Painting the Girls’ Rooms

J’s room has evolved since the last time you saw it. It’s always been very pink, and over the past year, she’s hated the pink. She was sort of hoping that Santa Claus would repaint all of her walls, switch out her flowered pink rug, and change all of her bed linens into something sophisticated and turquoise, with plenty of coordinating pillows. Once again, Santa Claus proved to be unequal to the task: he managed a new comforter, sheets, and one throw pillow. Since then J invested in her own new rugs: she ended up going with a patchwork of three different bath mats when she couldn’t decide between the patterns. But the pink’s been making her crazy. So waaaaaay back in January or February, I said that we could repaint over the summer. It seemed so far away then. Maybe she’d even forget about it. . . .

Yeah, no such luck. And it’s only fair to offer a repainting to M, who’s had the grungy old-house paint since we’ve moved in (the only reason why J scored a paint job when she moved into her room was because it was four solid walls of c. 1973 faux wood paneling, and I was afraid that it would give her nightmares). So it’s time to paint the piper, or whatever.

Both girls are hell-bent on deep turquoise on all four walls of their room, although there’s considerable debate about the exact shade. J committed herself months ago to Valspar Fish Story and didn’t want to consider anything else. Both Cute W and I would like something considerably lighter, but as a personal favor to Randy Pausch, we decided to go with it

I’d forgotten about the whole task, actually, until it struck me late at night when I already should have been asleep, as part of my OMG-it’s-August-and-summer-will-be-over-before-we-know-it panic. Luckily the schedule offered an obvious plan. This week M’s got soccer camp while J is camp free. During the last week of August, J will have Circus Theatricks camp while M will be camp-free. So I’ve hereby registered each of them into a week of Camp Paint Your Room.

It seemed like a good idea, but after Day 1 of Camp Paint Your Room, I was already panicking that I’d bitten off more than I can chew. We’re all suffering from window and door trim with layer upon layer of old paint that’s buckling and chipping. I’m okay with painting, but the paint removal biz is an entirely new frontier. So this morning, J and I cleaned off her walls and trim and laid down a bunch of plastic, but when it came time to test out the new heat-stripping tool, I banished her from the room. The paint may or may not be lead paint, but either way, it can’t be good for us, right? So I sealed off the room and set the fan to suck all the air out, and then I picked up this glorified hair dryerm which Cute W assured me was nothing like a hair dryer. Then I read things on the internet that made me think that the whole idea was a bad one, but I figured that if I froze, what would end up happening is that Cute W would do it all, damn the hazards, and I’d feel guilty. So then I removed the fire extinguisher from its kitchen home to have it close at hand, strapped on a respirator and an audio book, and got to it.

I spent a very long time trying to remove the paint, and just as I was wringing my hands in despair, the girls came to visit me and share the good news that J had decided to go with a different shade of turquoise after M had suggested that Fish Story might be too dark. Of course, I’d already bought the custom-colored paint, and when I joined them to check out the new proposed color, it really wasn’t significantly lighter, anyway. Sigh.

I was going to post all of this stress last night, but I couldn’t find my camera for all the pictures. What pictures? you ask. Yeah, well, I still can’t find my camera. But I have some updates.

When Cute W saw my pathetic lack of progress, we came up with the brain storm that we could get rid of some of the extra molding entirely, which was an improvement. We sanded a little test area, and then overnight Cute W and I shared a Complete Stress Freakout that the paint was undoubtedly lead-based and that we’d probably begun the process of poisoning our family and creating a toxic waste site. This led to massive insomnia and Googling on Cute W’s part while I ran off to buy a lead paint test first thing in the morning. I did the test and it was . . .  negative! Hooray! And then while I gushed to Cute W about my intense relief, we realized that I’d done the test wrong, and so I made him stay on the line and distract me for the two minutes it took to re-test. It was about as stressful as waiting for the pregnancy test. And. . .  negative again!  Woot, woot! We dodged a bullet there.

Then I found out that there’s a “love your color” guarantee for the paint. So this morning I was feeling pretty good, let me tell you.

Now that it’s evening, the roller coaster is plummeting again. I made so little progress that I still have more sanding to do tomorrow. My children have no interest in interacting with nature anymore. I’m behind schedule on my KidsOutAndAbout newsletter, and I’m just barely posting this. But tomorrow is another day. . . .




  1. @Big Sister, oh, BELIEVE ME, that was a suggestion. Alas, it will not.
    @Deb, thanks for noticing. Not a typo, folks. I’m THAT punny.

  2. Big Sister

    Okay then, blue blue blue blue it shall be. J. will be sleeping in a tranquil fish tank. I love it and her fishy little self.

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