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Monday November 21, 2005 // By Sandy

Catching up with my pre-reqs for adulthood

The prospect of a Sunday afternoon with nothing to do is of great appeal. Or so it seems up until Sunday afternoon arrives, at which point I’m overwhelmed with the worry of an afternoon wasted. The hobgoblin of inefficiency hovers over my head and sneers at me and just dares me to surf the web when there’s so many household chores to get done. What a horror it’d be, I think to myself, to reach the end of the day without having acheived anything worthwhile. It’s a dash of my own special flavor of OCD.

The best way to slay this demon is to make myself a list—to determine at the beginning of the day which tasks I’ll get done today. If I can look at an undone list at the beginning of the day, and imagine all those items crossed out by the end of it, suddenly my mind eases and, ironically, I can relax. Sunday, the list I made started out with several little things on it. It didn’t feel like enough; I needed a big ticket item. So I dug deep into the long-term house project list and found a good fit: the patch job on the living room wall.

The backstory: after the four-day paintapalooza we hosted post-move-in, we tucked the paint supplies away in a dark corner and vowed not to touch the stuff for a good long while. There had been mistakes, sure, but nothing we couldn’t live with for a year or two. Then, later that week, as if to welcome us to the joys of home ownership, the Comcast guy’s drill hit a weak spot and, suddenly, a four-foot-by-two-foot chunk our wall was on the floor. Mr. Comcast sure was contrite about the situation, and got himself to a hardware store posthaste to buy the supplies he’d need to fix it. And fix it he did, though only up to the point of applying the new plaster to the wall. He seemed willing to sand it down, replaster, sand again and paint it, but I was just anxious to get the situation over with and take care of the rest myself.

Of course, I never did. We let our beautiful new wall, lovingly painted yellow by our craftiest of friends, languish with a glaring bald spot. It was easy to cover with shelves and put out of mind, and we were on an anti-paint diet anyway, so there wasn’t an urgency to fix it. Yesterday, with nothing taking up the big ticket space on my Sunday to-do list, I thought I’d tackle it.

I faced the task of evening the surface of the wall. If you’re wondering if it was slightly emasculating to ask my fiancee for a lesson in sandpapering, the answer is no, it was VERY emasculating. You’d think a guy named Sandy would know, of all things, how to best use sandpaper. Nope. Nor did I really know my way around a bucket of spackle—I’m sure more than a few hairs on my chest exfoliated themselves in search of a manlier host when I gently asked Sarah to explain it to me.

After the spackling and sanding was finished—ain’t enough O’s to tell you how smooooth it was—it was time to dig out those buckets and face the paint. The bucket we needed had but a cup or so of paint left—just enough to finish the job and hope to never need a Comcast guy in our house again. A thorough swishing of the paint can’s contents, some carefully taped newspaper, a few swipes of the brush, and our wall was a good as new. Okay, not “new” so much as “newish looking for the elderly and color-blind,” but good enough for us. We can now make decisions about furniture placement without having to consider its ability to conceal, and for us, that’s progress.

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