I had to dash out of work at 5 p.m. today (not a normal leaving time, in my line of work), despite the fact that I’m dealing with a pretty tight work deadline.
I used to have to do this once a week during the kids’ school year, because my husband used to work late on Thursdays, and J needed to get to soccer practice, and both kids needed to eat, and you know, be parented.
But tonight, it was not a human being who was waiting for me – none were. They’re all gone. It was some crappy looking unevenly painted walls. An exciting bedroom project gone horribly wrong, needing the next phase of repair.
And I was it. Tagged.
Our bedroom in our new place came with mint-chip-ice-cream (the kind with nasty food dye in it) green walls. When we first saw the place, we thought it was nice: refreshing, even. But as J was picking colors to cover the pepto bismol that exploded in the room that was to be hers, i got jealous. I don’t want food-dye colored walls. I want pretty walls. The landlord said painting was fine with her, as long as we repainted any dark colors before we left.
So, the husband started looking at colors, and thought perhaps we would do what we started talking about back when we lived on the other ocean, and do a Moroccan color scheme.
How about red walls, a tan ceiling, and dark brown trim?
Sounded fine to me. But first I asked, “are you sure the room is big enough to carry off the dark colors?” He said, “yes.” And, b/c he went to art school, and knows his colors, I trusted him.
Should I say it here? Or later on in the story? The “trim” in this particular bedroom consists of 3 doorways (and, he insisted, the doors themselves), 3 large windows with intricate trim, a really nice moulding along the [entire!] celing, and – get this – a fireplace. With a mantle.
Before he left for his 10-day trip out of state, we went to Home Depot and chose our colors. They looked nice near each other. I found me a Home Depot Paint Dude, and told him what we wanted. He said, “you need a primer with reds.”
Now, if I’d done some research ahead of time – instead of believing the commercials where the Home Depot Paint Dudes are actually Home Depot Paint GODS – I would have known to say, “yes, I know we need a primer. We would like a [dark grey] primer, or perhaps, a primer [the same color as the paint]. I would not have just nodded and smiled. I would have done more than thought “how weird” when he handed me a can of PINK primer.
Let’s flash forward about 5 days. The husband is gone. The parents come to town. My father paints E’s room. “oh! it’s so pretty! It’s so easy!” Then they move into J’s room – where my mother has a minor freak out that I’ve bought “day glo blue” paint. She calls me at work, demanding some kind of answer from me. Not sure what kind. But then she called an hour later and said, “oh, I think it’s just the way it looked next to the pink, or else it just dried softer, it’s a nice color.” thanks, mom. Then they did the 1/2 bath, and it came out great, too (even though I did get a phone call saying “this yellow is really BRIGHT!” just to be predictably, at this point, followed up with a “oh, it softened, and now it’s really pretty!”)
Saturday brought a first stab at my room. The reds! The tan! The brown! Oh boy! First some primer …. huh. The red isn’t very red on top of that. It’s more of a pink. Let’s set that aside and do the tan ceiling (more of a sand color). It was beautiful. So soothing, and warm. Very nice.
The pink primer was so horrible that we may as well have skipped the primer stage. The red went on uneven and wimpy. The first coat looked wretched.
but while it dried, my dad tried the trim.
Oh. Ew. Gross.
On top of the pink primer, the trim looked …red. Just a different, bloodier red. Or, perhaps cherries next to strawberries? Or something else that just looks totally UGLY.
So we went to IKEA where I spent $700 on new furniture, and that made me feel a little better.
Then we went to Home Depot to figure out what the fuck was going on.
“The guy gave you PINK primer?” said the Paint God, who apparently took the day off when Beloved and I were there the week before. “Oh, that’s bad. He shouldn’t have done that.” So we got a new primer, and went back on our way.
We tried it again – just the primer first, but it was the color of the paint. Now the brownish-red looked more brown, but it was dark. And it didn’t really look good. So in one small place, I went ahead with the glossier real paint. It at least matched the color chip at this point.
