Marble Halls and True Israelites

We didn’t end up with marble halls in our living room, but we had our fair share of diamond sunbursts and, at the end of the day, we just wanted blue.

The long-awaited painting of our living room, hallway, and staircase was scheduled for this past week of vacation. Thankfully we had help from my brothers and my parents in order to get the work done in good time and without too much cursing. It would probably be bad luck if I cursed our living room as much as I cursed our bedroom during our last painting extravaganza.

The painting project began when mom and I left work on Friday to go to Home Depot to buy the paint. I had narrowed the choices down to three blues: Clear Vista, Carefree Skies, and Promise Keepers. After 45 minutes re-examining the color swatches in Home Depot we ended up with an entirely new color altogether: Clear Water. We chose this color by my mother holding the cards up in the light from the garden department and me squinting at it without knowing which color name it was. This method, while confusing to other customers, was very successful.

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On Saturday I moved everything out of the living room except for the couch and the piano. I took all the pictures off the walls, washed them down with warm, soapy water [I also inadvertently washed out my eyes] and filled in all of the little holes in the wall with spackle. I also filled in the larger holes in the wall left by the former owners. It looks to me like they attempted to drag furniture down the hallway without turning it sideways and left gashes in the wall – looking much like a deer sharpening it’s antlers. I know this is rather farfetched but, “when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worthwhile.”

Sunday was a day of rest. And a day of staring at the walls, while holding up the paint swatches, and allowing my imagination to run away with me. I decided, much like Anne [you know, of Green Gables fame], that Clear Water was a truly boring color name. It will henceforth be named “The Blue of the Lake of Shining Waters.”

I then decided that I would make a patch out of spare drywall to fill the hole in our wall where the former owners ripped out a thermostat. I used three kitchen knives, a tape measure, a straight-edge, and a proficient amount of second-guessing myself. Eventually I ended up, through trial and error, with a piece of board small enough to fit in the hole, but big enough not to fall out the other side. I was not able to work out a way to attach the piece into the wall. I decided I would leave that mission until tomorrow, for “tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.”

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On Monday, bright and early, the painting began. Painting on this day was done to the playlist “Chuffed” which is a Northern Ireland word meaning “warm and fuzzy happy feelings inside.” Littlest Little Brother and my mother were in attendance, and we began by putting a coat of sealant on the trim. At this point we realized that when you paint the trim above the door you look remarkably akin to an Israelite painting the door posts of his home with the blood of a lamb to prevent the entrance of the Angel of Death. From this point onward all door-trim painters will be known as True Israelites and are entitled to all the rights and privileges thereof. [For those of you unfamiliar with this Bible story you may refer to Exodus 12 or your handy video-cassette of The Prince of Egypt]

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The worst part of painting, as I am sure you will agree, is the preparation to paint. The coat of sealant was the only painting we completed on Monday because so much time was taken by taping up the carpet, the door handles, the trim, and the window-panes. My dad came and painted the sealant of the built-in shelves. We should put a picture of him on the shelves in celebration of his work.

On Monday night we celebrated by trying out the non-pizza food of the new local pizza place and watching the first half of Anne of Green Gables. To say that tears were not shed would be a lie. When Marilla told Anne that she could stay at Green Gables my brothers cheered and hugged.

Perhaps the paint fumes were getting to us. Perhaps there was something in the calzones. Perhaps there’s something about Anne.

On Tuesday, Mom, Littlest Little Brother, Biggest Little Brother, Husband, Father, and Me all painted. We started [as each was able] and went from 8 – 5. On this day we were accompanied by the tunes of the 80s. Events included frequent validations of our True Israelite status, impromptu hall-way dances to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” and falls into the “depths of despair” when Almond Cream drips settled onto the Blue-Gray carpet or into our hair.

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Mom and I under no circumstances followed everyone else around with our paintbrushes to finish their previously finished doors. We aren’t fussy or perfectionists at all. We did not instruct Littlest Little Brother on the correct method to put paint on a brush or the correct way to stick tape onto the floor.

At the end of Tuesday’s painting we had completed the second coat of Almond Cream and all of the trim was finished. Words could not express our joy.

