As the Paint Roller Turns, episode 2 In which our heroine (sorta) pulls it off

At the end of episode 1, our heroine (me) had painted herself into a corner:

thissortaoldlife collage

In less than 32 hours, I had to get those stairs and that family room into party-ready shape for that girl’s 8th grade promotion party. Otherwise, it was gonna get ugly:

teenage stare

How did I get myself into this mess?

As those of you who’ve been with us for awhile know, we’ve got a major bathroom project that’s been stalled since, oh, some time in April.

thissortaoldlife shower demo

We made a deliberate decision back then to put the project formally on hold until we got out of school this June.

We are at the stage of needing to put tile on the wall (after a long, drawn-out design process), and we need a good chunk of uninterrupted time in which to tackle that. (We have problems getting that kind of time.)

thissortaoldlife tile layout

So, now it’s June…

..and school ended for me last Friday, and instead of pulling out the tile and my how-to-tile books, I did this:

thissortaoldlife family room prepainting


Because I’m both a perfectionist and a procrastinator, a generally paralyzing combination of traits.

See, I’m feeling really uneasy about the tiling project. I haven’t laid tile before, and we’ve invested a lot of time in this one, and the outcome is uncertain, at best.

thissortaoldlife tile piles

This makes it all look way more in control...

thissortaoldlife tile piles on bench

...than this make me feel.

And, Grace was having a little party to celebrate the end of middle school/beginning of high school, and she wanted most of it to take place in our family room, which has so far been a dank, bleak cave housing random furniture we don’t really like.

thissortaoldlife family room window wall

What better way to procrastinate on the project I’m worried about being unable to do perfectly than to take on another project?

And what better way to keep from being paralyzed by perfectionism on that project than to start it when I really must finish in 4 days?

Which is why I slapped some tester paint on the walls Friday afternoon.

thissortaoldlife test paint

By doing that, I was committed. I had to finish before the party. There wasn’t enough time to get bogged down in choosing the perfect color, or in perfectly painting around the trim, or in finding the perfect curtains or couch or wall decor.

Not that I did any of that consciously. All I knew was that I had to paint those walls, right now.

Cue the complications (in which the mess plot thickens)

If it were just me, it would have already been mess enough. But it’s not just me. There’s also Cane, who has his own set of issues.

I’m not even going to attempt to diagnose them. All I know is that suddenly, the horrible carpet that’s been on the stairs since we moved in last August had to be removed, right now. (This is what makes us compatible–or at least, not able to scream at each other when one of us suddenly tears something up. :-))thissortaoldlife cane tearing up carpet

We’ve talked about the stairs. But we’ve also talked about painting the exterior of the house, fixing up our bedroom, getting rid of the horrible wallpaper in the main bathroom…

We’ve talked about a system for making our decisions about which projects to do this summer. We’ve even begun creating it.

Yeah:  We threw all that out the window.

Instead of making real decisions, we just started tearing out and painting.

So, we spent all weekend on these projects, right?

Umm, not really.

thissortaoldlife tula panini

But we did discover an awesome gluten-free bakery. (Remember that procrastination thing?) We got this banana with almond butter panini at Tula in north Portland. It was amazinggood. Not good-for-gluten-free. Amazinggood, period.

By Monday morning I was ready to put paint on the walls of the room, and we decided that I’d paint the stairs dark brown, just for now. Cane left for school (he gets done tomorrow), and I got down to work.

Knocked down both levels of the stairs in about 2 hours.

thissortaoldlife stairs

See that gate at the bottom of the stairs? No, we don’t have a toddler. We have wieners:

thissortaoldlife stairs with pawprints

Then I went to town on the family room. I got one coat on the whole room (took way longer than I thought it would), but my work day was cut short by the 8th grade promotion ceremony on Monday night.

promotion ceremony

I was too pooped when we got home to do any more work, and this was the state of things on Tuesday morning before I took Grace to school:

Cane and I realized that the brown paint on the stairs was horrible, and no amount of paint was going to make it look any better:

thissortaoldlife ugly stairs

Why brown? Because I had some left-over porch and floor paint. Why unpaintable caulk in the seams? Oops.

Yes, there were  near-tears before someone left for her last day of 8th grade.

I felt terrible about breaking my promise to make the stairs look “normal” before the party, but I had to cut my losses and get done what I could. The room needed another coat of paint, so that’s where I started.

I had that done at about 11:30–but I still needed to clean the house, buy groceries for the party, pick up a few things to make everything look better, and prepare food. And–most importantly–take a shower. I was a gross, sweaty mess by the time I got done speed-painting that room. (Luckily, I was alone, so no one could record my loveliness on camera.)

I’ll skip over the details. Let’s just get right to the resolution of this story:

thissortaoldlife windows chair b&a

thissortaoldlife fireplace b&athissortaoldlife window wall b&a thissortaoldlife family room after collage

The room is not perfect. It’s still filled with furniture we mostly don’t like, and we hate the plastic mini-blinds, and that carpet is about to get pulled up.

But that’s not what really matters, you know? What matters more is the answer to this question:

How did the party turn out?

happy girl


Stay tuned for the final episode, in which our heroine (me) learns important lessons about the power of love, paint, procrastination, perfectionism, and Goodwill pillows.

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And I almost forgot! It’s William Morris Day! Gotta head on over to that…

william morris project

You can find the beginning and end of our drama here:

Episode 1: Best laid plans

Episode 3: Lessons learned