I know these things are true

1. There is special circle of hell reserved for the people who put this god-awful sun-moon-stars wallpaper border in my house. Not only did they exhibit terrible taste in wallpaper, but they put this stuff directly under crown molding in the most formal room in the house. What in the world were they thinking? Fortunately, it all came off–though not without some elbow grease.

2. Home fix-it projects never take as little time or money as you think they will. A few months ago, Jan and I were talking about all the things we want to do with our house, and we realized that we were experiencing the sort of option paralysis that stops us dead in our tracks when we’re standing at the counter in an ice-cream shop: with so many choices, it’s hard to know where to begin. So we decided to choose something “simple” and do it, just to feel a sense of accomplishment.

“The living room!” we declared. “The supplies won’t cost much–just paint!–and painting doesn’t take that long to do, so we’ll be done in no time! And really, it’s about time we got rid of that wallpaper border before its ugliness causes permanent blindness.” It took about two whole months to settle on a paint color (tip: paint your sample paint on a big piece of foam board, so you can move it around the room and test it against your furnishings and in different lighting conditions), then nearly a full week of every-free-minute work to get the supplies we needed and to clear out, prep, and paint the room. Oh, and of course this cost about twice what we anticipated.

3. Shoving nearly two rooms of stuff into one heavily used room is no fun at all. We moved all of our living room crap, er, I mean possessions into our not-terrible-spacious dining room, which made for very crowded mealtimes and decreased enthusiasm for cooking. (In addition to being the Week of Living Room Painting, this was the Week of Take-Out Food.)

Sylvia handled it pretty well. As an almost-two-year-old, she could have gone the way of “something has interrupted my routine, and I don’t like it” or “hey, cool–I have a different view from my high chair now.” Fortunately, for all of us, she took the latter path.

Those people who live through kitchen remodels? Gah, I don’t know how they do it…

4. Good friends are worth their weight in gold. In addition to serving as color consultants who surely saved us from some horrible mistakes, our friends Katie and Gina helped us out tremendously. Katie lent me her wallpaper steamer (which worked well enough that I didn’t have to resort to any chemical goo–hooray!), and Sylvia spent Saturday morning at her place (with her husband and daughter), which gave us a few hours to paint the ceiling and get the stinky oil-based primer on the walls (tip: use this type of primer over places where you’ve removed wallpaper, or else the adhesive–which you can never fully remove–will bleed through your paint and cause you much sorrow) without subjecting a small child to the fumes.

Gina, who has painted more rooms that she can probably remember and is a painter extraordinaire, spent pretty much her entire weekend with us. Jan and I, being the cowardly novice painters that we are, gave her all the tough jobs, like cutting in around the edges. (Going near white surfaces with brush full of colorful paint is, like using steeks, on the list of Things That Scare the Crap Out of Me.) And she was amazing–all the paint she applied went where it was supposed to go. Me…well, I had a few little spots to tidy up.

On Saturday, Gina’s husband, Todd, came with her and fulfilled the critical role of Baby Wrangler. He and Sylvia spent the entire afternoon in the den, reading books, drawing pictures, and building tunnels with pillows and blankets. (“Paint: $120. Brushes: $30. Having someone make sure your child doesn’t try to eat Sherwin-Williams products: Priceless.) On Sunday, Gina returned to help paint the trim, which took about as much time as the rest of the room combined, thanks to the three, large, multipaned windows in this room.

(Well, almost. Tonight we pick up a final pieces of furniture and finish putting everything away.) Pictures of the finished room will follow soon…when it’s fully finished!

5 Responses to “I know these things are true”

  1. Bethon 18 Apr 2007 at 2:23 am

    I’ll use your “paint it on foam board” tip. I’ve made some bad color choices in my life. Can’t wait to see the finished room!

  2. Imperatrixon 18 Apr 2007 at 2:02 pm

    There’s nothing like the knowledge that a project is almost done!

    Yeah, we did a kitchen remodel last year, and two weeks without a sink really sucked (I realize that 2 weeks is relatively minor compared to what others have had to deal with!)

    I do not understand why the previous owners put what was clearly bedroom border in the living room. Crazy.

    …But, not as crazy as you, who seem to have come back from the future to post this (notice your date is April 2008!) — Or did the project really take longer than you thought? ;-)

  3. Marsha Brofka-Berendson 18 Apr 2007 at 6:34 pm

    D’oh! Although this project seemed to take a year to complete, it was really just one week (and I just fixed the date for this post).

  4. Katie Jon 18 Apr 2007 at 10:37 pm

    Can’t wait to see the finished product! And it was certainly more fun than favor to have Sylvia hang out at our place!

  5. Slaax Gumboon 25 Apr 2007 at 1:53 am

    I think there is also a special place in the afterlife for those people who design packaging for toddler toys. Those people are sadistic!