Monday, February 7, 2011

Storage Closet to Bedroom

This week's project is to make The Boy's bedroom liveable. Believe it or not, he has been sleeping in here for a year or so, on a mattress on the floor, surrounded by shelves full of books and board games, with a shelf of baskets for his clothes. No wonder he wants to leave home. I figure we are preparing him for share-house life at university. He will be the only one there who thinks that is a step up from home life.
Conversation during acrimonious discussion with sister:
Domestic Goddess: At least you have a room to yourself!
The Boy: I do not have a room, I have a storage closet.
So The Boy started his last year at school today, and I had promised him his room would be ready by now. I should just stop promising things. My first excuse is that The Man isn't here. The Man is often not here. Our relationship is characterised by email and text exchanges such as these:
Me: There is a loose brick in The Boy's fireplace, so I need something like cement or render to fix it before I can paint it. Do we have something like that? How was your flight?
The Man: (from airport lounge)There is maybe some fireplace cement in the big bin next to the air compressor to the right of the shed door. Just follow the instructions. There are still too many fat Americans in the world.
Me: I couldn't find it so I bought some more, seemed to work OK. I figure we can use the same undercoat on the bricks that we put on the walls? The window guy rang back with the quote, does 300 per sash sound too much to you? Posy lost her first tooth and all the guppies died.
The Man: (from hotel room)Well done with the plastering. Don't forget to be the Tooth Fairy. What, did the cats eat them, or was it the plague? That sounds good for the windows, but maybe get another quote? There should be some all purpose undercoat on the shelf under the window. Aaargh the jet lag, possibly dying. Must work...
Me: Poor baby. Do you think semi-gloss would be better on the bricks?
The Man: You decide. Am in bar watching the Superbowl.
Me: What is a Superbowl? Am painting the ceiling.
I know, rivetting. The point is, The Man, being a Real Man, is an excellent handyman, and also a perfectionist. I am not a handy person, or a perfectionist, but I end up doing the painting because I am here. But not very fast at renovating. So, room not done yet. While I paint, here are some Painting Thoughts to keep in mind, sort of a Collected Wisdom of Painting:
When painting the ceiling, do not stand gazing vacantly upwards with your mouth open.
If standing on a platform to paint, make sure you keep track of where your feet are at all times.
Do not let small children help you paint, no matter how heart-rending their pleas.
.........I think that is all

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I've Been Painting, OK?

A couple of days ago Amanda sat in my (new) kitchen telling me about her family's year in France, and her new adventure running a permaculture market garden, and then I got to tell her what I had been doing.
'Well, um, painting really. No really. Just painting.'

Sadly, so true. And as you can see, I don't even stop long enough to brush my daughters' hair. So, painting, and when I need a break from that, stripping paint. Not usually in the same place, except for one memorable evening when it was discovered that I had bought the wrong paint. So you can't paint water-based paint over enamel. I know that. Now. Oh, and the other thing I have been doing. Waiting at home for tradies to turn up. Or not, depending on whether it is their golf day, or whether it rained at their other job.

The excellently good news? I have a new kitchen. It is white and gleaming, and has drawers, actual drawers. People don't tend to believe me when I say I have lived without kitchen drawers for ten years, but it's amazing how much cutlery you can stuff in a wooden box, and tea towels piled in a cardboard box under a mouldy sink can be viewed as charmingly rustic. Really. But now, drawers for everything. And beautiful light, streaming in all day. The girls are painting the kitchen wall, standing where the kitchen sink now is, where I get to look out at my garden and keep an eye on what all the neighbours are up to. I have a new dining room, also drenched in sunlight, and a giant new family table. And we have our living room back. For months everyone crowded onto our bed to read, watch TV and play games. It was like being the old grannies in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And really, sometimes family togetherness can be just too much of a good thing.

And I'm loving the new white walls, which is great, because we picked a colour, bought the biggest can, and are just painting our way around the house with it. Painting, painting... tomorrow is another day. I'll be the one in the back room, with the paint brush..