After a harsh winter—and by “harsh,” I mean having to endure friends in warmer climes complaining the cold—it looks like spring may be on its way here in the Northeast. I think there’s one more possible snow flurry predicted, followed by freezing rain and, hell, let’s just throw another Nor’easter on the pile before we’re officially done.
Hubs and I spent most of the winter shivering under throw blankets and waiting for nine o’clock to roll around so we could go to sleep without feeling too guilty for letting down our late-night partying twenty-year-old selves. Even the Beast, who relished every snowfall, felt a 50-yard walk to the corner in single-digit weather was a little too far.
The last house project we worked on was in the fall when, after cutting down the Hedge, we replaced the deteriorating porch. Then, one dry and chilly weekend in November, we painted to protect it from the coming elements. After that, we hung up our paintbrushes and hunkered down for our long winter’s nap.
But we’ve crawled enough out of the depths of sub-freezing temperatures that it’s time to get back to work. First up? The living room. Last week, we spent four days prepping and painting. For someone like me, who easily grows bored in the middle of my own sentences, prepping for painting is a painful process. There’s spackling, plastering, taping, sanding, clearing out, covering up, and waiting—all before a single stroke ever touches the wall! Anyone who thinks home redecoration is a fun business either never preps or has a short memory.
Who knows when the faded walls of our house were last painted, but it was time for change. After much negotiation, Hubs and I agreed on a paint color. This is no easy feat: Aside from our differing tastes, Hubs is colorblind. Purple looks brown to him, blue might be mistaken for green. A month into our courtship, we sat across the table at a nice restaurant and he said, “It’s sad that I’ll never know what color your eyes really are.”
“You’re in luck!” I responded enthusiastically. “They’re grey. And they change with whatever I’m wearing!”
We ended up with a light neutral color that could compliment the kind of train car coffee table or reclaimed barn door or industrial bookshelf that everyone is clamoring to put in their décor these days. “You better like it,” said Hubs, “because I’m not painting this room again for a while.”
Choosing a paint color was a cinch compared to settling on what to listen to while we painted—I refuse to believe Neil Young motivates anyone to work on the house; Hubs insists he can’t paint and stay awake while listening to an audiobook. In the end, our only option was my old trusty radio, which I’ve had since 1986 and has survived every project from painting, cleaning, moving, and summer camp dance routines.
[A side note: Set to the local Oldies station, it soon blasted Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record, Baby).” I remember when that song was first played at underground clubs and on alternative radio. That it was now played after such standards as Boston’s “More Than a Feelin’” and Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” was enough to make me reach for the Ensure and contemplate my long existence.]
As we painted, Hubs and I kept arguments at a minimum (ok, I got a little irascible when I thought he was a little heavy with the paint) and we ate a lot of take-out, including two days of pastrami Reubens from a local Italian salumeria (I make no apologies), and soon the room started coming together. By Sunday night, the furniture was back in place. Too bad we didn’t get a single second to enjoy it because we were both zonked from all that effort. Nothing like a house project to remind you to pick up some ibuprofen at Costco.
With the walls and trim finished, the room looks more bright and clean than ever. We still have a few things to go—including stripping old layers of paint off the bathroom door, as well as decorating. But now that we’ve done an indoor project together, with the help of a friend well-schooled in D-I-Y and a few YouTube videos, we’re ready for the next item on our to-do list.
But first, a nap.