A coat of paint can solve any household problem
My husband and I have two entirely different approaches to home repair. I like to get it done, and he prefers to “supervise,” which usually means he’ll offer “helpful” pointers when the players take a break in their baseball/football/hockey/basketball games.
Such was the case again this weekend, when we – or actually, I – decided we really needed to get started painting the living room.
We had already moved the furniture, photos and other dust-collecting decorative items into another room, and in the ensuing months, we’ve been sitting on the floor wondering if we were truly up to this project.
I’d like to think we were discussing color schemes. I’d like to think we were debating the finer points of sponge painting versus rag painting – even discussing the expense of it all.
We’ve lived in this house for 13 years, and suffice it to say, the white paint hasn’t seen “clean” since, oh, 1990. Because we were both born with defective genes that make us flee from the concept of “clean,” we prefer to cover it up.
We’ve done it with our 23-year-old carpet, our 17-year-old linoleum, and we’ve been tempted to do it with our 12-year-old’s bedroom.
So, we headed out to the local paint store, where we stared, eyes glazed over, at the rainbow displayed in front of us. Too many choices, that’s all there was to it. Shades ranged from black-hole black – our daughter’s choice – to blindingly white.
We went out on a decorating limb and chose (drum roll, please!) off-white! We were so excited. We bought paintbrushes and rollers, a paint tray, masking tape, spackle, sandpaper and other miscellaneous things in the paint department that we weren’t sure we needed, but looked vital to complete the perfect paint job.
We should have hired the job out to a professional.
For starters, this mass buying spree took place last fall, and the paint supplies have sat in a closet ever since while we debated the merits of setting aside an entire weekend for the job – or doing it wall by wall, whenever one of us had the chance.
Last Sunday, we summoned the nerve to begin.
I spread newspapers on the floor and poured paint into the tray.
“We really should clean the wall first,” my husband suggested.
“If we were going to clean the wall, we wouldn’t need to paint it,” I reminded him as I rolled the roller in the tray.
“Are you going to take the electrical covers off the outlets?” he asked.
“Uh, yeah,” I said, digging around in the tool box for a screwdriver.
“And take the curtains down,” he said.
I scowled, and mentioned that he could offer his assistance for some of this.
“I’m watching the game,” he said. “This game is the stuff of legends.”
I took down the curtains and spread more newspaper around.
“You might want to spackle in some of the holes,” he said.
“Good point,” I said, looking at the creamy paint in the tray and wondering how long it took for spackle to dry.
There were quite a few more holes in the walls than I anticipated, but the paint in the tray only developed a thin skin over it before I finished and the spackle dried.
“Do you think you should sand down the spots you spackled?” my husband asked, as a Philadelphia Phillie slid into third base. “Yes!” he yelled when the umpire called him safe.
“OK, OK, you don’t have to yell,” I said, sanding the rough spots and gagging on the dust.
Soon, however, our daughter and I were hard at work, slowly rolling a fresh coat of paint onto the walls. One layer, two layers, time for the ceiling.
“Don’t get any on the TV,” my husband warned. “It’s new, remember.”
“It’s $10-garage-sale-new,” I noted.
“It’s still new,” he said. “You missed a spot.”
I glared at him.
“The color’s nice …” he offered.
I continued work on the ceiling, occasionally collapsing as my arms lost sensation and I lost my balance on the chair. Our daughter had left long ago.
“Um, could I ask a favor?” my husband said. I scowled at him, eyebrow raised. “Could you work on that end of living room? It’s the bottom of the eighth.”
Eventually, I finished the job.
But in doing so, I realized we should replace the moulding. And the carpet – maybe put in hardwood, instead. And while we’re at it, we should reorganize the furniture – maybe change the “theme” of our house from “messy lodge-look” to “Seaside Hideaway.”
I plan to buy all the material today. It’ll give me ample time to find a good handyman for next fall’s work.
Jane Stebbins can be reached at
(970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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