I am flagging. The enthusiasm with which I approached the renovation of the bedroom has been knocked off of me by the reality of my situation and I have a new life goal. I would like to earn enough money in my life that I never, ever have to paint another ceiling. Ever. It was suggested to me last night that buying less yarn in my life would make this possible sooner, and so horrific was the painting of the ceiling that I am considering it as an option, which says a lot about the despair it caused me.


We have high ceilings, and in the bedroom a previous owner of the house chose to whack acoustic tile up there to cover damaged plaster. (I briefly toyed with the idea of taking it off and slapping 1/4 ” drywall up, which is really the right thing to do there, but came fortunately to my senses before I found myself seriously in the weeds, standing in an even more trashed bedroom with a spackle knife, 4 sheets of drywall and a drill, trying to put the shards of my broken life back together. Narrow miss.) I wasn’t even sure that the bedroom ceiling technically needed painting, but my friend Linda pointed out that it’s probably the one ceiling you actually look at, and my brother Ian asked how I would feel if I finished this whole room and lay in bed staring up at it thinking “Damn. I can’t believe I wimped out on the ceiling.” Dude brought me over his big tub of paint, I carefully covered the new floor (one coat of polyurathane on it) and just did the thing. No half measures…right?

As soon as I hoisted the roller over my head I regretted it. I’m only 5 foot tall, and I am not tremendously strong. My shoulders immediately lodged a complaint. My biceps (such as they are) began to burn. My neck ached from looking up…paint fell in my hair. I would have stopped, I really would, but it turns out that the ceiling really needed painting.


Do you see that? I swear to you, up until the moment that roller touched the surface I would have sworn on a stack of whatever you hold holy that that ceiling was white. Totally. As grossed out as I am that my once white ceiling had, at some point in the last 20 years become “taupe” I was at least relieved that I was killing myself to make a real difference. (I would have stopped if it wouldn’t have been so obvious. ) I did two coats, and I may have shed a few desperate tears through the last one.

Ceiling done (praise wool and never again) I cleaned up the dropcloths and the paint and the roller and the brush and the pan, (is is just me or is the *&^%ing cleanup on these things that’s the real pig? I could stand the work, but scrubbing this crap over and over is soul-sucking) and got on the floor to sand the first coat of polyurathane. (To answer a question from yesterday, it’s the water based one and dries in 3 hours. Much less toxic and smelly than it’s old fashioned relative.)

The first coat apparently raises the grain (which is some sort of woodworking term for “this is going to be awful”) and you have to sand it back smooth again before you put on the other coats.


Again, this process was something that sucked so hard that I would have been furious if it hadn’t turned out to make such a big and noble difference. Ian convinced me to do it properly, down on my hands and knees so that I could sand with one hand and use the other hand to feel the floor for any spot that was still rough. (That McPhee tendency toward perfectionism through back breaking manual labour is a little apparent here.) Finished, I vacuumed the room (again) and applied the second coat of polyurathane. (I may have cried a few brave tears here too.) When I was done, I staggered downstairs, ate the dinner the girls had made and then lay on the chesterfield, practically blind with exhaustion. If I could figure a way out of this at this point, I would totally take it. I was so tired that all I managed was a few centimetres of the Bohus before I fell asleep sitting up with my needles still in my hands.


This morning my arms are still burned out and my back has pain in places where I didn’t even know I had places. I’m so wiped I can’t even tell if I’m hungry or not, and I’m starting to wonder if this was really such a good idea. Lucky for me, yesterday should have been the worst of it, and today my goal is to prime all the trim (there is a rather Victorian amount) and get the last coats of urathane on the floor. I am certain that being done with this floor will restore much of the joy to my life. It does look awesome.

The last job for today?


Pick a colour.