Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Knotty Pine Situation

I own a house that was built in 1956, and which was remodeled in a couple of places, very haphazardly.  Even being the non-handy person that I am, I realized several years ago that my cookie-cutter little house had been added onto from the same floor plan as several others on my street.  Hey, yay for me, mine has 1080 square feet and the others don't.  I have a larger bedroom, an extra half-bath, and a much larger living room.  

When the additions were made, a load-bearing front wall was removed without anything structural to take the weight added, so that addition was cracking away from the rest of the house, as evident in a rapidly expanding ceiling crack.  A structural engineer was brought in and my father and brother added in some steel beam supports.  Fixed and safe now.  

There were other moronic "improvements" I've had to correct as well, such as the wallpaper border that was superglued directly to primed-only Sheetrock and taped seams that were never properly mudded over and smoothed.  *sigh*. Oh yeah, I'm still correcting problems 12 years later. It took two weeks just to sand the border off and smooth over all of the rough places before I could sponge-paint those walls, which actually went super-fast, because I'm a decorative painter.  Utilitarian wall painting is admittedly dull, but I've been known to create small murals and textures when the mood strikes me.  

The kitchen is knotty pine. Yuck.  After that many decades, the varnish has turned everything a dark orange that makes the room very depressing and dark to work in.  My mood is very much influenced by color, so the kitchen is a dreary place I find hard to work in.  (Other than the poor layout of the room, that is.  It's too bad I don't know any carpenters to hire to remodel it.) A few years ago I attempted to paint my kitchen.  Unfortunately, it didn't go well and I didn't finish the job.  The butter yellow paint I chose turned out to not be so cheery and clean looking after all.  I had trouble prepping the walls due to the fumes of the shellac-based sealer I had to use.  Some of it is primed.  Some is painted yellow.  It's all pretty hideous.  

But you know what?  It's my house.  I own it.  I'm not renting an apartment where I have no control over the utilities or any other decisions in the physical building. I don't have to worry about people on the other side of my wall making noise when I'm trying to sleep.  I have a yard with flowers, trees, and vegetables growing.  It's mine and I'm not living by someone else's grace. I have a lot of freedom in my  home and I don't have to struggle to pay my bills.

I have about two weeks of vacation time left because I'm planning to volunteer for a week at a conference to help some friends. School starts very early here.  It's okay.  It's not like anyone was trying to spend summertime with me anyway.  

I think I'll give repainting the kitchen another try.  I'll have to buy a special drill bit to remove some of the strange hex screws that more or less permanently attach unwanted hardware to my walls. And while I'm at it, I may change out the failing hardware on my cabinets.  It's pretty damn ugly and old-fashioned anyway.  I realize that it's a stretch to attempt modernization of my house past the 1980s but hey, it's better than 1956.  One of these days I may even replace the water heater.  I'm tired of that clanking old thing that won't provide enough hot water for one bath.  I wish I knew how to bleed it.  

So... Painting the kitchen will be a challenge because I won't be able to move the washer, dryer, or refrigerator on my own and there is no one gentleman enough to help me.  (That's kind of funny because my own family was prone to male children.  My sister and I are the only females and all the rest were sons.) They're all busy, though.  I know not to ask.  It's one of those hideous requests you hope your old-maid aunt / sister / daughter never makes, the moving of big furniture and painting. Believe me, I understand, because I've helped everyone else with their furniture moving and painting already.  :-/ 

Still, a lovely coat of fresh white paint would brighten the room, even if it does nothing for my heart.  (Still getting the cold shoulder, and now I realize there wasn't a good reason for it after all.)

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