I have been staring at a particular wall in our house every time I pass it. Why, you ask? Because I spent part of an afternoon painting that wall!
Previously, I hated that very wall. It was a paneled “accent” wall that did anything but. It was kinda off white with burgundy and tiny designs. Yuck!
For some reason, I have tolerated it the entire time we have lived in this house, sixteen years now. Once the pandemic hit and the world started with the daily Zoom calls, I had to face facts: I could no longer bear that wall behind me on calls.
Side note: if you’re like me and you’re not a fan of the phone, try adding on video. So. Much. Worse. Why, world, why? I’ve grown accustomed to it, but at first…
I have had “paint the dining room wall” on my list now for months. I kept moving it forward. I put “choose a paint the wall or pay” date on my calendar. What I meant was if I didn’t paint it by the date, I would hire our neighbor (a professional house painter) to paint it. But I’m frugal, and I like to do things on my own schedule.
Still, I couldn’t seem to get that wall painted.
The week came, and I chose a date, because I try to follow my calendar. It’s how I get things done even when they are things I don’t enjoy. Especially when they are things I don’t enjoy. (Never underestimate the power of crossing items off a list.)
Reader, I’m sorry to report that the appointed day came and went and I DID NOT paint the wall. Sigh.
So I put on the calendar “PAINT YOUR DAMNED WALL.”
I tried focusing on the new message center I’ll be adding to it, and how I will be able to put my two prints of Victorine in that spot, and how I won’t have to wrinkle my nose every time I passed the wall, but for some reason, I couldn’t make it happen.
Except when I told the manager of the cafe I often work out of that I likely wouldn’t see her the next day because I was going to make myself stay home and paint, she commiserated with me, having a similar project she has been putting off herself.
When I explained to her what was holding me back, it no longer seemed so difficult. So what that I had to move a few things, find the paint and painting supplies? And as for not wanting to make a mess, hadn’t I been saving those annoying free newspapers they send every week (The very paper at which I once worked! I was halfway there.) for months? So what that I couldn’t immediately lay my hands on the painter’s tape. Couldn’t I simply buy more if I needed to? (I found it, btw.)
Not that I started it on Friday after all. But I did start it (and finish it!) on Saturday.
I did it in stages, another trick that works for me. I stripped the artwork off the wall. I shifted my guitar from its spot by the wall (Yes, I play. Rarely, but I do a tiny bit.). Barry helped me move the furniture.
I located the roller refills, the paintbrushes.
After brunch last Saturday, after Barry and I had spent a fun half hour buying Christmas decorations, after we took a gorgeous fall drive (and I told him to get me home while the caffeine from brunch still had me energized enough to dive in), I rounded up the last of the supplies, put in my earbuds, and closeted him in his music room (because it’s just off the dining room) with instructions to knock and be sure I’d heard him before he exited the room so I wouldn’t accidentally paint him!)
Barry was in his music room for a particular reason: we are going to be part of an opera workshop in February. I’m not sure how much more we’re allowed to say about it yet, but I am so excited to be performing with him. The opera he was in last year was on PBS recently. I’m always so proud of his performances.
So he was learning his music, pounding out notes on the piano while I was listening to The Book Review Podcast by the New York times. (I inevitably don’t get to it until Saturday afternoon.)
I took the project step by step, which is generally the best way to take projects, especially when you’re like me and randomly suffer from anxiety over nothing and everything. I taped the trim. I stirred the paint, did a bad job of it, called Barry in to look at it because I wondered if I’d fetched the wrong can of paint. He stirred it better than I had (oops) and then it was fine. Go figure. (Has a Tom Sawyer and the fence vibe to it, doesn’t it? I promise that wasn’t my intention, but it worked out that way.)
Then I just did it. I just started painting. It didn’t even take very long.
Afterwards, I browsed Etsy for new outlet covers, laughed to see that the ones I wanted cost almost $20 each, and promptly watched a YouTube video on how to decoupage some myself. Now I’m having all kinds of fun deciding what paper to use. (I kinda already know — I’m probably going to use my vintage art postcard collection. I can’t wait to dive in!)
My point is, we all have an unpainted wall. Whatever yours is, I encourage you to paint it. This weekend. After all, now I get to pass mine every day and admire it. I’m going to have a wall behind me on Zoom calls that prettily displays things dear to me. That means a lot.
So go paint your damned wall. Bonus points if you come back here and tell me what yours was. I’ll be here, rooting for you. As always.