In an attempt to bring a fresh look to my kitchen and an upstairs bathroom, things got worse before they got better. Clutter and chaos defined my world for over three weeks. Ladders, drop cloths, painter’s tape, wallpaper scraps, paint brushes, rollers. Shades down from windows. Furniture moved and covered.
What I thought would be a relatively simple project turned into hours of grueling work. First, the wallpaper in the kitchen and eating area came down inch by inch—literally. It seemed everyone had some idea on what would make it come down more easily: spray enzyme, steamer, etc. Nothing helped all that much.
After spending more than 60 hours at this task, I called in the “professionals” to help me finish. They got the wallpaper off all right! They took it down to the bare drywall! So now the walls needed retexturing. On top of this their precious enzyme had messed up some of the wood work.
In order to buy some time while the kitchen walls were fixed, the painting began in the laundry room which is right next to the kitchen Once the soft grapefruit yellow covered the laundry room walls, my painter, Kaki, and I moved to the upstairs bathroom. I painted the ceiling in the front part and the back section with two coats of pink. The color was out of same paint can, but because the lighting was different, the back part looked more like a fresh bottle of Pepto-Bismol. The ceiling in the front looked like soft pink flannel. Kaki used a white wash to tone the back half down.
Then when she started on the sage green, off-white, and pink stripes in the sink area, I moved to the kitchen to put primer on the fresh texture. Day after day I worked from morning until night. Even with some help, this project was far more than I had bargained for. I kept trying to envision the end product, telling myself that the grueling labor and aching bones would eventually be rewarded with pretty rooms.
Finally, we were rolling paint in the kitchen, and I was pleased with the light yellow and French blue accents. The end was in sight. On the morning Kaki and I put on the finishing touches, I breathed a sigh of relief! We were finished. Now the workmen just needed to come back and spray lacquer on the woodwork.
They did. However, when they pulled the tape around the wood off, they took paint off along with it. I was close to tears! More work! The next morning, I got the paint back out again to do the touch up. Now I am really finished, I thought.
I still need to frame some pictures and hang towel rods, but it feels great to have the mess behind me. As I reflect on the process from the inception of the ideas to completion, I know that I don’t like what happens between those two points. I don’t like the mess. I don’t like the hard work. Isn’t this the way we often feel in our journey through life?
My youngest daughter has a baby under construction, due in about one month. She would attest that the process from conception through birth isn’t easy either. Yet I know she and her husband will be filled with awe and delight when this little miracle is placed in their arms.
We all encounter numerous times in our lives when we enter a construction zone of some type and hard work precedes the goal. College degrees, a solid marriage, careers, personal growth, raising children all require trememddous energy and effort. As we pursue the things that matter to us, we must hold on to hope in the midst of the mess and the chaos, trusting that the end result will be worth our aching bones or our aching brains or our aching hearts.
(c) 2006 Marlene Depler