They’re gone!  Quiet descends on the house and I sink gratefully into the leather living room chair that has begun over time to conform to my shape.  I have survived the first day of the painting blitz. 

Fortunately, I don’t live in a wagon, but we are having the house painted (inside) after 27 years.  I wake early, prompted not only by my natural rhythm but by the knowledge that today the painters arrive at 8 am.  I jump into my workout clothes and hustle around my bedroom, taking down the blinds and hauling them to a living room that already resembles a Salvation Army store.  The bedside table, down to its essentials of lamp and clock is next.  I strip the bed (great time to wash the linens or, less poetically, the cottons), then any remaining smaller things.

I hit the weights.  Back up to change and have some breakfast before they arrive.  The doorbell rings at 7:57, as I’m still masticating my cereal and milk.  The two brothers begin the unloading process and I begin my life on the ground floor.

Fortunately, it’s unseasonably warm so that when the smell of whatever they’re using begins to work its way downstairs, they can open the windows without blowing my monthly heating budget.  How can they work in the middle of that smell when it feels that I’m on the verge of a headache from it downstairs?  Thankfully, it gradually dissipates and I don’t hear any bodies thudding, overcome, to the floor upstairs.  While all this is going on, I’m bouncing from task to task, packing away first floor breakables, taking pictures from the wall (Why all the dust?  You mean I haven’t been regularly dusting behind the pictures???), taking things to the basement where the trick is finding somewhere to stash them while still leaving space for me to work out or do the laundry.


The painters work hard, with no discernible lunch break, and are ready to leave at 4 pm.  There have been a few “Uh-oh” moments but nothing major,  no small accomplishment in a house that was built in the early 30’s as an experimental home, a house with a metal frame that began life covered outside with brown ceramic shingles.  (One day I looked out the window to see a younger woman walking up the drive, eyeballing the house.  I opened the window and asked if I could help her, my nice way of saying “What the heck are you doing in my driveway?”   She responded that she used to live in the neighborhood and wanted to see “the haunted house.”)  All too often whoever is working says something along the lines of, “Wow, that’s unusual!”, which in cost terms,  translates directly into paying more for that job.  I was once told that the metal tiles in our half bath (also underneath the more normal tiles now in the shower) “should be in the Smithsonian”. I responded that I’d be happy to have them there if the Smithsonian would like to purchase them.   Even the backs of the stairs going to the second floor are metal.  I discovered this by chance when cleaning them one day and thinking they didn’t feel like wood.  I grabbed one of the ever-present fridge magnets and tried it on the step, where it stuck!   (Are step magnets a new market possibility?)


So far, it’s hasn’t been bad.  They listen to Christmas music and appreciate the homemade doughnuts.  They tell me they’re working as fast as they can because they know I don’t want them there forever and give me suggestions about the best way to do things.  They clean up well when they’re finished.


They’re gone!  Quiet has once again descended at the end of the second day.  Although not finished, the upstairs already looks infinitely better.  Tonight I’ll sleep again in a room without blinds, next to an armoire, dresser and trunk swathed in plastic but soon, I’ll be snoozing in a room that looks like new.  That will be worth it and I can’t wait!


  1. I’m desperate to get my house painted but not at all sure I want to go through all of this for it. Maybe I should just move 🙂
    Haunted house – well, well!

    • This is hectic because we’re doing virtually all the rooms on both floors. If we were just having part done, it wouldn’t be bad. Really it isn’t that bad at all. Much less hectic than I thought it might be. But then again, they’re still upstairs and I have the living room and kitchen to myself. It will work.

  2. yay…. a “new” house.
    in a year, you won’t even remember the “disruption”.

    We had a floors done and kitchen…. woo woo – a major disruption. It’s all worth it and it’s all good.

    Flowers for Janet…
    sorry, painters here..
    open up, steel buy-back purchase dealers

  3. Wow. Ceramic tiles on the outside of the house and metal ones in the bathroom. What were they THINKING in the early twentieth century? “Let’s just build a house out of wacky stuff and see what happens”??!? (Then again, the building’s still standing, so something must have been workable even if not better than standard construction.)

