Epiphany-free zone.

Phew. I typed this in yesterday, but then I was having technical difficulties.

Once it was established that we’d be repainting the girls’ rooms, removing the old paint on the molding around the windows and doors was obvious. We live in an old house, and it’s apparent–well, almost everywhere, but perhaps most apparent–along the windowsills and door jams. The paint buckles and heaves, revealing dingy yellow under the dingier white, along with coats of dust in between. I open windows carefully, trying not to crack any further that which is already crinkled.

This was something that I could fix. Relatively low-skill, really. And that’s good, because I was raised in a family that ignored home improvement issues until they were impossible to ignore, and then a professional was called. I hear that there were early spates of redecoration and DIY painting, but most of these were from an era before I was old enough to participate. Then I got married early to someone very handy, from a long line of handy people. Really, there was little need.

Still, I wish I had some skills. I try, but my efforts are generally so far below Cute W’s standards that it’s pretty silly. But he’s been busy, and I wanted this done. Besides, I’m empowered. I’m clever. And when my courage fails me in efforts like these, I remind myself that Something Could Happen and I need to be self-sufficient. Just in case. Cute W could die or leave me and then I would be both heartbroken and incompetent. Better to steel myself with some minimal level of competency, or at least a can-do attitude.

Truth be told, part of me is hoping that I’ll be be good at something new. I’ve always been jealous of those lucky individuals who picked up a violin at 4 and grow up to play at Carnegie Hall or kids who did their first scientific experiment in elementary school and felt a hot flush of passion for chemistry. At 42, I still yearn for an epiphany. Perhaps, I think each time I try something new, I will find my Life’s Work. And so a small part of me hoped that I would pick up a power tool and it would feel like an extension of my body that’s been missing all this time. That something in me would sing or thrill, that I’d be Handier Than I Ever Expected.

There are no epiphanies here.


I am not good at this. I am slow and methodical and my end-product is still so shoddy that I know that Cute W will sigh and go over all of it again. He will not try to be condescending, and God knows that I act the same way every. single. time. he attempts to set the table. I’ve even posted a diagram and he still can’t manage it. So my feelings shouldn’t be hurt. But they will be.

And perhaps there will be a rush of pleasure when this room is done. But I’m currently four days into this journey of self-discovery, and so far, I’ve discovered that an impossible amount of paint dust can collect on my legs when they are sweaty enough. And this is something that I never, ever fantasized about learning.


Update: since writing this I’ve:

  • Settled, with J, on a new color of turquoise. Also very deep and rich.
  • Taken 5 showers because I am constantly disgusting.
  • Made one daughter cry and another daughter glare at me for critiquing their painting methodology.
  • Finished one audiobook and begun another.
  • Determined that I should have done a primer because the blue is dark enough to cover all that up, which means we wasted some time today.

And, in unrelated news:

  • Found my camera, yay!
  • Helped Cute W catch a bat in our living room.



  1. Claire

    You had a bat too?! And you helped catch it, but you don’t think you have any skills? When we had ours the other night, my biggest skill was screaming like I was being axe murdered (and traumatizing my 5-year old in the process), while my husband tried unsuccessfully to catch it. By the time the bat man arrived the thing had hidden so he couldn’t catch it either. Thankfully it emerged that evening at twilight, and that time my husband did catch it. I love old houses with character, but at times like that I curse myself for not sticking with a new home. Now we have to have batman come back and do a bat exclusion to figure out how the thing got in, and seal it off. (We had a bat colony when we first moved in that took three years to get rid of, so we have to stay on top of the situation.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *