Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Ten Step Guide To Painting Rooms, If You Forgot You Have Kids

"Yes, George. I too dream of a world where we could bulldoze this house and start over."

Afternoon Readers,

I woke up today, determined to be productive. A go-getter. A person who cleans things.

Which is why I'm currently shopping online and drinking coffee. Well, initially I typed it as "coofe," so let's all thank the inventors of spell check and the makers of coffee for giving me the presence of mind to hit "search and replace."

Doesn't matter. The point is I've spent the last two days painting bedrooms and a little staring-into-space time is warranted. We're thiiiis close to being ready to list the Split level.

I can feel it in my bones. My brittle, caffeine-fortified bones. 

Painting the bedrooms has been my final Everest. Yes, I understand it's contradictory to imply there's more than one Everest in any particular situation, but my grasp on metaphors is slippery at best. My balance isn't so great either, but that didn't stop me from perching perilously on a dining room chair and edging against popcorn ceilings like my life depended on it. For added fun, the children have been turned loose in my workspace.

Today, I will perch once more, determined to knock out this last bedroom and pull this house together in one, unified color pallet symbolizing mild saleability. 

What's that you say? You have a painting project you're also wanting to complete that's just above sub-par?

You also have children, but forgot before you committed to home improvement?

Step this way, my friend. You came to the right place. Pooling my experience with materials, cheapskate tendencies, and an overwhelming urge to throw paint brushes through plate glass, I've compiled a list that should help.

A Ten Step Guide To Painting Bedrooms, If You Forgot You Have Kids

1.) Reevaluate 

Do you really have to do this? If you're super rich, I'd go with selling your house as-is or just burning it down and having someone rebuild it. Oh, and there's always the saner option of hiring someone to repaint the room for you.

If you, like me, happen to be strapped for cash, decide weather you really have to paint at all. If you don't absolutely have to, scrap all painting plans and go spend quality time watching your kids not step in paint. If you do... Godspeed. No one can help you now.

2. Decide on a color palate

Sure, a nice cream is wonderful, but will it hide the inevitable dirt? In my experience, something that falls under "Earthtones" will hide poop, and anything filed under "Slate Grey" will cover up the time your toddler took a hammer to the wall. Very Zen. 

3. Buy supplies

Whip out the old credit card and go to town. One brush for edging, another one to replace it when the baby shoves the first one down the vent that's missing a cover. Rollers, trays, paint thinner for while you're simultaneously weeping and trying to get paint off the duvet the preschoolers rolled for you. 

4. Save the receipt

Go back to step number one and really mull it over. It's not too late to turn back.

5. Ok, you're optimistic. I like that. Unfortunately, now is the time you have to get to work. Put a movie on for the kids and try not to cry into your newly-filled paint bucket because none of them want to watch what you picked out.

Pro Tip: Tears thin paint. Try to cry into your shirt. If you do hit the bucket, really sell the lighter color to your house guests as "Feathered Buffalo." It sounds very Anthropologie. If any of your friends point out the room resembles diarrhea, start yelling about how uncultured they are and storm out in search of boxed wine.

6. Outline

You managed to get the room edged while the kids fought over something irrelevant. Sure, you could've mediated, but when someone insults someone else by saying they build a better pile of saltines, well, that shit's gotta work itself out. 

7. Let me see you do that roll

Slide to the left.
Now, slide to the right.
Never mind. You're not getting any painting done. Try to convince the kids a truckload of popscicles just fell from the sky, into the backyard. Commence trying to paint again.

8. Second coat

More like one's good enough for most people. So what if you can still see the hand-drawn mural of Ponce de Leon discovering the Fountain of Youth? Moving on.

9. Nice and Trim

Remember that time you were trying to roll the walls and you rolled all over that fresh, white molding because the kids dumped the tray of paint down the stairs? Sure you do. It's why you drank this morning. Now that it's midnight, get back in there and finish the job, soldier.

10. Good enough

Spots? What spots? Hand prints? Just put a dresser there. Can't find any of the outlet covers because you stepped on half of them and the kids threw the rest in the trash? Hmm, you're not sure, but isn't it very European not to cover outlets?

Doesn't matter. The room's done, and all you have to do now is enjoy your new life in Feathered Buffalo.

