Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Lessons Learned From Baseboards And Paint Chips

My home improvement projects rage on, and today I learned some interesting things from two of the jobs on my daily list of tasks.

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First, I forced myself to tackle one of my least favorite parts of a painting project: the baseboards. Whenever I paint walls, I remove the baseboards and store them in the garage to keep them safe and out of the way of flying paint. Before I put them back in place, I like to spruce them up a bit, sanding, staining and refinishing them as needed.

As usual, I was dreading this part of my project. As it always comes near the end of a big wall-painting session, I feel distracted by this messy and time-consuming task. I'm tempted to skip over it and just toss the baseboards back on the wall as is. But that would be such a let down, wouldn't it? So I force myself, just as I did today, to face this grim work.

I started by separating the really beaten up pieces from the not-so-bad bits. With the power sander, I quickly smoothed out the worst of the lot, and got everything set up for staining and finishing.

And then it happened. 

That feeling hit me, just as it always does at this point in a baseboard refinishing session.

This work isn't so bad. It's actually kinda fun and incredibly rewarding!

I forget how much I love the freshly sanded strips, pale and clean. I overlook the satisfaction I enjoy when I sort and straighten out my pile, laying the sections out in their perfect lines as they await my brush. 

And while there are some messy steps to this project, they are never as bad as I anticipate. The sanding is quick and easy, even when I am challenged by the little itty bitty pieces like this one.

Before I knew it, my work was done, and after a few hours of drying time, I had armloads of fresh, beautiful, perfect baseboards to carry up to my fresh, beautiful, perfect walls. 

What started with dread and trepidation ended up with satisfaction, and I was so glad I powered through my negativity to get the job done.

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The second job on my To-Do list for today was to settle on a color for the last unpainted bedroom. Choosing paint colors is my most favorite and excitedly anticipated part of the repainting process, and I was pumped to go explore the chips.

But when I parked myself in front of the wall full of endless options, it happened again.

A different feeling hit me, just as it always does at this point in the color-choosing process.

This job isn't always so much fun. It's actually kinda challenging and overwhelming!

I forget how difficult it can be to choose just the right hue and value among the dozens of options. I overlook the complexity of matching the subtle undertones and moods of each color in the room.

And while it's definitely a lot easier when I am choosing colors for my own satisfaction, rather than picking out the right shade for my daughters' bedroom, as I was today, the process is always more agonizing that I recall. I left the store with a big handful of blue chips, feeling that it would take hours if not days to reach a final decision.

What started with excitement ended up in confusion and flustered agitation, and I have had to shore up some extra patience and determination in order to get this decision made. 

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To recap, the job I dreaded turned out to be really fun. And the job I was most excited about left me frustrated.

What might I learn from this ironic pair of reversals?

Memories can be misleading. Enjoy them, but live in the present.. 

Hard work is its own reward.

Choice is good, but an abundance of choice can be counterproductive.

Even when it comes to the mundane process of home repair, life is most certainly full of interesting surprises.

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Lessons can be learned in the most unlikely places; here are a few that have caught my eye:


  1. All parts of painting are my least favorite. Haha! I am, however, kind of a paint chip hoarder.

    1. Painting is tedious, messy and requires a lot of boring prep work, which are three reasons I hate it. I am, however, a HUGE fan of freshly painted rooms that is the only reason why I persevere. Well, that and the free paint chips...I love them too. :)


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