No one should ever start a home fixer-upper project on a Monday! Absolutely, my brain was still on Sunday morning, sleep mode. Why was I so optimistic?
That’s because it was the smallest room, the smallest in a house. The landlord left the paint, ya gotta use free paint… right?
For the record, it was one small can of paint for one small bathroom and one dollar’s worth of disposable sponge brushes from the Dollar Store. What could be easier?”
My first mistake of many.
The paint was opened and the first brush loaded. The paint went where it should not go, on the walls around all the girly doo-dads that were still in place, the light switches, the mirror, and the cabinets. Nothing was removed or taped. The second big mistake that would be learned while painting the smallest room in the house.
Wash as you go and wipe as you go and curse as you go! What a motto!
It didn’t take long to figure out that all the doo-dads gotta go…on my bed!” #%@#! Move the pictures…on my bed! #%@#! “Get rid of the towels! #%@#!Towels went into the laundry to soak.
OK! Start again.
1. The towel bar came off the wall. Easy! Check!
2. The magazine rack and the towel shelf-unit went out of the room. Very easy! Check! Check!
3. The medicine cabinet, over the toilet, it will have to be removed. I’ll need a screwdriver! No, I needed two, no three different kinds! Go, get ‘em, tiger!
I was standing on the toilet with one foot on the tank and an elbow on the knee as I propped the cabinet and unscrew the first screw. That was easy enough, and then the second screw, and then trouble. It was very heavy. I couldn’t manage it!
My ninety-three-year-old father shuffled into the bathroom and laughed at the sight. I was acting like a teenager and my father responded.
“I thought you were a grown-up by now. How old are you anyway?”
Never mind the wisecracks, help me!
“What are you doing?”
“I’m moving the medicine cabinet.”
“Why do you need to do that? Ya got a bee in your bonnet?”
“Yes! and the damn bee made me want to paint my bathroom? Just help me before this thing falls!”
I will always be a child to my father, even if I’m a sixty-something-years-old, a mother of four, and retired expert teacher. I needed a pep talk, thoughts to replace the doubts on my rollercoaster ride to success.
Hey, girl, you’re doing a good job! You’re doing great! Good start! You couldn’t have picked a better project for a morning. Change a crisis into victory and laugh out loud!
But, one lingering question remained, was I capable and determined to finish the job? Yes, I am! I will not quit! Get bigger and better painting equipment…NOW!
Immediately, the cosmos provided a brand-new paint pan, two paint roller covers, and one handle…they appeared in the utility room waving, “Hello! Use me!” That was my dad. “Back to work!”
I went back to work and confidently poured the paint into the paint pan, the entire small can of paint. “That it? I put the small roller cover on the short handle. All the paint was soaked up.
Next! The short handle should do fine because everything was within arm’s reach, RIGHT?
WRONG! In hindsight, and what should have been in the first place…I should have started with looking at the walls, and the meager supplies in my possession. That is, I should have looked up to the ceiling and asked, “How are you going to reach that height? Where is your ladder?”
If I had thought through all the ramifications of this project, I may not have undertaken it at all. But then, I wouldn’t have had this grand adventure to write about and give others a wee laugh.
So, bolstered with a growing confidence and with the deftness of an expert kindergarten teacher, the switch and outlet plates came off the walls, like a professional. And, with my growing awareness of the job undertaken, the plates went into the sink for a wash.
Good thinking! Good job! You’re getting the hang of this! It’s a piece of cake! I needed to acknowledge my efforts and to feel good. It lasted only a moment, for a bolt of reality struck as I watched screws roll around the sink and realized that they were headed for the drain.
Grab them before they go down the drain. Now, get the drinking glass for all screws!
All screws fit nicely in a clear crystal tumbler, as well as the extra sponge brushes. They came in a package of 10. No worries, they were so small that they could all fit which brought up a nagging question.
“Why so many sponge brushes in a package and all for one dollar?”
Well, I soon learned. Sponge brushes fill up with paint. They last a few strokes, and then promptly die as they fall to pieces! What a waste of $!…part of the painting reality. #%@#! And then, more reality hit as I realized there was more girly stuff behind the shower curtain, make that curtains! Ugh, stuff in the tub and all the twinkle lights had to go, toooooo!
Nothing’s quite like learning in action!
Finally, the preparations were done. The painting could begin again, and quickly the old motto came back from my cheeky sub-conscience.
“Wash as you go and wipe as you go and curse as you go!”
I had forgotten the baseboards and trim! “Where’s the masking tape, you ninny?”
It took hours to tape and it wasn’t easy for an expert kindergarten teacher, like my self. How could there be so much base and trim in one tiny little room with no windows and two doors! And then came the thought, the paint! It was poured out hours ago! Is it still usable? Is there any more paint?
I was dead dog tired and wanted to quit! This project is going to take a week!
P.S. The entire painting and putting all the girly things back in place was finished the next day after a good night’s rest. So, Tuesday evening after the last of the do-dads were in place, my dear old dad was called in for a view of the new and improved bathroom.
“What’s the change?” He asked.
The rest of the evening was a blur of celebration, water with splashes of lime, snacks for an over-sixty digestion tract and watching Blockbuster movies with feet up in an easy chair! The rewards for triumph over the desire to quit! The painting of a bathroom was only the vehicle.
P.P. S. OK, on Wednesday I was so tired I could not stand up. OMG, What’s Thursday going to be like?
In memory of my dear father.