you up to about 11:00am. After that you’ll stare out the window, wrapped in your Avengers fleece blanket, with two cookies in your mouth, and wonder if winter is ever going to be over. Then you’ll start planning that trip to Florida. #springbreak #funinthesun #getmeouttahere #imgonnamakecocoa

snowy2