September 29, 2010

Pale Green Hope

The re-organization of the stash room proceeds apace, and hope is now peeking through the big window in that room, though things got much, much worse before they got better.  My big plan was to take everything out of that room.  All the yarn, all the fibre, all the electronics, all the magazines (Joe's and mine) all the patterns, all the books ... everything out, and then take down the counter (???) and the shelves, take out the existing storage thingie,  and strip the wallpaper, then paint the place, whack in all the storage and then put all the stuff back tidily.

There turned out to be a whole lot of problems with that.

#1. I have no idea where I thought I was going to put all that stuff when I took it out of the room. A roomful of stuff takes up a lot of room (one, to be precise) and the other rooms I have already have their own stuff in them and are already really small rooms. Very tricky.

#2. The minute I pulled on the wallpaper I could see that I was on the cusp of a very, very serious mistake. That room has the original plaster and lathe walls, and they are very fragile.  I could tell that very likely, the wallpaper was what was holding these walls up, and there was zero chance that I wanted to drywall that room when the plaster started to come down with the paper- which was absolutely what was happening when I pulled a corner.  I stopped.

#3.  I am doing this by myself.  Moving all this stuff, especially the big storage thing turned out to be impossible. Even when I really tried to be otherwise, I was still a 5' tall woman by herself with a huge piece of furniture.  I could shove it, but not get it out of that room.

Now, I'm not the sort of woman who comes off a plan easily.  I like to do things the right way, but sometimes that just doesn't make sense - sometimes you have to be sort of tricksey to get through a mess, and this was one of those times.  Sure, stripping wallpaper before you paint is the right way to do it, but as much as I wanted to, reducing a room to complete rubble in the interest of cleaning up seemed counterproductive.   I opted for plan B.  First I moved the boxes of yarn/fibre in my way to our bedroom. Then I got Joe's stuff out of there.  I unloaded his storage bookcase and moved that stuff to our bedroom. Then I got Rachel H to help me get that bookcase down to the main floor, carried over the floors and stairs I cared about.  After she left I essentially pushed the thing down the basement stairs, then climbed over it and pulled it to the corner and set it upright again.  Then I hauled all his stuff down to the basement, one armload at a time, and replaced it all on the shelves.  Now I had one clear quarter of the room... so I did something I'm sort of proud of. 

Yup.  Painted right over the wallpaper.  This room, when it's done, likely won't have much wall showing, and I just plowed right over it.  It felt both smart and wrong at the same time. Then I assembled a $69 Ikea Billy bookcase, and put that in the painted corner.  With that up, I figured that I could now empty the shelves behind me onto that bookcase, then take down those shelves and paint that section, then put a bookcase up there and move the next section to that finished section.. you get it.  That way I wouldn't have to find somewhere to put all the stuff, and I wouldn't have to carry it all out of the room and then back in, which was something that I was loathe to avoid, having just trucked Joe's belongings over two flights of stairs in about 20 trips.  

I was moving the stuff over from one side of the room to the other, when I realized that the shelves were in the wrong spots.  They're adjustable, so I lifted the shelf off and went to pull out the first of the four little metal pegs that hold the shelf up.  Although in the Ikea picture, the people are doing this effortlessly, in real life I needed to get a screwdriver to pry it. I was wiggling it free when suddenly it came, I fumbled with my hand, and the peg flew across the room, bounced once, and then evaporated without a sound. 

I started looking for it and though the floor of the room was pretty clear by now I couldn't find the thing.  I started to worry that maybe it had gone down the heating grate, but told myself that really, a metal peg going down a metal duct would have made a sound... and this landing hadn't.  I was starting to fill with rage, because the peg has to be somewhere,  metal pegs don't really evaporate - and if I can't find that damn peg then that's a whole shelf I can't use until I go back to Ikea (and really please don't make me go back to Ikea for a while) and that screws up the whole plan and I already changed the plan and I was totally getting wound up when I saw it.

Not the peg.. the open, mostly full can of celery coloured paint sitting on the floor.  No way.... right?  It dawned on me slowly.  That's why I couldn't find it. That's why it disappeared after a bounce. It bounced, then hit the paint, sinking soundlessly into the pale green mire.  Without a thought, I plunged my hand into the paint, but the can was still so full that I couldn't put my hand in all the way without overflowing it... plus, it was gross. I stirred around for a while, then I took my hand out and sat there dripping paint onto the newspaper.  Suddenly infuriated, I bucked my instinct to spraypaint the entire room with the bright blue words "SCREW THIS" and I washed my hands, got a beer and called a friend to unload the entire thing on her.  The total and complete rage that I was being held up by a stupid little peg was more than I could bear.  It was so hard already and then to have the shelving unit screwed up because of one part that was probably in that stupid can of paint that I should have covered anyway? She suggested maybe straining the paint through cheesecloth or pouring it from one container to the other... but in the end I had a second beer and walked away for the day.  It was that or do something crazy, and I'm really trying to keep this room from getting crazy, even through that's sort of pointless because it's already crazy that I'm in this deep.

The next day I kept going with the plan, shifting things from unfinished zone to finished zone, as I finished them, with that empty crooked shelf just sitting there, infuriating me ever time I saw it... and by the end of the day I had two coats of paint round the whole room and ceiling, and the can was just about a quarter full.   I have the original plaster in this room, and it's highly textured.

It drinks paint.  It's not that horrible stuff that you can scrape off either, but the actual walls. I hate it. There's no answer but to take down the plaster and lathe though, and that's a nasty job.  I took the can of paint downstairs to put it away, and right before I hammered the lid on, I decided to give the peg one last chance. 

Victory was mine. Meg had a friend over and I'm not sure what he thinks of my sanity, or the fact that I called Meg over to take a picture, that's how thrilled I was, but I've got the peg, I don't have to go back to Ikea and that is all I care about.

All shelves in that unit are now present and accounted for, the whole room is a pretty pale celery green, and I'm beginning the rest of the Ikea assembly.
For the record, I'm taping cardboard over the heating vent until I'm done with pegs. I can't by taken down by a 3 cent piece of metal again.  I don't have it in me.

Posted by Stephanie at September 29, 2010 2:45 PM