when my sisters & i were kids, we were expected to do daily chores before our parents got home from work. i was an expert at finding ways to cut corners to make it look like i had done them correctly when in fact, i’d probably wasted more time trying to get away with a lie. the goal of tricking my mom became so serious that i once raked the shag carpet in our den in one direction to make it look like i had vacuumed. little jana was a little shit. i’m going to continue to blame my dad for those deceptive traits.
my older sister, mallory & me outside our family home in 1995
“as long as it looks okay, it is okay” could’ve been our family’s theme song. i was raised in a house poor, working class family that was exceptional at making sure we were perceived a certain way. we lived in a nice, suburban neighborhood in the nice part of town in a nice 1978, 2400 sq ft ranch; well outside of our means. when your income goes to making sure that that suburban roof stays above your head & food gets put on the table, you simply can’t afford to properly keep up with the maintenance of that dwelling. you do what you have to do to give the appearance that things are good. you cut corners. you paint over rot instead of replacing it. you cover the termites. you learn that fresh paint can make anything look better. this is not a slight towards my parents. they did what they thought was right at the time to make sure their kids were given a better life than they were & i’m thankful for that.
unfortunately, i unknowingly kept that theme with me through adulthood. i bought a house i couldn’t really afford (the mortgage yes, but not the maintenance of an old home) & got into the mindset of, “just make it appear that everything is okay”. do what you have to do, right?
this week i set a goal for myself to repaint the dogs’ room & swap it for our bedroom. our current room is the hottest room in the house & it’s 112 degrees outside so we’ve been sleeping in hell. ryan is traveling for work this week so it was perfect timing to surprise him. only, if i’m going to swap the furniture, i should probably take this time to mark some things off my long to-do list & slap some paint on the walls too. at minimum i think i should paint what will be our bedroom (currently the dogs’ room) because i’m pretty sure my dogs don’t give a shit what color their room is, but i do.
this week i decided to grow up, break the cycle & do things the right way, even if it really sucks.
i got the room cleaned out while hank followed me around as close as he could get because where the fuck is dad? i spent a lot of time telling hank to move while i shuffled around workout equipment & crates. i did manage to get the baseboards along the two walls shown above, as well as both doors trim, sanded. i decided i’m not going to paint the doors right now. i think it will be easier to take them off the hinges to prep & paint them when it’s a little bit cooler outside.
please take note of what our floors actually look like. this room is probably the worst of it, at least.
this wasn’t exactly my plan. my plan was to finish giving everything a light sanding & get the walls primed. the problem is that a piece of chipped paint on the window sill was taunting me & before i knew it, i’d spent 3.5 hours scraping paint & had very little show for it. i call this the giving-myself-lead-poisoning phase. who needs safety, right?
i started to regret my decision to go so hard on the windows because i really just wanted to have a pretty room when ryan came home but then i kicked myself in the ass for trying to take a shortcut again. when it comes down to it, i know it won’t be worth it in the long run if i don’t take the time to do it right. so removing that paint i go. i even got on the internet to learn more about old windows & how to restore them/make them more energy-efficient. thanks to daniel, i can’t fathom replacing them anymore because all i can do is hear him yell about the monsters that get rid of original windows.
scrape, scrape, scrape, scrape, scrape. 3.5 more hours & i am so sick of how long it’s taking even though it’s so satisfying to do. i actually kind of enjoy it but at this rate, it’ll take me a month to get these windows scraped. time for plan b. try paint stripping gel again. i remembered hating using it on our back door but apparently i’d already forgotten just how much i hated it. i applied a coat of gel to all un-scraped areas & then finished sanding the detail on the trim of the baseboards by hand.
i wasted an hour trying to scrape the trim that had gel on it. barely anything budged. i immediately regretted my decision to apply it but there’s nothing i can do now. i decide not to mess with the windows right now & only focus on the moulding. i’ll tackle the windows in a couple of months when it’s time to restore them & replace the broken sash chains. i got the remaining baseboards sanded & applied another extremely thick coat of gel on the painted mouldings. i needed to see progress so i cut in around the entire room with primer. i was hoping to get all of the walls primed but you know, i work 8-5 so my time is limited.
today is day 5; the final day. the day when my husband comes home & sees our new beautiful rooms & all my hard work & then weeps with gratitude. the rooms are beautiful, white & fully put back together. i even managed to start on the closets! and then i wake up & realize that i’m a failure & it’s all a lie. instead, ryan gets to come home to our dogs living in the middle of the living room (as well as everything else that came out of that room), dishes in the sink, dust covering everything & me hyperventilating in the corner from the anxiety of it all.
this is the second cycle of me & projects. i get really motivated, go all in, hit a wall of dread & anxiety at 50% complete & then spend weeks wallowing in my despair that it’s never going to be over.