But standing in that room, with the deep red walls and the pretty sand ceiling, the dark-dark-dark of the trim already felt oppressive. And it was only covering a 1 foot piece of baseboard.
If I were to cover the fireplace, 3 doors, 3 windows and the moulding with that, the room would close in like a dirt-packed cave. The red would be lost. The tan would be useless.
And in the meantime, the second coat of the nice, deep, red did not finish the job. There still wasn’t total coverage. And dad had to leave.
So they went back to Connecticut, leaving me in a room with pink trim in some places, white remaining in others, and dark dark brown in others, and strawberry mush, still in others, and walls that were streaky and uneven.
I was so upset. I had spent so much money on re-buying and re-doing the paints to make this work. I needed a second gallon of ceiling paint, and second gallon of wall paint, a new gallon of primer …. it just felt like I spent the whole weekend buying paint and paint accessories, watching my new bed fly out of my checking account with it all.
So I decided I was done. Since Beloved picked the color for the trim, he could deal with it. I had worked my ass off all weekend, and I was so stressed out. I had spent every day all day walking up and down multiple stair cases carrying boxes and then scrubbing the new kitchen, and packing the girls’ current bedroom, and stressing over my parents, and spending money and more money and more money …. the bedroom mess was pushing me over the edge. I was doing my best to release it, to pass it on and let it go (unbeknownst to him, b/c he is not here, and has not called even ONE TIME. Which is fine. I’m fine with it. Really. He’s busy.)
But then it dawned on me that the Paint God (not the Paint Dude, who was wholly inadequate) and my father both said that we needed one week in between painting the walls with their third coat, and then putting tape on them to protect them from the trim-paint (which, as far as I’m concerned, and which Beloved does not know yet, will be the color of the ceiling. It is a beautiful, soothing, complimentary color that will not shrink the room, and which we will not need to cover over when we leave – I can’t live with that dark brown suffocating me every time I walk in my room). Or else the tape will take the paint OFF. Which would really piss me off.
Which meant I had to paint. Because if I didn’t, and I left the whole thing for him when he got home, then he couldn’t paint until Saturday, at the earliest, and then the week wouldn’t be up until AFTER the movers, which would mean AFTER all our stuff was in our room, and the whole thing would become infinitely more complicated.
I had to tackle the bedroom demons, and apply the third coat.
And, since it’s – you know – paint. Which is a color. I thought perhaps it would be good to do it with light. Preferably from the sun.
Which is why, deadline be damned, I scurried out of there at 5 p.m., wrestled with the 9,000,000 people in Boston who did the same, squished on the T with the 6,000,000 of those who take the Green Line, go to the dry cleaner to spend 1/3 of my spending allowance for the month on the privilege of having clean clothes to wear tomorrow, carry 8,000 pounds of plastic and clothes home – which is not near the dry cleaners – in 87 degree weather, put on crappy painting clothes, gather my phone, my blackberry, both sets of keys, my wallet (in case today – unlike every other day this week – I would actually have time to EAT something for dinner), and start painting with as much daylight left as possible.
And of course this was the night that a partner called me (in my office) at 7:15. I don’t need to return the call until tomorrow, but it at least momentarily added to the stress.
Daylight dwindled, but I think things look good now. (other than the pink, the brown, the white and the smooshy strawberry trim). The walls are rich, the paint is even, and it’s shaping up. The room really can carry the red. Just not the red and the brown. Now it can dry for a week, and then someone else can take over to figure out what color primer is needed in order to make a tan look the same when applied over a pink, a brown, a smooshy strawberry, and white.
Now it’s 10 p.m., I’m back in the messy house, and no – I haven’t eaten dinner. Maybe tomorrow.
Tomorrow brings a training until 6 (so I can do family law pro bono work), and then the much-needed cleaning and emptying of the girls’ room.
What a week.
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