Posted in Commentary, Creations, Lessons Learned

Back in the saddle

As I mentioned, since I finished the bathroom, I have been on a break from major home improvement projects at the suggestion of my beloved spouse, who came home last week to find me in the garage painting what is slated to become a new guitar cabinet and said, “I thought you were taking a break?”

“I am taking a break; this is just painting a cabinet. I said I was going to take a break from MAJOR projects.”

He rolled his eyes, and then rolled on past me into the house. Which is really the only sensible reaction, I suppose.  He had to know; it’s not like I was going to sit on my duff and do nothing for 2 weeks; that’s why I retired: to NOT sit on my duff.

But my hand was slower to heal than I hoped, so I decided to take a third week off from major projects, and instead finished painting my cabinet, replacing the back on it, (learning how to use my dad’s nail gun in the process), starting to build my planter box out of scrap wood, and learning to replace compressor plugs and female ends of extension cords when the gnarly broken plug on my dad’s compressor stopped working, tripped the circuit breaker, and then (once I reset it) sparked, and then started melting the extension cord, billowing black smoke as it did so. Neat! (I’m pretty impressed with my plug replacement though; it’s a good skill to have, and saved me real money.)

In any case, after this past weekend, I would say my hand is 95% back to normal most days, maybe slightly more, so it was time to get on with the office project. I’d actually been looking forward to it, after the bathroom, telling myself, “It’s just painting…easy.”

It’s just that kind of cockiness that attracts DIY demons to your project. When will I learn?

Because I am bound and determined not to do myself any injuries that threaten my music career and take a month to heal this time around, I’ve been taking it slowly. I painted just the trim on Monday, and let it cure a couple days before I planned to tape it off so I could do the walls. Wednesday night I decided I would tape the trim so I could start painting first thing Thursday morning. I’d picked up some cheap masking tape that didn’t stick at all, like one side was already falling off the wall as I was pressing down the last bit of the other side. I was quite put out. I knew by the time I got up the next morning, nothing would still be attached, so I went to bed accepting the inevitable betrayal of that so-called adhesive.

The next morning, I got up and found my prediction had come true, so I pulled off the remaining bits of tape in disgust and contemplated going back to bed, because I was just unprepared to deal with being thwarted so early in the morning. All my life I’ve been given crap for sleeping in, and about how I’m sleeping away the best part of the day, and here it was 7:45 a.m., I’m raring to paint, and can’t. What kind of lesson does that teach? That I’ve been right all along, of course. I hid under the blankets for half an hour, and then decided I’d better get moving.

I came home with the good tape, and proceeded to redo the last night’s work, got all the baseboards done, and started on the ceiling. I have popcorn ceilings, though, so it took a little more elbow grease to get it to stick to the uneven surface, but I thought I’d done well. And then I heard something fall lightly, turned around, and saw this:




At which point I wanted to scream. Evidently, my office is imbued with some kind of Teflon-y effect that makes it impossible for anything to stick. I hate taping. I hate taping twice even more.  I refuse to do a third attempt, not at $13 a roll for tape.  But I didn’t know how I was going to cut in to the stupid ceiling; everything I tried was seriously suboptimal.  I decided the wisest course of action was to ignore it for the moment, and quickly paint the wall that still had the tape up, and it started edging away even as I was painting. In the meantime, my crappy paint roller cover kept inching off the roller, so every 30 seconds I was pushing it back on, screwing it back onto the stick, and resticking the non-sticking tape on the baseboards, and the paint I’d managed to get on the wall looked, in a word, craptastic. Three hours later, I had accomplished this:

Impressive, no?

So, in a full snit and possessed of a wisp of a belief that there had to be a better way, and I just was ignorant despite the many, many square feet of painting I’ve done over the years, I went to consult with the intarwebs and found this article, which addressed several of my specific issues, and illuminated the problem for me. Yes, it’s a shoddy workman who blames her tools, but sometimes it really IS the tools’ fault that the painting is not going well. It was my fault for being cheap, and not knowing any better. Armed with a mental list, I hied myself to Home Depot and came home with a new roller (that locked), a new lambskin roller cover (instead of the cheap ones I’d been buying 4 to a pack), a new edging tool (different than the other edging tools I’d tried over the years and found lacking), a new telescoping stick (with a soft comfort grip! Luxury!) that actually held the roller (I tested it in the store), and a bucket.
New tools, that work!

After a brief lunch break, it was once more into the breach. In the subsequent 2 hours, with my new tools, I managed to bring the paint within half an inch of the ceiling with little mishap, despite not having taped, completed the top half of the 2 1/2 walls that were left, and the bottom half of all 4 walls. Evidently, the right tool for the right job makes the difference (says the woman who has been known to use a pliers as a lightweight hammer). So despite a ridiculous number of obstacles for an “easy” painting job, I did get the first coat up tonight, and will finish it on the morrow, with the help of a friend who, bless her heart, has a yen to help me finish up the strip all the way around the ceiling that will have to be done by hand with a small brush. Hopefully, I can prep the floor and put in the black-and-white checkboard vinyl tiles next week (with my dad helping, so I don’t cripple myself yet again), and this project will be done.  Pictures to follow, natch.

And then I’m going to take a real break, and just be a housewife for awhile instead of Mike Holmes. I swear.



I've been doing some form of creative writing since 9th grade, and have been a blogger since 2003. Like most bloggers, I've quit blogging multiple times. But the words always come back, asking to be written down, and they pester me if I don't. So here we are. Thanks for reading.

2 thoughts on “Back in the saddle

  1. OMG…I’m sorry for your misfortune, but I thought I would wet myself laughing at those pictures and the narrative. Glad you were able to resolve it … and with only ONE additional trip to the hardware store. Honestly, I don’t consider it much of a project if I didn’t have to make at least 2 extra trips, and still have to repurpose some stupid thing that I forgot to get or they don’t actually make (but should). Looking forward to seeing your progress in real time.

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