A Simple Fix

It was supposed to be a quick, five-minute project. Our bathroom wall had a small gouge in it, so my husband Jeremy filled it in with spackle. A splash of paint would’ve finished the job; but life is never straightforward. Instead of a sedate train trip through a peaceful valley, life is a bee-filled roller coaster ride through acid-covered thornbushes. Oh, and the roller coaster is on fire. Turns out the cans of leftover paint in our garage had every colour except sage green, so the white blotch festered on the bathroom wall for months. Eventually, because I felt that our lives weren’t chaotic enough, we decided to fix the problem.

“Why don’t we hang a towel rack there?” I suggested. Sure, the towel would dangle in your lap when you used the toilet, but the wall would be covered! “Or we could put a sticker over it…. How do you feel about sparkly unicorns?” Jeremy gave me the stink eye, even after I suggested multiple stickers to create a “theme”. Finally, we realized there was nothing for it: we had to paint the bathroom.

I had fun the last time I painted. I was twelve and decided that my bedroom should be purple. Looking back, I realize that it seemed like fun because my dad moved all my heavy furniture out of the way, and I did absolutely zero prep work. I also had no idea how to paint properly, so my ceiling ended up pockmarked with lilac splotches, and, since I didn’t know about painter’s tape, my windowsill, closet door, and curtain rod all ended up equally besmirched. The blue carpet had a lovely, hard, crunchy line of paint all around its perimeter. My mother took one look at the finished product, raised her eyebrows, and walked out without a word. I’m willing to take half the blame for this failure, because, honestly, it looked like I used a hockey stick to paint while I was blindfolded and drunk. But on the other hand, who lets a twelve-year-old run wild with a gallon of lavender paint? My parents could’ve at least bought some drop cloths!

With that success in mind, I tackled the bathroom enthusiastically. It wasn’t long until I realized, once again, that adulthood is cripplingly tedious. After clearing out my toiletries, it became clear that even preparing to paint is annoying. The shower, countertop, and baseboards all had to have painters tape applied, but before that could be done, everything had to be dusted. The shocking amount of hair everywhere had to be vacuumed, the mirror had to be removed, and alllll the gouges in all the walls were spackled, sanded, and wiped. Of course, all this was done after the kids were in bed, when Jeremy and I felt super energetic. The first coat of white primer was applied, then the second, then the third. Finally, after eight days of work, we were ready for the actual paint.

“You know,” I said to Jeremy, “since we’re painting, we should update the towel rack. And the toilet paper holder.” “If you do that,” Jeremy replied, “you have to switch out the faucet, since all the fixtures match.” Paint roller in hand, I mused “well if we do that, we might as well update the sink, too. And the light fixture in here is ugly.” And that’s how a simple, five-minute job turned into a complete bathroom renovation. Every night since then has involved painting, hammering, measuring, and swearing.

Like a Volkswagen beetle struggling up a hill, the project is slowly, slowly coming together. The upstairs bathroom is a rat’s nest of debris, so this family of four is sharing the downstairs toilet. Don’t ask me how we shared one bathroom for so long in our old condo, because every morning now is a tangle of limbs, hairspray, empty toilet paper rolls, and yelling. Even the baby gets in on the action, insisting he needs to pee and then happily sitting on the potty for twenty minutes while chaos explodes. Thank goodness the dog doesn’t need the toilet, too! There’s an end in sight, though, and the lesson I’ve learned from weeks of hard work and paint-smeared fingers? Prep your surfaces, protect your carpets, and I’m never painting again!