You see, after years of perfectly contented couch potatodom, we have suddenly taken it upon ourselves to paint our entire house – all ten rooms of it.
I accept full blame for this aberration. You see, I woke up one morning not too long ago, to the startling realization that we’re not getting any younger, DH and I, while the last paint job we did on our walls is nearly as old as our children and, aesthetically speaking, might leave a little something to be desired.
After all, what if we had to sell the place tomorrow?
I flew out of bed (figuratively speaking, you understand), threw on a housecoat, and took a tour around our little kingdom with an eye to what a potential buyer would see. The results were not hopeful.
How could I have lived so long in one place and not seen the black scuff marks on baseboards, the fingerprints on walls and the edges of doors that no amount of cleaning seemed to ever remove, that long scratch from the time we tried to move the recliner into our tiny den and it somehow clawed the wall on its way in?
And what about those worn, darkened paths along our carpeting? Or the furniture placement that meant that every time we want to get to the telephone in the living room, we have to veer around a huge easy chair that should have been relegated to the dump years ago?
Or, as I discovered to my complete astonishment, the burgeoning number of knick-knacks that had somehow expanded across my shelves and were now standing forlornly in little flocks, like the clumps of mushrooms that you notice one morning in your back yard after a rain. And when was it that I morphed into a collector of knickknacks anyway?
I relayed the bad news to my DH. It seemed there was nothing else for it but to bite the bullet and have the house painted.
He concurred completely with the verdict; however, my conclusion didn’t go down well at all. What, have it painted by someone else? No way! (This from a man who, you’ll remember, is starting down the final lap of four score years.)
But no, that didn’t matter. Having been Mr. Fix-It for lo these many years, and never in his entire life having met a construction job that he couldn’t tackle, he simply wouldn’t hear of someone else doing it.
Now, you have to understand that, in addition to the fact that we’re clearly not spring chickens, neither of us is exactly at the peak of good health either. DH has had neurosurgery and still suffers from nerve pain that I’m convinced would put most people out for the count. I’m the computer version of a couch potato with the appetite of a starving lumberjack; in other words, I’m what is sometimes discreetly called “a big girl.” And we have our fair complement of other aches and pains.
But did these little facts daunt us? Nosiree Jim Bob! DH was ready to start that very day; and once I got used to the idea of actually performing physical work, I began to take hold of the idea and run with it myself.
In fact, I even persuaded DH to let me figure out how much paint we’d need for the various rooms, which for some reason he allowed me to do. (Did I mention that I’m apparently dyslexic for numbers? Or something like that, because 9s turn into 6s and numbers transpose themselves right in front of my eyes. I love the math part, as long as the numbers stay what and where they’re supposed to be! But I’m clearly a bit …hmm, how to say this…unreliable as a number cruncher.)
However, I immediately set to work painstakingly checking the dimensions of our castle and calculating the number of gallons of paint we’d need to buy. (The total looked a bit…well…sparse; but a quick check proved that the numbers had obligingly stayed put and the math was okay, so I forgot my misgivings.)
A local paint store was obligingly running a two-for-one sale, so off we went and bought gallons of paint: ceiling paint, primer, kitchen and bath paint, and the pièce de resistance, top-of-the-line wall paint. I didn’t even have to choose colours right away; I could bring the paint back with the colour sample whenever I was ready. It was all good, as they say.
Here’s where I suppose I should admit that there was a new reason my numbers looked a little wonky. The sale ended, we got to work painting….and I suddenly realized that I had only bought enough paint for either one extremely thin coat in every room, or two coats over half the house. Two coats of paint, huh? Oh dear.
However, we soldiered on, and the heavens beamed down on me after all: the paint store decided that the original two-for-one paint sale had gone so well, they’d have another! So back we went for the missing gallons of paint.
The paint job is progressing, slowly but surely, and we have now completed the entrance foyer, hall closet, kitchen (except bulkhead and island, but more on that later), living-dining room, and hallway to the bedrooms.
DH gets sorer after every painting bout, but by the next day the pain has returned to its normal level, apparently, so he’s ready to go on. I think my Mr. Fix-It husband is so happy to have something physical like this to do that he thinks it’s worth a bit more discomfort. Something like a drop in the bucket, you know?
We old farts have to be careful not to overdo at any one time, which automatically limits the amount that gets done each day; but the most trying part (for me, anyway) is the repair work, which begins with slapping mudding here and there on various walls to fix tiny imperfections that I’m sure no woman would ever notice but DH swears every man walking into the house would see immediately.
[This from a man who could cheerfully walk through two years' accumulation of socks, newspapers, used coffee cups and gum wrappers on the floor without noticing any of it!]
Anyway, mudding then entails sanding, the bugbear of my existence. The fine dust that is produced when gyprock mud is sanded sails through the house on every wisp of air; and no matter how carefully we cover furniture etc., the bloody stuff goes absolutely everywhere – carried, I suppose, on the ductwork throughout the house. I hate it with a passion!
However, the worst of the mudding is done (I fervently hope), and things are beginning to take shape here. The entrance foyer is clean and spiffy, our large kitchen-dining-living area is pristine, new artwork is up on the walls, there’s new lighting in the reading area, the furniture has been shuffled into a new and completely suitable configuration, and our Danish modern living-dining area looks fantastic, if I do say so myself.
What was it that Goethe said? ” Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic.”