Have you ever painted your house? No? Me neither. But almost.
It’s really not like I haven’t painted stuff before, though. I started volunteering at Habitat for Humanity projects when I was in high school, and once in college I spent a Spring Break in Florida painting a mission headquarters. Seriously. (I also took that trip on $25 or something like that. Even though it was the 90’s, I have no idea how.) I also once painted my bedroom in London. But evidently none of those things are the same thing as painting the majority of my own on my own time.
The Cottage is not large–thus the designation cottage. And, like I said, I’ve painted before. So when I was on holiday last week, I thought I had a perfect schedule for getting the entire downstairs painted, leaving me time for a week of genuine vacation later in the summer. My schedule was going to look like this:
Monday – Wash walls and ceilings
Tuesday – Paint ceilings
Wednesday – Paint trim
Thursday – Paint everything else
This would have me all done just in time for Cousin Elizabeth’s arrival on Thursday evening. I thought I had this whole situation well in hand.
Are you laughing yet?
Monday and Tuesday went approximately as planned. I don’t think I thought either the washing or the ceilings were going to take as long as they did, but I was still done by 4 pm both days, and after the ceilings got done, my Paul and Alicia and I went out for fish ‘n’ chips, so I happily thought I was right on track.
And then Wednesday happened. When I blithely posted about painting that morning, I had no idea that if I began working on trim immediately after that, I was only going to be wrapping it up 12 hours later. I guess putting all the furniture in the middle of the room and drop-cloth-ing everything took some time, but why in all the earth does it take so insanely long to paint small strips of wood at the bottom of each wall, and around the doors and windows? I mean, how does this make sense, when the walls themselves are so much bigger?
The dogs were remarkably good. I let them outside frequently, but thunderstorms were threatening all week, so they couldn’t be out all the time. By supper time that night, however, I was at my wits end, and so were the animals.
I had already painted the bathroom area trim, which took longer than I’d hoped, but went without incident. Just before supper I began painting the living room/kitchen trim–a sort of putty grey. It turned out this paint was fairly drippy–and also wasn’t completely covering anything, meaning that I had to go back and paint everything twice. By the time I discovered this, I was already exhausted and ready to quit, but Cousin Elizabeth was coming and I just couldn’t stop yet. Rosie the cat came downstairs to see what was going on, and, when she discovered she couldn’t sit in any of her usual window posts, began mewing pitifully. Shemp began whining. Oscar looked anxious. The small rectangular pad on my trim painting tool flew off for the 18th time. I started to cry.
That didn’t help either, though, so eventually I put the pad back on and just forged on ahead. At 10.30 that night, the trim was done, and I went to bed. The next day, I got the living room walls done (except for the one that curves around into the kitchen and has the fridge and stove against it), unburied Alicia’s bed (on which Elizabeth was going to be sleeping), and my Paul got home just in time to help me throw all the furniture back against the walls, just as she walked in the door.
My Paul cooked, which was lovely (and usual) of him, and you might never have known I had just been painting, if you hadn’t known I had been painting.