Our previous post asked the question ” Decorating Project or Madness?” The results are in and that minx MJ was quite right in declaring it “Madness.” Every step twenty times harder than it should have been. I ripped out the desk the very nice guy who owned this house in the early eighties built in. He was enthusiastic, god knows. Originally there were cabinets and shelves and desks and closets (including one especially designed for LP’s. Do you remember LP’s? Well, you must be terribly old, darling, terribly.) Over the years here. I’ve removed pretty much all of them, regretfully. They were beautifully built and I knew they must have been a great pride to him, but, like the LP closet, they just didn’t work for us.
So I approached this desk knowing it would be a fight. All of these pieces have been over constructed, obviously designed to withstand teenagers and earthquakes. This particular one had a number of amusing aspects: It concealed a bunch of medium sized holes in the drywall behind it and which were just a little too big to patch over with spackle, so I had to turn to my least favorite skill: taping and mudding. My older brother, who is a whiz at this, tried to teach me and finally gave up after he saw one of my better attempts. “How did you do that?’ was all he said before sending me off to sand flood boards. Time has not improved my abilities.
Also, part of the builder’s enthusiasm meant he not only nailed the fucking desk to the fucking floor, he drove the nails THROUGH the floor so that now that they’re gone you can take a peak and see what’s going on down on the patio below. Delightful.
Finally, I dragged the last of the desk’s carcass out and started prepping for the paint. R man, for years, refused to ever allow me to paint. He claimed, repeatedly I was too sloppy. Of course, he was right. It wasn’t that I disagreed with him, I just don’t care. Most of the paint winds up where I want it to, what’s the problem? Oddly, my “what the hell” attitude does not extend to taping around the edges. I attack taping the way lesser mortals go after genetic research. And yet, it’s never enough. I have spent the last two days going back over and over paint that got past the tape cordon or the tell-tale traces of crimson that I was trying to cover that kept peeking out. Red is a terrible color to work with, it’s famous for not covering well and yet trying to smother it equally tough; the tiniest bit shouts out like Divine at a church lady picnic.
Also, I finished the first coat of the lovely aqua over the primer and realized I hated it. Sort of an industrial blue gray that would have looked appropriate on an upscale warehouse, but is that what I was shooting for? No.
So I went back to the paint store, maxxed out my credit card on another gallon, this time lavender. They have a charming sign in the store “Nothing is so expensive as cheap paint.” Considering I could have spent the week with a couple of rentboys for what I’ve sprung on these colors, I tend to be rather bitter when I walk past that sign. Nevertheless.
I covered a small wall and a big chunk of another one and realized the lavender was in fact, purple. High school loser girl trying to develop an interesting personality purple. I stood stuck in the middle of the room, horrified, trying to decide whether to go back to aqua or forge on into lavender land. It’s possible I wept. Anyway, I decided to go full on lavender, mostly because I was standing there with a brush and a pan full of it. And you know what? It turned out just fine. It’s not purple, it’s gray blue lavender and it changes beautifully with the light (the room faces west and gets a hot yellow light that does very well with the color.) So, a primer layer, a coat of aqua, and two of lavender which I consider doing the same job four times, goddamit,
Finally, I am through. A week, seven goddam days painting one bedroom. Did I mention the black trim? Very dramatic and a complete bitch to try to keep tidy. Still, though. Yay.
I had decided the old kitchen table we were using as a computer desk simply wouldn’t cut it, so I bought one at Crate and Barrel, decided it was too big, canceled it and ran over to their cheap bretheren, CB2, where I found one I liked better for a third of the cost. SCORE.
In fact, let me just run down the sweet day I had today, after finally getting the painting monkey off my back. a) the weather could not be lovelier, warm, sunny, blue; palm trees rustling in the breeze; all the cherry trees in town bursting into frothy pink blossom a month early; attractive young men wearing minimal clothing. Nice.
b) the nice lady at a framing store I’d never been to gave me a break on matting a dumb little poster and agreed to have it ready early. c) I went back to the massive, on-going garage sale where I bought the lovely Canton china last week and found another saucer of it as well as a cool orange desk chair, for the new office. The guy was firm about $15 bucks for the chair, but threw in the saucer and sweet glass cakeplate.
I drove down to CB 2 to pick up the desk and found a parking place directly in front. For free. Let me repeat, I found a parking place, not just in downtown San Francisco, but in Union fucking Square on Sunday afternoon right where I wanted. The CB2 guy not only rolled the box out for me, he put it in the car. And then I made an illegal uturn and got the hell out.
I was in such a good mood, I stopped for ice cream in the Castro on the way home. Again, fabulous, fabulous weather; cute guys everywhere one looked, ice cream and some car playing Cee Lo Green’s Fuck You, one of my favorite new songs. I was so in the moment, happy as a duck, when I remembered I was supposed to be all grief stricken.
That’s the odd thing. Turns out life goes on, even this soon after something really terrible happens. I’m not saying I’m never unhappy, I miss R Man tremendously. The sadness that comes, though, is more like an ache, not a stabbing crippling grief. It seems I’m just not made for blind remorse. Sometimes the house seems really dark and cold, sometimes my life does, for that matter, but most of the time, I’m OK, just sad. I didn’t expect this and I’m such a coward, I have to say, I’m grateful. R Man and I had a really long, really happy life together, I would hate the last chapter of it to be a tragedy. That just wouldn’t be right.
So I ate ice cream and ogled cute boys
and came home and built my new desk. A sweet life.