It Looked So Easy on TV

After falling down an internet rabbit hole, I convinced myself to start a new hobby. I already had a clean house, well behaved kids, and tons of free time, right? (Haha! Not even close). Upcycling tired, dated furniture into modern, colorful pieces sounded appealing. How hard could it be? The videos on YouTube showed bubbly women with teeth as white as toilet bowls painting tables in designer clothes. That could be me!

An old desk of mine would be my first project. Dark, brown, and neglected, I had visions of distressed pine and dove grey legs. Once again, my enthusiasm was bigger than my skillset. My first pass with the orbital sander sent it rocketing across the garage with remarkable speed. Whoops. Thankfully, it wasn’t broken, and I learned to keep BOTH hands on the machine whilst operating. Secondly, I learned to wear a mask, since a powder-fine fog of wood particles settled comfortably in my lungs. Third, don’t wear nice clothes. Seriously. That same fog dusted my entire body, turning me into a human-sized sugar cookie. Why didn’t they show THAT on YouTube??

I spent four nights sanding; four nights of dust, mess, and noise. By the time I was done, my passion had waned. Maybe I could just stuff the desk into the storage room? Chop it up for firewood? Sigh. No, I had to finish. I had to set a good example for the kids; when you start a project, you finish it, right? Right. The next step was wiping the dust off (no problem) and cleaning the piece (doable). FINALLY, I was ready to start painting! Except I had no supplies! By the time I left the dollar store with a bag full of rollers, paint trays, and drop cloths, the hardware store was closed. I swallowed my rage and drove home in defeat. Five days of swim class, play dates, and groceries flew by until I could claw out some more free time. Nothing would stop me now! I brushed on a light gray color, and the piece began to take shape. I was excited again! Until I realized that, unlike those deceitful internet videos, one coat of paint wasn’t enough. The desk needed more. I waited overnight, painted again, then repeated the process. It took three days and three coats until the paint was juuuuuuust right. Good thing I’m such a calm and patient person (I’m not).

The desk turned out wonderfully! Crystal knobs with silver details compliment the cloudy grey paint. The desktop is driftwood colored, giving the whole piece a beachy vibe. I’m proud of myself for following through, since I’m prone to giving up in defeat/frustration/impatience. The project took 18 days from start to finish, much longer than those clickbaity internet videos. Would I ever take on another project like this? Possibly – now that I know how much work is involved. Those smiling women in the videos are all liars – their clothes are too clean for them to have done all the work!