“Let’s think of something to do while we’re waiting, while we’re waiting…”
One vote on the book is in from a trusted friend, who said she loved it and votes for moving ahead with it. Encouraged, but waiting for further opinions.
What to do?
Brimming with overconfidence, having learned from experience, proceed to hardware store. Because saturated color looked great in the small bedroom-turned-computer-lounge, boldly select three additional saturated colors – pink for her room, silvery-grey for mine, sunny ivory for the living room, plus two gallons of that color-changing ceiling paint that seemed to work so well. Also purchase every roll of two-inch “frog tape” in stock, along with six additional rollers, two more brushes (despite the others being washable, wanting to start fresh), another tray, a pack of a dozen tray liners and sixty feet of “hallway” plastic tarp.
Confidently cover beds and side tables with plastic tarp. Fail to cover carpet, on the assumption it is already old and worn and must be replaced with something very similar.
Begin painting ceilings.
Notice areas of peeling paint. Determine these should be scraped. Don mask left over from chicken-coop cleaning days. Begin scraping.
Under peeling paint, discover a substance that does not appear to be either plaster or drywall. It is smoother and harder.
Despite tarps and face mask, panic.
This is an old house.
Cease scraping. Don’t create dust. Let sleeping dogs lie. Paint over scraped areas and sleeping-dog areas of still-peeling paint, sticking them back on ceiling. Sort of.
Look up in premature satisfaction.
Notice that areas that had been scraped look stupid. This is not a Tuscan villa, where patches of missing paint or plaster add a patina of old-world charm.
Determine to spackle over already painted scraped places, thereby sealing undetermined ceiling substance in place. Spackle over remaining unscraped peeling paint, thereby sticking them more firmly back to the ceiling.
Spackle used in computer lounge to plug now-empty screw-anchor holes is thick and lumpy. Attempt to smooth. Create additional lumps and visible tracks of spackling knife.
Proceed to carefully peel and spackle hallway ceiling. Run out of lumpy spackling stuff.
Return to hardware store.
Select a lightweight spackling named something that suggests a “one and done” kind of application. Ok, that.
Resume spackling with whipped lightweight stuff. Works great! Applies more smoothly than other lumpy stuff. Like icing on a cake!
Use lightweight fluffy spackling over old, thicker lumpy spackling. Looks smoother but still a little like an elementary school ceiling where children of yore tossed soaking wet wads of toilet paper upward, sticking them to the ceiling in white lumps.
Decide that ceiling paint will minimize appearance of lumpiness, and paint anyway.
Realize you failed to tape the white trim around windows, which now have streaks of strawberry-ice-cream pink or grey on them.
Return to hardware store. Buy white paint for trim.
After walls are dry, tape around windows. Paint trim. Step back in premature satisfaction.
Realize that the slanty part of the wall above the closets in the half-story upstairs of our story-and-a-half Cape-Cod was supposed to be painted like the walls, not the ceiling.
Retrieve paint from basement. Paint slanty part of wall.
Step back in premature satisfaction.
Realize you forgot to tape ceiling above slanty part.
Retrieve ceiling paint from basement. Determined to minimize repeated rounds of touching up ceiling, then wall, then ceiling ad infinitum, tape slanty part of wall. Paint over splotches on ceiling.
Engage in three additional rounds of touching up ceiling, then walls, then ceiling anyway.
Remove tape, which removes additional chunks of peeling paint from ceiling.
Return to hardware store. Purchase larger tub of fluffy spackling. Spackle new patches of peeled paint on ceilings and under windows. In fit of exhaustion, paint over spackling before it is dry, smearing white spackling across larger patches of already painted walls.
Slather saturated color paint over white patches and decide it looks good enough.
Realize that careful taping of ceiling has left a thick line of previous lighter wall exposed at top. Use brush to paint along intersection of wall and ceiling. Decide that quarter inch of dark color on ceilings is OK if it occurs on entire perimeter of room.
Revived, carefully remove tarps from furniture avoiding , attempting to avoid sprinkling ceiling substances and old paint chips on ruined carpet. Paint chips and dust land on carpet anyway.
Vacuum. Repeatedly. Excessively.
Shop for new, smaller bedside table that will hold lamp while not interfering with closet. Fits great. Plug in lamp. Lamp will not light.
Realize that in the course of slathering on very thick layer of paint hoping to avoid doing a second coat, you painted over the only available electrical outlet for lamp. For reasons unknown, that outlet, which is nowhere near any source of water, has a reset button on it, which it now hopelessly stuck. (See, “painted over outlet with very thick layer of paint,” above).
Sigh. Call electrician.
Having decided not to worry about paint on carpet, which is to be replaced with something very similar, proceed to carpet store. Carpet store has every kind of carpet under the sun, but inexplicably doesn’t have anything close to that beloved, pretty old carpet. Pattern has apparently ceased to exist.
Return home. Stuck with ruined carpet indefinitely, vacuum excessively, again (is there any such thing as vacuuming excessively)? Rest until morning.
Next day, displace lingering frustration about carpet by moving desk, file cabinets and former-bedside-table-now-to-be-printer-pedestal out of bedroom, to area of kitchen that is to become new “command center,” when absurdly expensive new desk, which was ordered when allegedly “in stock,” in mid-September, is finally shipped and delivered sometime between now and the end of recorded time. Or early November, whichever comes first.
Commend self for having gained sufficient maturity to wait.
Lie down. Notice that new bedside table smells funny. Decide that I’m so old I’ve probably already been exposed to a lot of whatever is causing the smell anyway. Disguise smell by spraying perfume all over new bedside table.
Plan trip to department store to buy more perfume.
Attempt to rest.
While “resting,” plan how to paint living room without ruining beloved rug. Decide to roll up and stow rug for the duration. Realize I will have to buy more plastic to protect maple floor under rug…and more tape…and more paint for trim…ad infinitum….
Hoping to hear from brothers and other trusted friend about book (STOP ME BEFORE I PAINT AGAIN), I remain,
Your paint-splattered, carpet-ruining, running-out-of-money-for-the-love-of-God-what-the-hell-am-I-doing,