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Why didn’t anyone warn me?

by Karen on February 27, 2012

Our original plan was to start painting in mid-March, but that was when our furniture was scheduled for a late March delivery. Last week, I received a surprise phone call from Pottery Barn — our furniture was coming early! I really wanted the living room painted before the furniture arrived, but Tony had a stack of essays from three classes to grade, so it wasn’t a good weekend for him to devote to painting. “How hard can it be?” I said. I decided to go for it and get started, even if it meant I’d be doing a lot of it by myself. Big mistake.

We chose a pale blue for the living room and hallway, so I figured it would make sense to do both at the same time. Since I knew painting was going to be harder with a toddler running all over the place, I thought I’d take it “easy” and take a whole weekend to do each room. Most of our work was done after Judah was in bed and late into the night. Tony painted large walls with the roller while I worked on detailing and trim. During the day, Tony graded papers while watching Judah, and I taped, primed, and painted the hallway by myself.

After taping everything and applying the first coat (primer tinted to 25% the shade of the final coat), I didn’t get to bed until 3:30 on Saturday morning. I love our huge living room, but GAH. Painting it took FOR.EV.ER.

I was surprised at how well the primer covered the dark orange color on the walls. We bought a fancy “high-hiding” primer, because I was hoping to avoid a second coat of paint, which was more expensive than even the fancier primer. Despite everyone and their brother warning me that I shouldn’t even bother trying to paint with anything but Sherwin Williams paint, we went with Valspar primer and paint from Lowe’s. I was happy with its coverage, and I really don’t believe that fancypants Sherwin Williams could have done much better on the dark orange, only we would have paid a lot more.

We used this contraption at the recommendation of my parents. We loved it for the first coat. After disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling it, though, it was more hassle than help. Maybe I broke something when I took it apart, but the stupid thing was falling apart as I tried to paint with it and splattering paint EVERYWHERE. We’ll probably try an ordinary roller and tray when we paint the rest of the house.

A hard lesson learned: even if you have laminate floors, invest in drop cloths. I’m going to be scraping tiny splatters off my floors for weeks. Ugh.

Another piece of advice: don’t forget to factor in prep time and the expense for supplies. We went through almost three rolls of painter’s tape to prepare the room, and it took over 2 hours. I didn’t add up the cost of just the supplies, but after buying the roller, a nice trim brush, tape, replacement rollers, and plaster patch, it added to our total substantially.

Tony and I pride ourselves on our ability to work through stressful situations as a team without taking out stress on one another. All of that went out the door this weekend. During my ugliest moments, I’m pretty sure I would have dunked his head in a bucket of paint if I thought it would fit. It wasn’t his fault, but I was just done, and all I could think about was the fact that we still had another coat, and three rooms to paint after that.

In the end, I’m happy with the color. It probably needs another coat, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it this weekend. I may try to go over a few visible streaks with a brush instead of taking out the roller again. Or I may go back over it in a few weeks if it continues to bother me. Tony swears he doesn’t think it needs another coat. I think he’s just afraid I’m going to make him paint it again. I’ll share some after pictures after our furniture arrives on Wednesday.

Painting is hard, grueling, stressful work. Much harder than I thought it would be. I was feeling guilty for derailing my diet by eating pizza for dinner Friday night, and then I Google searched the number of calories burned while painting — over 300 an hour. I spent every waking hour painting this weekend, so I’m sure I burned off the extra calories at LEAST.

One room and hall done — three more rooms to go. I good news is, the remaining rooms are MUCH smaller with less surface to cover and more detailing, which isn’t as exhausting or messy as rolling. I still don’t know how I’ll survive it.

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