Working vacation

Well, once again, my post for this challenge is late. We have an open house coming up on Sunday and I spent yesterday painting our bedroom in preparation for it. Two coats of bright white on the ceiling, one coat of some sort of beigey color on the walls. I’ve never used Ralph Lauren paint before, but man, that stuff goes on nice.

I somehow managed ti sand, spot prime, and paint the whole room – including the radiator – in just over nine hours, making going back to work today feel like a vacation. Tadpole and Bubbles got out of school early yesterday and they were huge helps once they got home. Miss Tadpole even begged me to let her paint. I couldn’t argue with that, so I set her to work. 🙂

Once I’d finished painting, I got cleaned up and we went out for supper. When we got home, the plan was to put the bedroom back together and relax (I received a package of custard creams and Tetley tea from a friend in the mail yesterday, so I had every intention of indulging myself). But alas, the best-laid plans of mice and men are often laid to waste…

Bubbles was helping us clean up, and I’d asked him to take the paint pans, brushes, and roller down to the basement and clean them out while I helped Seymour move furniture. Before supper, I’d slid the paint pans into plastic sacks so the paint wouldn’t dry out as fast. One of the pans had more paint in it than the other, and he must have carried the emptier of the two down first and gotten lucky, because all of a sudden I heard, “Mommy, this sack has a hole in it…”

20131009_201903I turned around to see a white line snaking across my hardwood floor, ending in a rapidly-expanding puddle at Bubbles’ bare feet. He was holding the sack by the handles as if it contained groceries, so all the paint had run out of the pan. By the time we got the paint cleaned up and the room put back together, it was 11:00 p.m.

But as Bubbles and I cleaned up his mess together, I got to thinking about other painting misadventures, like the time I helped Seymour paint the trim. Remodeling in all its forms is a family venture at our house – Seymour and his parents did most of the remodeling work on his last house by themselves, and we’ve done a ton of work in our current house on our own. The trim we painted, though, was on the last house, and was that ever an experience.

It was my first time doing house painting of any kind, so there was much instruction. We started with the windows in Seymour’s bedroom. The porch roof was just outside said windows, so we climbed up to the roof and got into position as I reminisced about the last time I’d been out on that roof (the house had formerly belonged to my best friend). We had the paint in an ice cream bucket, and I, in the most honorable roll of Rag Girl, had a wet rag for cleaning up splatters and errant brushstrokes.

Bubbles ended up with paint on his feet.  It made a lovely set of footprints. :)

Bubbles ended up with paint on his feet. It made a lovely set of footprints. 🙂

All went well, at first.  Seymour got the first window painted and some of the soffit, too.  But as he was working on the second window, the bucket slipped from his hand, landing on his foot and splashing everyone and everything within range. Our lovely dark green house was now streaked with white, my paint shirt and shorts were now soaked, and what remained of the paint was now rushing for the gutter with stunning speed.

At that point, frustration set in and, once we’d cleaned up the mess, we gave up on painting for the day. I don’t think we ever did finish painting the trim, but I think Bubbles felt a little better about his own spill after I told him that story. He was pretty upset, but we tried to laugh it off – after all, everyone makes mistakes, and it’s how you handle them and what you learn from them that’s important.

Bubbles learned not to carry a paint pan in a plastic sack by the sack handles. 🙂

And it’s like Seymour told him: Sometimes in life, you’ll encounter situations in which you have two choices, and you must choose between laughing and crying. Nine times out of ten, crying doesn’t do you any good. Choose to laugh, and you’ll usually feel better.

I’ve got loads of remodeling stories, thanks to Seymour’s penchant for doing things himself. What about you? What remodeling stories do you have?

(c) 2013. All rights reserved.


13 thoughts on “Working vacation

  1. joyweesemoll says:

    We’re not good at house stuff — not even the sorts of decisions required to hire someone else. I think painting together would be a very bad idea. The rare times when we can get ourselves to decide that it’s time for a paint job, we have someone else do it.


    • Kay Kauffman says:

      I used to think that I would like to own a fixer-upper. Having spent the last four years remodeling this house (in addition to doing a bit of it at my last house) and facing the prospect of more time spent remodeling my new house, I no longer feel that way. I can’t wait to be done with it all! 🙂


  2. Jane Ann McLachlan says:

    We always painted our inside house ourselves, but I guess we’re getting lazier or busier, because last year we hired someone. Our then-20-year-old house needed almost every room repainted, and it was too much! Never spilled paint of the floors, though, knock wood.


    • Kay Kauffman says:

      Lucky you! I apparently splattered white paint all over ours Wednesday, but I didn’t realize it. By the time Seymour found it, it was well dried and hard to get off. So much for the kids’ (and my) ability to see things on the floor… 🙂

      I would love to hire someone to paint for me. We’ve done it a couple of times, but it’s not a regular occurrence. And it’s not the walls I mind doing so much – it’s the ceilings. I’m in terrible shape and my arms still hurt from painting that ceiling Wednesday.


  3. separatedinsudbury says:

    The pictures were a riot. Too bad the clean-up probably wasn’t. I moved into my home last March. It was built in 1930 and hasn’t had much TLC in about the last fifteen years (the furnace was replaced in 1994 and wasn’t checked until I moved in). Surprisingly enough, I don’t mind doing random house chores. It feels kind of like I’m taking care of a pet.


    • Kay Kauffman says:

      Yeah, the clean-up definitely sucked. Our house was built in 1920 and when we bought it four years ago, there hadn’t been much done to it in probably about 40 years. The kitchen and downstairs bathroom screamed 1962; the living room was all dark wood paneling and ugly gold shag carpet (vintage, of course). It’s now a lovely shade of orange, more of a rust kind of color, and has deep green carpet. So much prettier! And there’s tile and granite in the kitchen and bathroom now. I’m going to miss my house.

      We have all sorts of stories about fixing up our house. I used to think I’d love to have a fixer-upper when I was a teenager but now, after having worked on two houses and soon a third, if I ever move again, I want a house that I can just walk into and it’s done.


  4. *tara says:

    Kay, this is a great entry. The paint distasters do make me go “auughhh!” a bit but you’re right, what can you do but laugh?

    I do not envy all the painting and other work you’ve been doing over the last several years… but I know it’ll help sell your house and someone new will get to enjoy all that prettiness. 🙂


    • Kay Kauffman says:

      Thank you! 🙂 Oh, paint. I silently screamed a bit myself.

      All the work we’ve put into our house makes me incredibly sad to move out of it. And I have no idea what we’re going to do with some of our stuff, because our new house is smaller. At the open house on Sunday, the realtor who showed the place (not ours, because she was in IC with her husband, who’d broken his hip) said that if she could get people inside our house, she could sell it, but the outside needed some love. All I could think was, “Well, we weren’t planning on moving out after only four years – we hadn’t gotten to work on the outside yet!”


      • *tara says:

        I know, I have to admit I was very surprised when I heard you were moving, because you spent soooo much time on all the improvements. 🙂 But your new place will be fabulous.


        • Kay Kauffman says:

          I know, but Seymour is miserable in town. He said tonight as we were taking a load of stuff out to the new place that he didn’t want to go home because the farm already feels like home to him and he wanted to stay there. And I know it’ll be fabulous once we get our house sold and he gets done making all his improvements, but I’m just ready to be done remodeling. On the bright side, he said only a fire or a tornado will get him out of there, so I can relax knowing that if we move again, it won’t be for a very, very long time. 🙂


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