Friday, April 1, 2011

I caved in (NOT an April Fool's joke!)

When we bought the house, I had grand ideas. We were going to tackle things ourselves, and we'd only call in professionals when absolutely necessary. I was going to paint the ENTIRE house myself! It would be SO easy! Psh, me and a 2,000 square foot house? No big deal. The fact that I'd NEVER painted a room before? That's NOTHING! (Turtle saw the light early on and excused himself from any painting. That, and he grew up seeing painting first-hand. Smart, very smart.) If only I had known...

You see, I grew up in a post and beam house. No sheet rock, no paint, no wallpaper, no carpet. Wood, a brick chimney, tile and linoleum in the bathrooms and kitchen, respectively. That's it. But mostly wood. After visiting friends' houses when I was very little, I came home asking my mom if we were poor, since we didn't have the "luxuries" of shag carpet and glossy wallpaper like some of my friends. As a pre-teen, I bemoaned that my bedroom looked like something out of Little House on the Prairie, and didn't even have 4 straight walls so that ALL 40 bazillion of my New Kids on the Block posters couldn't be hung. (Gambrel roofs do not make friends with 11 year olds wanting pictures of Joey McIntire ALL. OVER. THEIR. BEDROOM.) I had to make do with the curved walls and the beams cutting into my fabulous design plans. In high school, these little pieces of walls were perfect for Absolut Vodka ads. Mind you, I didn't have my first "forbidden" drink (meaning, without adult supervision on holidays or at a wedding) until the summer following my senior year of high school. And, I never went to any parties in college before I was legally able to drink. Hey, I thought they were creative means of advertising! Look at me now, I work in marketing!

Back to the present. The painting. It worked well for awhile--I painted our TV room all by myself. Even if it took almost 2 months, with a little help from my mother on the trim towards the very end after I thought it would be great to host Christmas and things still weren't done. Whoops. Then I took some time off (oh, a year!), and started the half bath in...late February or early March. Today's April 1st and I still haven't rolled paint on the walls.

In non-painting tasks, we garden together. We stained 2 decks this summer. We clean and maintain other things on our own. Turtle does the lawn care on his own. (Except for the turf people who put down fertilizer and lime and all of that stuff since the previous owners basically let the grass that existed at one time burn out. This year will be our second/last year.)

But, since I have delusions of grandeur grand ideas, I often forget how much free time I really don't have, and am a poor judge in how long tasks will take. Then I get frustrated with half finished projects, like our less than half painted half bathroom, and wonder if they will ever be complete. This from the same woman who said in October 2009, "I can paint this entire house ALL. BY. MY. SELF."

Right. Here we are, just shy of living here 18 months and what do I have to show for it? The TV room. (Not even counting the unfinished half bath.) GOOD JOB! Granted, things did get in the way. Like a broken hand. Like outdoor projects. Like all of this #*@()$&@^# snow we got this winter. (Yeah, I know, if I was stuck inside for so long, how come I didn't paint? My job does not stop because there's pretty white fluff on the ground. Working from home doesn't mean flipping the channels while answering a few emails. Oh, and when you've got FEET of snow to move, that takes up any extra time.)

I wanted to be like John & Sherry at Young House Love who get up every day, rearing to go paint and create! In fact, I probably would be if not for the fact that I must get up and shuffle off to a desk to NOT paint and create. It it HARD to work full time and try to squeeze in a lot of house stuff into your evenings and weekends when you have a million other things going on, and not much vacation time. So I had to accept what I could not change.

On Monday afternoon, I called a painter to come and give me an estimate. We spoke on Tuesday. Wednesday, she came to see my house and what I needed done. Yesterday I hired her. She starts on Tuesday. I would just like to confess that I have had this woman's card in my planner for almost a YEAR now. Because, I was going to be able to paint everything MYSELF and I would NOT need a professional to help me. Something told me to keep her card though...

It's not like me to ask for help. Growing up, my parents didn't have the money to get people to do things for them, so my dad either further broke fixed things, or we did without. Plus, my mom was home full time for a very long time, so she took care of a lot of house things, both indoors and out, while we were in school all day. I wanted to be Superwoman, but I can't.

This was a BIG deal for me to say 1) I cannot do this in a reasonable time frame (or, ever) and 2) I need to PAY someone MONEY to do it for me. Turtle is jumping for joy and saying alleluia!

