It’s time to update my eleven-year-old daughter’s room from little girl pink. We start in earnest by purchasing a white lacquer bed, and rug on Overstock. Her new bedding dictates the color scheme; gray, white, and Aquarius blue (in the 80’s we called it teal).
It’s starting to take shape, slowly, very slowly. My daughter points out that when her friend Riley decided to update her room the project was initiated and complete in a week. “Well honey, you know that’s not how I operate. Jamie has a full-time job, so she gets things done faster and more efficiently than I do.”
Next we tackle the hodge-podge of brown-varnished furniture. We show my husband photos of the Pottery Barn Teen dresser and bedside tables Camila picked out.
“That’s nice dear, but I’m not sure why you’re showing me this. Her current furniture is perfectly fine.”
I know better than to try and convince him otherwise. “Well, Camila, I have no choice, Mumsy’s going to paint your furniture white.” Camila looks at me as if I said I was planning to climb Everest.
“What? You are going to paint my furniture?”
“Yes, of course, you know, DIY. It’s easy.”
“Mom, up until very recently you didn’t know what DIY meant. I think it may be harder than you think.”
Determined, I head to Five Corner’s Hardware. I consult with Faye about my project. She provides expert advice, and loads me up with all the necessary supplies. I ready our deck off the main room, transforming it into “my workshop”.
One of my best selfies
In full regalia; safety goggles, respirator, pink rubber gloves, and a do-rag for just the right Rosie-the-Riveter-meets-Tupac-effect, I set to work. Sanding away, brown dust flying, sweat beading on my brow. I begin to feel alive, my forearms fatiguing, my back aching.
I start the first layer of white paint. The drawers take on a slightly pinkish hue. Perhaps I didn’t wipe them down enough? Now to the bedside table; the paint mysteriously does not adhere. I’m undaunted.
My husband comes home that night. “What the heck happened to our porch?”
“That’s my workshop. I’m painting Camila’s bedroom furniture to match her new bed.”
“What? Why? Do you really think that’s a good idea?”
“Of course, you know, DIY — Do It Yourself. I’m saving you so much money. I could’ve gone out and bought all new furnishings. I’m so resourceful, plus, I’m reusing and recycling, saving the environment. It’s going to look great!”
“How can you be saving me money? I had no intention of buying her new furniture. Her dresser and tables looked just fine before. And when am I getting my deck back (AKA: Sacred Sanctuary)”?
I sigh; there is no point in explaining. His brain can’t possibly comprehend why an eleven-year-old girl wants matching white bedroom furniture.
The next day the paint is still not adhering to the bedside tables. The dresser drawers appear to be white when I brush on paint, but dry in a distinctly pinkish hue. It’s back to the hardware store, leaving with a chemical to strip off the stubborn varnish. I slather on the gelatinous paint remover. The fumes make me light-headed. So much for saving the environment…
I work like a madman, possessed. “DIY or Die, DIY or Die!” The words running through my brain in a circular motion like a hamster on a habitrail. I glance at my watch. Oh crumb, time to get the kids from school. But I can’t stop. Just one more coat of paint on the drawers, a few more scrapes with my scraper. I’m officially late. I run out of the house, my hands, jeans, and boots, splattered in white paint and a disturbing brown goop.
Days turn into weeks. Seven trips to the hardware store, a deck destroyed, two pairs of shoes and jeans ruined. My family continues to discourage, but nothing breaks my DIY spirit. Maybe I need to buy a blow torch? Perhaps I can fashion a pulley system to the roof-line of the deck and lift the furniture into a vat of paint, submerging it. I keep expecting “Pinterest worthy” furniture to emerge from the rubble, like Pygmalion’s statue from the stone.
I continue down the rat hole. My family starts planning my intervention. Fortunately my husband and I have a dinner scheduled with friends at a delicious restaurant. It’s been on the books for months. I reluctantly shower and make myself presentable. I am relieved for the dim lighting in the room. Hopefully no one will notice my stained hands and fingernails.
I mention my DIY project during cocktail hour, expecting a chorus of DIY horror stories. This will be a cathartic time to commiserate.
“When I updated my daughter’s room, I found a guy to shellac her furniture white. It looks amazing and he only charged me $200”, Mandy pipes up.
“Why not just take it to the local auto body repair shop?” suggests another of my pals who’s in the know. “They can spray it down for you in seconds. And think about it. It’s car paint; practically bullet proof.”
I go from sipping my wine to taking large gulps, as I feel my entire reality shifting. Everything I’ve known and believed in for weeks has been a lie. I’m a fool. I drink my dinner.
The next morning I wake up, my mouth is gummy, my head pounding. I see a note I scrawled for myself the night before on my nightstand. It’s in lip liner. “Call Werner’s Crash Shop”. Fortunately I have a poor enough driving record to have a few friends at Werner’s. I talk to Jenna, “Oh yah, just bring your furniture down. Victor can spray it in between jobs.”
I throw pride aside and ask my husband to help me load my Jeep. The dresser and two bedside tables just barely fit. I drop them off first thing Monday morning. P.T.G.I.D. Pay To Get It Done!