Stuck in the Middle With You

23 Jan

So this is what I hate about home projects: the middle part. There is the flurry of excitement in the planning phase, the determination of supply gathering, the hopefulness of the first step in the process. And then there is the dreaded middle. That space where you sit equidistant from the beginning and the end. That endless road ahead of you when it feels like you are a long way into the process and a long way from the finish line. (Brace yourself for some melodrama here.)

And that’s were we are with the kitchen. In the middle. The never-ending cabinet painting process is over. Today, literally in the middle of a single project, painting the kitchen I wanted to throw in the towel. It seems everything…and I mean everything…takes longer than I expect. I thought we’d knock this out in a few hours. Well, given the holes in the wall we needed to patch, the second coat we need to do on the cutting in and whatever else got in the way, we are about four hours in and not finished.  We are at this place where the house looks like a mess, the painting project is almost finished but I know that we still have the backsplash and the floor and it feels like this goes on and on and on. (Yes, I am a 40 year old having a total tantrum right now. Better to read about it than to see it!)

As we are getting started. Backwards cap on means we are getting down to business. (No, not THAT kind of business time!)

We removed some old phone jacks and had to patch the walls. Learning to do this was new for me.  You buy these wall patches at your hardware store (Home Depot $3.97) and attach them over the hole. Then you take some mud (yes, it’s called mud) and cover the patch with it, smoothing it out. You let it dry for two hours and sand it flat with fine grit sandpaper (maybe like 200). Then guess what? You do it again. Mud. Dry for two more hours. Sand. (Yeah, so that’s four hours waiting for these patches to dry.) We painted around them, but right now they are still drying and we are still far from the finish line.

The other thing that sucks (as long as we are on the topic of what sucks) is texture on your walls because now whatever we patched won’t match. Also texture on your walls makes for an awful time trying to cut in a straight line anywhere. Do not texture your walls, people.

And now, everything in the kitchen and house is just a mess. And as I was painting and thinking of throwing in th towel, I found myself asking that question I always ask when I am in this position: If I had all the money in the world, would I be doing this? Because I know, there are people who really love doing this kind of work. But, you know what? I don’t. I don’t love the work. I do love the sense of accomplishment and ownership I get from the completed project, but then the project actually has to be completed. I love looking at the finished product and know that we did that. And I know that it’s a marathon and not a sprint and I need to pace myself. And of course, one feels just the tiniest bit virtuous about not having hired someone and paid more than necessary. Okay, maybe I really do like it?

Nah. Not really. Not today, anyway.

(Do you get the DIY blues? Tell me how you deal with it.  Give a girl some advice!)


11 Responses to “Stuck in the Middle With You”

  1. agoodehouse April 15, 2012 at 9:06 am #

    Oh goodness… DO I FEEL YOUR PAIN! Going on our 3rd year of renovating a mid-century modern and doing it all ourselves. It’s so true. Nothing goes as planned and it always takes longer than you expect. I’m working on my bedroom and I thought I’d be done by the end of March…. ummmm, WRONG.. probably more like the end of May. Hang in there because once it’s done it’s so worth it. And yes, I do texture walls so holler if you need any tips! Love your house, blog, and your interest in mcm. So fun.

    • Brandy April 15, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

      Hi Stacey…

      Thanks so much for your comment. I just took a look at your blog and it is wonderfully inspirational. It says you are in Southeast Texas. Where exactly? I grew up in Corpus Christi and my family is all still there. I find it interesting that so many of the people who are into MCM design are in Texas. Never would have guessed.


      • agoodehouse April 15, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

        We are in Beaumont…about 90 miles from Houston. Corpus Christi… wow… I lived in Harlingen for a little over a year when I was very young. Still remember a lot about the area, though. Spent lots of time on Padre Island. Fun days. Thanks for looking at the blog… I’m happy to find someone else so in to MCModern. It’s been our passion for a long time.

  2. dede January 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Oh my god we are doing our place too and yes at first fun- especially finding and salvaging cool materials – now I live in a huge mess- piles everywhere- sketches- -note…swatches.. at least the walls are painted but now we are making and installing these cool shelves with built in lighting (that we made).. Oh my god– so much trial and error.. but we are saving a ton of $$- and the place will look amazing.. when we finish in 2050 : )

    • Brandy January 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

      Oh wow! Would love to see your shelves when you are done. Please send a photo!

      Thanks for commenting.

  3. Brett (husband) January 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Plus….she doesn’t really like the music I put on the stereo, we compromised on the Stones, but not my favorite….I always love Harvey Danger but I’m a bit more punk rock…you know, she’s a little bit rock and roll and I little bit punk rock, but we make it work 🙂 Also, quick addition, instead of 220 grit sandpaper buy yourself a drywall sanding block type thing, they are square, look like a sponge and are a slighter finer grit I believe….you could sand all that “mud” off entirely in minutes with 220.
    I love you brandy!

    • Brandy January 24, 2012 at 10:39 am #

      Very funny, honey. Harvey Danger is so NOT punk rock. Sheesh. And maybe YOU could sand it off with your 220 sandpaper.


  4. Dana@Mid2Mod January 23, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    I really like the idea of doing everything myself, but I always find, like you, that there are unexpected problems that make the process take longer than expected, and I start to get weary of the reality of DIY.

    Basically, I’m not a very patient person, and unless I’m on a road trip, the old admonition about the journey being more important than the destination is lost on me. I wish I had a solution for you, but I always have to slog through the middle too.

    • Brandy January 23, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      The solution is winning the lottery! Kidding!

  5. matthew January 23, 2012 at 6:31 am #

    so you can either pay someone else to do it, make it more fun, or change your attitude. first, there are people you could hire who would not charge more than necessary. look at this shit economy. I bet they’re on Craigslist. I also heard firemen are often tapped as handymen. second, get your stereo configured and blast all your favorite records while you work. third, go look at another part of the house that took you forever (or a daughter you’ve painstakingly raised) and really feel that fulfillment, to remind you it was worth it.

    • Brandy January 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm #

      You’re totally right and I think it needs to come in the form of an attitude adjustment. I mean, I need to get over myself and realize this is all just bourgeois suffering right? Poor me. We’re doing the stereo thing, but even then. I think it’s my impatience. And my lack of attention to detail. I have an illusion that when I pay someone else to do it, it’s better quality. Like clothes. You don’t want to see me in a homemade dress, I promise you.


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