People, I can be very cheap, especially when it comes to doing things for myself. Like I've said before here and in other posts, it's how I was raised. I rarely get my car washed and the inside cleaned because I have a vacuum, two hands, soap, rags, Windex and all of that. On the other hand, it's not like my car is always immaculate, either. I will wear nylons with holes in them with pants since no one can see the holes. I reuse everything. My purse is slowly falling apart. This time, I did not blink at the expense. It needs to be done.

The price for painting was VERY good, and I feel good about giving someone a job. Especially a woman who owns her own business. I got her name from my mom's coworker, who had nothing but great things to say about her. To make this small world even smaller, after I'd asked the painter to have her insurance company fax me a certificate of coverage (can't be too careful!), we have the same insurance agent! The agent called me today to let me know she'd be faxing over the documents and to put in a good word. How's THAT for service?

What's getting painted?
  • The kitchen (which I was going to have a pro do anyway, because I am not tiny and there are a lot of little spaces where I'd never be able to do)--some kind of beige/neutral since we have greenish countertops, thanks previous owners for choosing that, it really limits your options!
  • The dining room--a blue
  • The library--very light greyish-pink/light mauve. With the wood stove, I need something that will hide smoke well. But we have brick in here, so something to accentuate that.
  • The foyer--a creamy light yellow, since it's dark
  • The stairwell--ditto
  • The upstairs hallway-ditto
  • The master bedroom (was also going to have a pro do since we need it to sleep in and I don't think it would have been good for me to take months to do it)--it was going to be blue but tonight Turtle suggested yellow. Now I'm not so sure...
What's not getting painted? THE HALF BATH. I started that project, I will NOT be defeated! :) I've decided that I can paint the other two bathrooms when the time is right, as well as the 3 bedrooms not being used right now. And if I can't get around to it, at least I know that this woman does great work at a good price. (I should start saving NOW.)

As my mom said the other night when I called her to run the estimate* by her, I'm going to feel much more settled when this is all over. Hanging this over my head for so long wasn't helping me to feel at home, in my own home. Hopefully I'll be on a roll and finish setting up the house the way I really want it.

Oh, but picking colors would help, huh? I told the painter that it's good that she's starting soon, as I work best under pressure. She'd never had a customer say that before. I bet. I do work well under deadlines. I'm going to the paint store tomorrow for yet MORE chips. I hope I can narrow it down...

Of course this comes after me drawing up a new budget and paying off some bills. It's either all or nothing with me, in so many areas. Sometimes, I just shake my head at myself.

*The estimate apparently was good--someone else my mom works with had their living room done. Just 2 coats of wall paint, the ceiling and the trim = $1200. All of my rooms together, plus the paint, are less than double that number. WIN! And thank you tax refund.


  1. your time is money- so this is a great choice! That being said- we do EVERYTHING DIY- and it probably shows. :)

  2. Thanks--even though I'm still beating myself up quite a bit. This isn't like me. I feel like a diva, or someone very spoiled. I was at the paint store this morning, and actually said something like "(sighing) Shouldn't have decided to do the entire house at the same time."

    Off to eat my leftovers from last night's dinner...oh look, still cheap! :)

  3. I have to admit, this made me laugh, because you sound just like my husband: "I often forget how much free time I really don't have, and am a poor judge in how long tasks will take." He is notorious for saying, "I'll do it this week, it won't take very long," when in reality he has about 2 hours of free time the entire week and whatever it is it ends up taking about 6 hours. And he is intent on doing everything himself--we are eventually going to build our own house, and I've finally convinced him we're going to need professionals to at least do the electricity and plumbing. So good for you for realizing that hiring someone was better than stressing yourself out over it anymore! It definitely sounds like you'll be happy when it's all done!

  4. Yes, that sounds JUST like me!!! You have to light a fire under me or severely threaten me to get me to do anything on time. Except at work and when I was in school. It's amazing how I manage to stay gainfully employed now as an adult, and while in college, kept a GPA-based scholarship and graduated with honors.

    Tell him it's just safer to hire professionals for those things ;-) Or find experts who wouldn't mind him "assisting" so when things ultimately break down the road, he can fix them himself. Kinda like an internship!


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