Tres Chic.

Until Next Time, Readers!
Like what you read here? Buy the book!
And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gather Round The Old Toilet Hole

"The house doesn't actually come with a toilet, but what we can offer is this lovely collection of chamber pots."

Afternoon Readers,

If drinking an entire pot of coffee in one morning is wrong, I don't want to be even remotely right.

In fact, I motion we compose a group letter and petition the food pyramid people to make caffeine its own food group. After all it's done for me, I feel that's the least I can do in the way of appreciation. All I'm suggesting is maybe the very tip of the right hand corner. Or the entire bottom. Whatever.

Caffeine is truly the only thing keeping me on the wobbly track that is "The summer we moved and then decided we were never moving again because it would be easier to teach a herd of llamas how to crochet beanies for Bull elephants in need." Regular soda has given way to things like...

Husband: What is that?
Me: It's an energy drink. I found it for ninety-nine cents. It's called "Gridlock."
Me: Right? I can only imagine what it's doing to my insides.

If there's anything I'm learning about selling a house, it's probably that, just when you think you have all your fixes in line, the toilet decides to start pouring into the garage. For those of you who said, "Stage the kitchen with decorative fruit and put up a sale sign," I'm sorry your toilet already fell on top of your Yaris.

For informational purposes, this is prime time to let you know the signs of a leaking toilet seal.

Pee water on your floor
Pee water on your floor
Pee water going through the floor and falling on your lawnmower

(If you bought a lawnmower that was already covered in pee water, double check the first two signs instead.)

Initially, we'd blamed the kids and the dog. After all, what good is having kids or a dog if you can't shove the sad state of your bathroom on them? Exactly. But the problem became so frequent, Husband and I had to admit our kids were at least born with bladders, and the sad reality we had to fix yet another thing set in.

"I think I can fix it."

For a moment, I pulled the phone away and stared at it before putting it back to my ear. "Are you talking about our communication problems or the sewage problem two doors down?"

Husband sounded astoundingly confident, considering we had no idea what was living under the toilet. "I just need a couple things and some help from you. Don't call the plumber."

"Why, sir. You just filled my dance card for the evening."

I'm cheap, so it didn't take a ton of convincing to put away the checkbook and watch Husband unscrew and gingerly pry the porcelain throne away from the laminate. While I rocked back and forth on my heels, waiting to help kill whatever Steven Kingesque creature was crouching under our American Standard, the kids grouped in the doorway and made memories of the time their parents had ruined the bathroom, using only sewage and overconfidence.

"Uuuuuuughhhhh." The collective disgust of the family was simultaneously unifying and horrific, as the dirty, cavernous sewer hole gaped back at us.

Truly surprising, however, was the sense of overwhelming attraction that washed over me. Husband bravely began scraping away the wax remnants of the old seal and, with amazing precision, replaced it with a new one. Confidence radiated as he situated himself to put the toilet back in its respective position.

I'd married a man who could save us all from falling through the floor while we relieved ourselves.

*Insert mental pat on the back for saying 'yes' to our first date and not staying home to eat brownies instead*

"I can't get it back on."

"What?" I'd decided to continue the fun of the evening by putting the kids to bed by myself and hoping there wasn't poop on the bottom of my Converse. "What do you mean?"

Husband grunted and set the toilet back down, temporarily taking a break from the silent war. "It's impossible to line this thing back up with the bolts. I need your help."

Few things bring a couple closer together. War, famine, crapper placement. For the next fifteen minutes, we shoved the monstrosity back and forth.

"It must weigh three hundred pounds."

"Why can't I see the holes?"

"Woman, just get one of them lined up."

"You get yours lined up."

"I'll line you up."

"That doesn't even make sense."

"The baby's up."

"It's on you if he falls down the hole."

Finally, things lined up, bolts connected, and the toilet was back to its position of prominence.

Toilet ring: 11.00
New bolts:  2.00
The new owners not having to poop in an open hole in the floor: Priceless

Really, if number three on that list isn't a huge selling point, I don't know what we're going to do. Well, I know what I'll do.
Drinking caffeine and writing to the food pyramid people is an excellent time filler.

Until Next Time, Readers!

