One of the things "they" say you should do after the loss of a spouse is to make the house "yours" instead of "ours." (I am still not sure exactly who "they" are). I have done a couple of things along those lines by painting the guest bathroom and upstairs hallway. About 6 months ago, I decided I wanted to paint our bedroom purple. That would definitely be a healing move, right?
The painting supplies have been upstairs since the 4th of July weekend when I painted the hallway. I was going to paint the bedroom over Labor Day weekend, but decided against it at the time. Then, when I hit the 5th anniversary of my Dad's death on Veteran's Day, I decided I needed a clean start and was just going to sell the house. I even did a drive-by on a cute little 3 bedroom, 2 bath not far from here. It took about a week for that urge to pass and getting my new property assessment cemented it: I am not going anywhere for the time being. The value of my house dropped by quite a bit. And, truth be told, for where my life is now, my house is in a good location.
So, I went back to my bright idea of painting the bedroom. I get a 4-day weekend for Thanksgiving and knew I wasn't going shopping on Friday. Contrary to popular belief, I am actually a rational, sane person. I decided that this would be the perfect time to paint the bedroom. I also decided this was something I needed to do for myself, by myself. I am rethinking the rational, sane person part.
I got the paint Wednesday on my way home. I also ended up with a stud finder. That's the sort of thing that happens when I get bored waiting on the paint department and wander aimlessly around Lowe's. I have found the presence of studs in my bedroom. (Yea!) Sadly, they are not the kind with strong-yet-tender, arms. (Boo!) I spent Wednesday evening packing up the knick-knacks and other random items in the bedroom and taping off most of the baseboards. I put the bed in the bathroom, moved the dresser out from the wall and put the night stands in the other room, so this only left the wall behind the armoire, which I decided to move at the last minute so I could have the TV on for background noise. I needed it for the Macy's parade. Being a grownup means I can watch the parade if I want to and no one can make watch stupid football instead. Being a grownup has its perks!
Thursday, when I got up, I started to tape off the ceiling before heading over to our best friends' for dinner. After dinner, I finished off the taping. This was not easy for me as I had to get on the 3rd rung from the top of the ladder and I am afraid of unstable heights. I had one slight misstep early on that caused me to come close to falling off the ladder and made me realize this was not the best idea I have ever had. My hands were sweating so much, I was making the tape not be sticky anymore. Then I realized I could use one of the vacuum attachments as a tape dispenser and that made it a lot easier. I was relieved when that part was done but was filled with dread knowing I was going to have to get back up to the top of the ladder to get the newspaper down.
Friday, I started painting around 9:30. I finished the first coat around 1:30, which I didn't think was too bad. The edges near the top of the vaults were hard to do. I attached the paint brush to the stir stick and just dabbed at them until they were covered. There corners in the alcove I couldn't reach and decided it wasn't worth falling off the ladder over. So, they aren't done. I had to use the roller on the pole sideways going backwards to do the alcove as it was so I was getting pretty freaked out about the whole thing as it was.
By the time I finished the first coat, the first wall was dry. For the second coat, I decided that anything that required me getting on the ladder above my comfort zone was just not happening. This made it go so much quicker and with a lot less stress. The alcove and the tops of the vaults only have one coat but oh well!
I left the paint to dry, went to Wendy's and DQ for the now traditional post-paint food (grilled chicken go-wrap, and fries from Wendy's and a DQ Peanut Buster Parfait), and after dinner took a 2 hour bath. I thought about just staying in the tub until Monday.
Saturday morning, I had a chiropractor appointment. That was painful. After I got home, I removed the tape from the baseboards and what I could from the ceilings with just the step-stool. Then it was time to face the ladder again. As I had to keep going higher up, I thought about how nice it would be if I had something that I could use to grab the paper and pull it off. And then I remembered I do own one thing that is meant to grab stuff...
My grab method worked quite well and did not require me to go past my comfort zone on the ladder. I about cried tears of joy when I got the last of the newspaper down and had not fallen off the ladder in the process. I then went to see "New Moon" with my friends, thinking I was far enough along with my project I could take a break. Turns out I did nothing but stress out during the movie thinking of all the things I still needed to do.
When I got home, I shampooed the carpet in the bedroom. I figured it would be a great time for that since the furniture was moved. Sunday, I put the headboard, dresser and armoire back where they belong and shampooed where they were sitting. I had a meeting to go to for a volunteer project I am doing on Friday so I whipped up some brownies for that and headed off to Beaverton. When I got home, I was thrilled to find the carpet was dry and I could put my bed back together. After 4 nights on an air mattress, I was more than ready for my own bed! I have body parts I can't move and my bruises have bruises. I wanted to cry this morning when I went to wash my hair. Acting like a 25 year-old male stud muffin when you are in actuality an out-of-shape 35 year-old woman with a bad knee results in pain. Lots of pain.
The personal effects are still in the spare bedroom so my room looks very impersonal at this point. I am going to put a shelf above the dresser and put the stuff there instead of on the headboard and dresser. I still need to hook the TV back up to the satellite box and the VCR/DVD player but I know that isn't going to go well and was already too frustrated to deal with it last night.
I know this was a good move. I know it was stupid to have done it all myself and the stress of having done so outweighs the accomplishment of having done it. I think there is some numbness there too-denial that it is my room now-there is no longer an us. (MH #2 is either going to have to live with purple, hire someone, or paint the damn room himself).
I always turn the TV on in the morning to hear the weather and traffic reports. It is out of habit from when we had long commutes. I don't really need this information. I have a 4.5 mile commute that is all surface streets and I always wear jeans and a sweater or sweatshirt to work because my office is only slightly warmer than a walk-in freezer. Since the TV is not hooked up, this morning, after I grumbled at the alarm clock, I turned on the radio for something to listen to while I got ready. It is on a country station. I woke up to John Michael Montgomery reminding me "life's a dance you learn as you go. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow. Don't worry about what you don't know. Life's a dance you learn as you go." I have been wondering "what's next?" a lot lately. Somehow, this seemed like a perfect end to my weekend and a perfect way to start whatever it is that comes now.