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Wednesday morning dawned bright and windy. Impatiently and excitedly Mom and I opened The Blue of the Lake of Shining Waters. Mom did the “cutting-in” by the ceiling and I did the edging by the floor. We filled in the middle with the paint rollers. At this point we sent panicked texts to my Father to ask him to pick up another gallon of paint. The Blue of the Lake of Shining Waters did not go quite as far as we had expected.

Additionally we realized that we were not giants, nor Mr. Fantastic, and could not stretch to reach the top of the wall on the stairs. We tried to balance planks on our stepladder, but they were too short to reach the top of the stairs. Our lives were “perfect graveyards of buried hopes.” And we had to paint only up to the edges by the stairs.

At times when the paint went on the wall it looked white. At other times it looked brighter than the brightest color on the color cards. We hoped that when it grew up it would be a “real nice auburn” [that is to say, blue].

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By the end of Wednesday we had completed our painting [the stairs aside] and it was lovely. We, accompanied by the strains of popular Disney songs, did two coats and then touched-up around the trim to get rid of any accidental drip-marks of blue where it was not welcome.

On Thursday I slept in. Then my husband and I moved the furniture back into the room. We tried various configurations and [because the piano weighs 435,565,359 tons] we settled on the one that required it to move the shortest distance.

Friday was made of grocery shopping, laundry, and pizza. The second half of Anne of Green Gables was watched. When [SPOILER ALERT] Matthew died tears were shed, shamelessly.

On Saturday my mother and I went to one of our favorite places: T J Maxx. We got curtains. What a simple sentence that was, “We got curtains” – what actually happened was a 1.5 hour trip to the Home Goods department where we had in our carts, at one point, 4 different styles of curtains. We narrowed it to two piles of room-décor stuff and, after much deliberation, calculation, measuring, hemming and hawing, and over-chair-draping we decided on one of the piles.

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I will [for the sake of time] gloss over the 2 hour event that was the measuring, drilling, assembling, ironing, hanging, and rearranging on the curtains and leave you with a picture of the final result. “I know I chatter on far too much . . . but if you only knew how many things I want to say and don’t – give me some credit!”

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At Home in the Depot

Prior to purchasing a house my average trip to Home Depot lasted about 3 minutes. It was typically a mad dash to the snow-shovel or light-blub department and a quick self-checkout. I would then recover from the dreaded visit with a double-shot latte and a large oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.

I would spend the rest of the day complaining about how the big-box-store air dried my contacts out and the bright lights gave me a headache.

I would spend extra money at local, smaller stores, just to avoid going inside.

No more.

I went to Home Depot and Lowes three times this past weekend. I perused many aisles. I took photos of things to send to my husband. I did multiplication and square-footages estimates on my cell phone. I drove through the parking lot slowly so that I could see the prices of things placed outside Home Depot. Then I went to Lowes and took more photos and stood staring at samples for 35 minutes. Then I went back to Home Depot and looked at their samples and did more multiplication.

Then I went home and went on lowes.com and homedepot.com and put things in baskets.

I am planning our next painting adventure. Our living room and hallway are currently a half-hearted shade of mustard. It is as though the previous owner wanted to paint the living room yellow but didn’t quite have the guts to do it properly and settled for a not-quite-so-yellow compromise. They also seem to have run out of paint halfway up the stairs. You can see where they rolled the paint roller and then where they gave up on rolling.

I will be painting the living room, stairs, and hallway a lovely blue color that has yet to be determined. My recent trip to Home Depot [along with my long-suffering mother] was to acquire paint cards to stick up and around the room. The colors vary in loveliness from “Afternoon Siesta Blue” to “Hazy Seacliff Teal” and “Ionic Sky.”

While at Home Depot we almost purchased kitchen tile, laminate wood flooring, a lawn mower, a shed, bushes, and counter-tops [this blog entry does not even include the trip we made to TJ Maxx the same day where I almost purchased three sets of curtains, five paintings, and a large assortment of throw pillows].

I should set up some sort of deal with our bank where I am not able to spend more than an allotted sum of money on any given trip to Home Depot or Lowes without adult supervision. It is my grown-up version of a candy store.

[Let’s be honest, though, I would behave exactly the same way in a candy store]

Tune in sometime after April Vacation to read about our upcoming escapades with the blue paint in the living room! I will count this décor-spree a success if I manage to paint the entire room without getting any paint in my eyebrows.

Blues!