Let me just start by saying, thank you.
Thank you to all of you for still being here. Thank you to the anonymous hundreds that Google Analytics reports to me. Thank you to the people that like or comment on Facebook. And thank you especially to those of you who took the time to write such thoughtful, supportive things in the comments of my last post. It is hard to overstate the restorative power of kind words, particularly when they come from people you’ve never met.
Would it make things awkward between us if I told you that you really touched me?
Okay. Sorry about that.
Moving on! Remember that time I thought I was on a boat?
Well, the time has come for this galleon to be decommissioned.
Jesus. I can’t believe I painted the woodwork.
After all this time. After all of the mental battles between Preservationist Sarah and Things-change-and-that’s-okay Sarah, between Besides-white-is-a-traditional-color-for-woodwork-too Sarah and Nuh-uh Sarah, between It’s-gonna-look-so-much-better-when-it’s-done Sarah and Oh-my-freaking-god-I’m-really-gonna-hate-doing-that-project Sarah.
Fun Fact: in my brain, there is a rather large group of brain cells set aside to do nothing other than argue about “to paint or not to paint” EVERY TIME I am in the living room or dining room. Or the kitchen or the entryway, where I can see the living room or dining room. Or if I see a picture of the living room or dining room. Or if I see woodwork at someone else’s house or on TV. Or pretty much all the time that I’m not sleeping, although sometimes they wake me up at 3am just for shits and giggles, and then I am apparently required by the laws of nature to listen to them argue for an hour or two before I am allowed to go back to sleep.
You know, I was reading an article the other day about trans men, and how different decision-making is for them after taking testosterone. One guy, in particular, talked about how, as a woman, something like going to the grocery store had been such a hassle because he’d stand there for like, 45 minutes trying to decide on a brand of yogurt or whatever. But now, as a man, that hesitation is gone. The other trans men in the article all described similar simplifications of their decision-making processes. There’s less second-guessing, less wondering about how other people are going to feel about their decisions.
Testosterone — the miracle drug! You guys, do you know how much extra time I would have if I were capable of making snap decisions?? Think of all the mental energy that could be saved!! Those special brain cells I have could be put to use in solving global warming. Or ending poverty. Or figuring out universal health care.
On the other hand, while most of the men I know (by which I mean, “Chris”) might have made the paint-or-not decision years ago — and wouldn’t have thought twice about it since then — they most likely also would have come down on the “NOT-to-paint” side of the argument.
Which would have made them wrong.
And we all know how much better it is to be right.
Anyway. I’ve been avoiding this project for a long time, because Oh-my-freaking-god-I’m-really-gonna-hate-doing-that-project Sarah is pretty convincing. She said it would be a lot of tedious work without a lot of “big reveal” moments to keep Instant-gratification Sarah in line. And Instant-gratification Sarah is pretty needy; as a general rule, we all try to keep her happy.
So take a good long look, because this is probably going to be the last interesting before-and-after you see here for a while.
With that first coat of primer, the constant background noise in my head is, at least momentarily, silenced. Preservationist Sarah is too busy picking her jaw up off the floor, and Oh-my-freaking-god-I’m-really-gonna-hate-doing-this-project Sarah has stormed out, right after yelling, “Fine! Do it! But don’t expect any help from me!!”
It’s-gonna-look-so-much-better-when-it’s-done Sarah, however, is already talking about what color we’re going to paint the walls.
Of course, it’s not like none of us saw this coming. There’s really been no other choice on this project for well over three years. It started when I ripped up the 12-foot-long piece of wainscoting from this wall…
…and cut it into lots of smaller wainscotings to fit on these new walls.
I didn’t have to cut each of those panels down the middle in order to make everything fit. I could have very carefully taken everything apart, spent a bunch of money on custom router bits to match all the profiles, shortened all the rails and panel inserts, and put everything back together without scars. But Convenience Sarah and Cost-savings Sarah successfully argued that cutting them down the middle with a circular saw and putting ’em back together with pocket screws would get the job done in one night for almost zero dollars.
And then, I made all new wainscoting for the breakfast bar.
I didn’t have to make all the new woodwork for the kitchen, including the wainscoting under the breakfast bar, out of poplar, which is not only a different species as the rest of the woodwork but also doesn’t accept stain well, and so would never really match the original stuff. But Convenience Sarah and Cost-savings Sarah told me that poplar is less expensive than most hardwoods, and easily available in forms that don’t require milling your own lumber.
But everything comes at a price, sooner or later. Because now we enter what will probably be a 3-month process of caulking and filling, repairing and replacing, sanding and priming and sanding and painting and then painting some more.
And Convenience Sarah and Cost-savings Sarah are pissed, because all of that work is neither convenient nor cost-saving.
But now here we are. And how we got here is not nearly as important as doing the work that’s gonna get us out, no matter how tedious or how infrequent the gratification.
At least, that’s what It’s-gonna-look-so-much-better-when-it’s-done Sarah has been telling us. It’s cute, how optimistic she is.
I just hope she knows what the hell she’s talking about.