January 3, 2013

Redoing Bedrooms: What Fun It Is



In February 2012 an infant girl my mother released for adoption sixty-three years ago contacted me through this online magazine, CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS. Recently she sent me an email and agreed I could post it. I’d told her I would do so without including her name.

Do you recall me telling you in an e-mail about a month ago that it’s redecorating time? Someone needs to have me committed. Permanently.

This all started after seeing the nicely tiled master bath in my married son’s new house and my husband watching too many home improvement shows on Sundays.

After both of us agreeing that our master bath of twenty-two years needs a make-over, off we went to Lowe’s and bought a couple of tile samples that we liked. We also looked at new vanities and decided we don’t need two sinks—one will do nicely. We also decided we weren’t going to spend $1000 on a new vanity top made of granite.

I said it’s likely to be a winter project. Of course, my husband and I are among those who cringe at the thought of paying to have someone do what we can do ourselves.

With that project put on hold until early next year, your brilliant sister’s thoughts turned elsewhere (you’re likely to disavow me after reading this). There was something I’ve wanted to do for about two years now: repaint two of the three spare bedrooms upstairs.

Simple, you say.

Not so, say I.

It involved another trip to Lowe’s for paper stripper, miles of blue tape, drop cloths, and a million other things that are necessary to complete the job. It also involved taking down the cottage cheese ceiling. We did this in our downstairs rooms (by “we” I mean my husband and I). It’s a messy occupation. Not hard, just very messy.

With the border paper down, cottage cheese removed, the ceiling spackled, sanded, primed and painted, I said to my husband that the  bedroom I was going to attack next really should be his office, rather than the one he currently occupies. I pointed out that guests (hopefully I will visit sometime in the future) have no room to move in the small bedroom: 9 ½ by 10 ½ feet with its queen sized bed, night stand, and a small chest that holds some of my sewing things. He agreed.

He took careful measurements to ensure his furniture would fit. Then, back to Lowe’s again—two new ceiling fans (one to replace the sixteen year old fan in the first bedroom), electrical, cable and phone wire, outlet boxes, and more primer. Mind you, I hadn’t even bought the paint for the walls.

After moving furniture out of that small room the first bedroom, where I started, became crammed with two rooms of furniture and closet contents (Oh, little sister, did I tell you my husband and I expect to be in your town in a few days? Could you put us up????).

After stripping off the wallpaper border I decided to remove the cottage cheese myself. Up I went with the compression sprayer full of water, a scraper, and a litter box pan bought specifically for this purpose.

Did I mention it’s messy? My husband is so much neater than I at this. He has his technique down pat.

I learned not to shower before taking a ceiling down. I had about a quarter of the stuff on me, half on the plastic drop cloth, and the rest landed in the pan. It took me four days to finish that ceiling.

But let’s stop here.

It was decision making time. Hardwood floor or carpet? Dave decided on hardwood. Off to Lumber Liquidators to select the flooring.

Another decision—where to put the wall mount for the TV. With that decision made, it’s off to Sam’s for a new monitor and a wall mount. And then there’s the stringing of the electrical, phone, and cable wires and installing new boxes.

Yesterday I was able to start putting paint on the walls of his future office, and I must say the finished product will turn out very nicely.

I have my moments of wanting to run, screaming, out the door at the thought of having to repeat this in his current office.

A few questions I’ve been asking myself during this process:

  • When did a gallon can of paint get so heavy?
  • Why does it take me so much longer to do these things than it did seventeer-eighteen years ago?
  • Why has no one taken me to a mental health facility for evaluation/commitment at the mere mention of starting this or any other project?

This was my life for three weeks. It’ll be done eventually. I just worry when I go to the grocery or other store if “eau de paint” is obvious. This afternoon, however, I think I’ll kick back and work on an afghan.

 And they’re coming to take me away Ha Ha

They’re coming to take me away ho ho he he ha ha

To the happy home with trees and flowers and chirping birds and

basket weavers who sit and smile and twiddle their thumbs and toes

they’re coming to take me away ha ha…

(chorus added by Carolyn Cornell Holland)

Take care.

The third sister


Just a note to add to my newly discovered sister:

When I drove to our mother’s home in Maine in 1996, I made certain that this song was playing when I pulled in her driveway and she greeted me at the car. It was on an audio tape I took with me.

It was quite appropriate.



Sister’s Day: 2012—Sisters Meet After 63 Years

My Mother’s Special 90th Birthday Gift

My Mother’s Secret: An Adoption Story


PHOTO SOURCES  u1479 still life interior  gold paint

1 Comment »


    Comment by Joan — January 3, 2013 @ 9:08 am | Reply

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