Monday, June 01, 2009

(Mis)Adventures in Painting

We finally got all the ceilings painted in the new house. I wanted to have all thepriming and painting on the walls done this past weekend, as well; however, that expectation was before I had ever painted a ceiling. Walls I have painted in the past. Sure, I'm a little achy and sore after painting walls, but not to the extent I was after painting ceilings. Everything hurts - neck, back, legs, feet, arms, shoulders - the works. All burned and ached after the contortions and pressure needed to paint 8' tall ceilings.

On Saturday, Jamie's friend Spencer came over and helped us paint the ceilings. Jamie and Spencer took turns painting the edges (where the walls meet the ceilings) with a 3" brush all the way around the room, while I did the roller. Both tried to use the roller, but neither was quite tall enough or had enough upper body strength the keep up the pressure needed for a smooth, consistent layer of paint. On Sunday, Jamie's friend Jackson came over and helped with more trim, and I turned the two of them loose in the whole house with my drill and a screwdriver (they took turns on using the drill) to take down all the ugly blinds on all the windows. Then they got to carefully wrap up and stack them on the workbench in the garage.

I also got to be a spacklin' queen yesterday. There were several places on the walls where previous tenants had knocked fist-sized or smaller holes in the walls and - rather than patching the holes as any sane person would - they merely placed a solid switch-plate (no hole) over said hole. When I had Jamie take down all the switchplates and electrical outlet covers in preparation for painting, we discovered the holes. So I got to learn how to patch holes. This is a useful skill to have, as I accidentally knocked a hole in the wall at the old house when putting Jamie's bed together for the first time. Now I can patch it and not lose part of my deposit because of a hole in a wall. I also spackled over the grooves in the fugly 1970s dark faux wood paneling in the breakfast nook of the kitchen, then turned both boys loose with sanding blocks and the step ladder. This way, I can paint over the ugly thing without it being too obvious that it was once paneling.

Unfortunately, we had a mishap of epic proportions yesterday, though. I was using the putty/spackling knife to scrape paint lumps and such off the walls. What I thought was a big long glob of dripped paint in the living room happened to actually be a wrinkle in the wallpaper UNDER about six layers of paint. So when I scraped it with the putty knife, it took a huge swath of wallpaper off with it. Too large a piece to just spackle over it and keep on going. In fact, it is textured wallpaper. So all the other walls in the living room have that orange peel texture, while there's a large section that is smooth where the paper and paint were removed. Luckily, it was the short wall in the living room, the one where the front door and double window are located. So I figure I can get away with just taking down the paper on that one wall, then sanding and painting over that section. Also luckily, it's coming off without me having to steam or anything. I just grab a piece and peel, and a large section just rolls right off. But still, it's frustrating that I've hit yet another roadblock that is delaying me getting the darn thing done. I still have packing here at the old house I need to do, and I'm stuck working on stupid mishaps at the new house.

Happily, though, Jamie and I are going to have some help today at the new house. Jackson and his mom and going to come over after I get off work today and help me and Jamie prime the walls. The walls are something that the younger ones can help with. I have five rollers, so there are plenty to go around. I'm hoping between the four of us we can get the whole house primed tonight.


Strangeite said...

Anna and I found the most effective way to end the infinite long list of projects that need to be accomplished in a house is to just move in.

In our current house, we spent every evening after work and every weekend working on the house before moving. Finally we got to the point where we thought it was livable, so we moved in and figured we would just continue to plug away at the projects.

Four and half years later, I still have an unpainted kitchen and kitchen counters that are "roughed" but not finished.

Suze said...

Wow, that's a lot of work. I don't suppose your new landlord is giving you a little break in the first month's rent for doing all this painting for him/her?

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

Strangeite - if I have to move into that house the way it looks now, I will kill myself. But first, I'll track down the previous tenants and kill THEM, then I'll kill myself.

Suze - yeah, I'm getting reimbursed for the paint and materials.

My boss pointed out to me that you can buy "texture in a can" for the walls. Basically, you turn a dial on top of a spray can to set how heavy you want the texture, then you apply it to the area. I'm going to go buy some on my lunch break and retextureize that section of the wall. It will be a lot less work, and a lot less chance of me inhaling lead dust. I'm glad my boss is a "Mr. Fix It" kind of person!

Becca said...

I'm thinking at this point, you should reimbursed for paint, materials, and labor. Hiring painters to do all this would easily cost your landlord a couple grand (conservative estimate). That's a few months rent.

Steph said...

You are a hero. It's hard enough to do this kind of work with several adults plugging away. I'm glad to hear your friends are helping out too.

Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

I'm not a hero; just a woman desperate to not have to stare at poo-brown walls for the next two years. :-)