Like what you read here? Buy the book!
And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Monday, August 11, 2014

Remnants of Summer

"How's about you and I pour a glass of wine and canoodle over a mockumentary?"
Afternoon Readers,

I thought I'd take a timeout from thinking about attempting to think about climbing the Everest that is painting the bathroom.

Yeah, it makes my brain hurt too. Especially the part where, instead of sitting in front of my laptop and drinking coffee, I'll be trying to decide whether to shoo them away or just paint over the spiders living in the corner behind the toilet.

Someone with eight legs is getting ready to rock a new shade of Old White in an eggshell finish. He'll go great with burlap throw pillows.

There's something about August that boasts a very unique sort of exhaustion. It hints at cooler weather around the corner, the children's failure to be impressed by the pool, and the certainty their fights will stretch into November.

As my swim shorts and I stretched out in the baby pool the other day, reflecting on the shreds of summer swirling around seemed like a great distraction from counting the stretch marks the sunlight had missed, my dreams of being the next Miss America giving way to a new dream of being Mrs. Elasticity of Yesteryear.

Mental Tally of Summer:

Pool toys left: 0

While the effort was put forth to buy decent toys for the kids this year, it didn't change the fact the baby was playing with half a Tupperware and stirring the water with a stick. 

Swim suits: 3 sort of

Brightly colored and fitted suits had become faded, stretched, and there was the very real possibility I'd stuck one of them in old tuxedo bottoms from a wedding last summer. I was tired of looking for suits.

Meals: Sub-par

My initial enthusiasm for fun, summer recipes had faded into a mutual respect for Peep candy dug out of the sale bin. I gave myself an extra point for dumping the Stouffer's baked ziti into a decorative, earthenware dish. 

Frosted animal cookies eaten: 1,538

I had an inkling it was only a matter of time before I looked down and my left thigh will have broken out in sprinkles. Jiggly but delicious.

Minivan: Trashed

There are raves more organized than the unidentifiable crap trying to roll under my gas pedal. I once had someone look over my shoulder and peer into our traveling cave.

"Oh, did you get in an accident?"
I nodded. "Yes, but I'll never let the kids build their own burgers back there again. My mama didn't raise no fool."

House: Ready to sell by 2089

Almost done.We only had one door to replace, eight walls to paint, a new piece of bead board to put under the sink, and to figure out why the electricity shut off every time we looked at new houses online.

Stress level: 8

This wouldn't be so bad if the above score hadn't been measured on a scale of 1-5.

Boxes packed: 300

After a futile day's effort to see around them, Husband and I agreed to build our own box forts and only visit each other on Saturdays or if one of the kids needs to go to the ER. My box fort is cooler. His has a slide.
Might just trade for his box fort.
I miss him.

Times we've bickered because the whole situation is exhausting: Trying not to keep track. Possibly 21.

Times we've made up and re-bonded over a Shark Week special that turned out to be a fake: 1

But we're both equally irate because of how emotionally invested we were. "All those people killed by that killer shark. I don't think I can even sleep."

Text from Husband: I found out it wasn't real. I'm pissed.

Text From Me: Discovery Chanel a**holes. I mourned those fake people all night.

Instances where I might have to paint over a spider: Unknown

But I'll find out. The bathroom's calling my name, and the kids are playing nicely in the dog kennel, so it's time to get to work.

Until Next Time, Readers!

Like what you read here? Buy the book!
And now that I've awkwardly made you my friend, come hang out with me on:

Monday, August 4, 2014

What Happens When You Get Too Busy

"Why cut your own hair, when you can have your kids do it?"

Afternoon Readers,

The great thing about kids is, when things as large as moving are going on, they can stay completely oblivious and carry on with their various plans to take apart the home you're trying to sell.

Other things also not interupted:

Philosophical and Theological Questions (see also: death, dying, the soul, and why butterflies are beautiful)
Mess Making
Swinging glass tumblers around in order to up my chances of death by heart attack and not a sedentary lifestyle
Dropping random labels of things into the milk jug
Unpacking boxes that are taped shut for a reason
Casually plopping hands on to just-painted surfaces

But, just because it's going to take eighty us eighty years and a day to get out of here, doesn't mean the children aren't doing strange but slightly interesting things as well. A few days ago, I had a quick conversation with Sundance...