    • Since it was built by a metal company as an experimental home, I understand the metal part. It was supposed to be fire-proof, which was probably true. I’ve always said if there were a fire, the bones of the house would be standing and all our things would be burned. 🙂

  4. N Filbert says:

    we just went through this disregulation a few weeks back – whole family camping out in Holly’s studio upstairs for a week – fun…and then not 🙂 good luck

    • Since I’m the only one here, it makes life much easier in many ways, although all the moving and everything else is also up to me. I look at the moving things as part of my exercise program and the rest as upkeep on working on patience. 🙂 This, too, will pass and hopefully it will help someone buy the house.

  5. rich says:

    i love painting. i hate picking out colors. wheni bought myprovious home, i had the luxury of living somewhere else during the first few months, so i was able to go and paint every day without having to work around furniture. house was empty, didn’t have to worry about covering things – except floors.

    • Rich, that’s probably the ideal situation. If I’d known you’d loved to paint, I would have invited you to be part of the party!! Thankfully, I don’t have to do the painting. It would take forever.

      • rich says:

        i moved in august, and the new place is not painted at all except that blah beige. actually, it’s a little creamier than the usual chalkdust of a new home, but it’s not a new home, so that’s why. someone rehabbed it, and it’s a block from my kid’s school, and that was the biggest selling point. in fact, i’m about to leave now to pick her up for lunch. the hardest part was going from 4 beddrooms, office, full basement, two car garage, 2.5 baths, separate living room/family room, and 1/2 acre and squeeze it all into three beds, 1/5 bath, small basement, small garage, etc. but downsizing was necessary. only 2 people – no need for giant house and $10,000 in taxes anymore. moving cut my monthly mortgage/taxes in half.

      • Oooo, Rich, I feel your pain about downsizing!! We’re going from a 4-bedroom house with an attic, basement and lots of storage space to a 3-bedroom (third bedroom fairly small compared to the ones here), no attic and one-non-bedroom closet in the entire house!! I can tell you no woman was involved in the storage aspect of that house!! It does have a basement, which is likely to be filled with boxes, even with downsizing on my part. I can always do more once everything’s moved, too.

        But congrats on downsizing your mortgage and taxes! The day we paid off our mortgage many years ago was a day for rejoicing.

      • rich says:

        i’ll probably never pay off a mortgage because i keep moving. not intentional, but it happens. if a bedroom doesn’t have a closet, it can’t count as a bedroom. this house was originaly two good sized bedrooms but they cut on in half and made two smaller bedrooms, then added a small closet just to officially call it a bedroom on paper.

      • The bedrooms all have closets but on the first floor, the only closet is 3′ wide max and is the closet for coats. No other closets!! Who thought that was a good idea??

        We’re unusual in having been in this house for so long. But a new era is about to begin.

      • rich says:

        atta girl. i think when my youngest is ready for college, she’s a high school freshmen now, we might move to florida so she can get an 80% discount on state school tuition.

      • Huh? I live here, my son’s in college, and tell me the magic I’d have to do to get that discount?

      • Rich will have to tell you. I have no idea. Maybe your son could pretend to be an illegal?? Works in California. 🙂

      • I just checked with my wife, Debbie, and she says that Gabe, our son, is getting what is called a Bright Futures scholarship which she says amounts to around 75% of his tuition (they take the rest from my pre-paid college plan that I’ve paid for him – I rarely see what they debit) as long as he maintains his GPA at a certain level.

        I only knew that he still took out government/private loans of about $8K/year in addition to cover his other expenses, and I still paid extra curricular college assessments, car insurance, health insurance, and other costs.

        Debbie wasn’t sure how long you had to live here to be eligible.

  6. Oh I do not envy you no matter that it is running semi smooth… but as said you will be rejoining Bill soon and what an awesome goal to have. Love and hugs (((xx)))

  7. My house needs painted, but…well, insert all the excuses here> <