We got on with some painting at the weekend. Not the filling a blank canvas type – instead, creating the blank canvas itself.
When we moved in, we were desperate to put our stamp on a place of our own. Five years of marriage: renting, saving, waiting for enough job stability to start a mortgage.
So we painted the place ourselves. We soon learned we weren’t that great at DIY; that where it mattered, it was better (for us) to pay someone who could do a decent paint job.
But this room doesn’t need a fancy finish. In fact, it’s the only room that’s not been redone since we moved in. Time to freshen it up.
When we moved in, every room was a different colour. There were stencils all the way up the stairs; small stencils above the handrail.
I knew they had probably taken a long time to do. I also knew, very quickly, that they would likely not last the first weekend we were in the place.
Both of us were in on the painting, this last weekend. Dan on the rollering – broad brush stroke type stuff. Me on the taping up the woodwork; painting the edges by skirting boards, and so on.
(Pretty much our usual styles of operating: big picture vs details. Good team work for painting; for living, too.)
We stuck on a whole range of music to help us through the day. A proper painter would have their radio; a preferred radio station, and would get on with it a whole lot faster too.
We jumped around, in terms of choosing music. If it was reasonably high energy, that was enough. We took newspaper reading breaks, too, when we’d had enough of one circuit of the room.
(Sugar soaping: tick. Remembering that you then need to wash off the sugar soap: not so much. A further circuit of the room for that.)
When we moved in, we pulled in some painting favours. We’d helped other friends paint their places, at least a bit; we figured we could ask for some help.
It speeded up turning the yellow room white. The big mauve room: that took at least three coats to get it to white. (I know why our downstairs neighbour sighs when it’s time to paint their ‘big room’ again. It takes a long time.)
We had begged a different set of favours this time round: grandparent favours so that it was just the two of us to get on with the painting. We stepped back in time, just a little bit: just the two of us, back painting this room.
We got faster as we went on. By the time we’d finished the second coat of paint, we’d got it down to an hour to go round the whole room. (The gloss work is still to do. We took the decision to leave the ceiling as is.)
When we moved in, I remember us hosting our first meal with friends. A big pot of chilli, picnic style, sitting on the laminate floor of the attic (the one room that didn’t need painting, and so wasn’t in upheaval).
This time round, we went for calorie distribution between the two of us. Cooked lunch; takeaway meal for later, once we were tired and unlikely to want to cook. (We were.
We didn’t. We still wanted to eat though. Good move.)
When we moved in, we were both 30. There are some ways of going back in time, and repeating an earlier experience is one of them.
We can’t go back to 30. But actually, we don’t need to.