Done…and for the record? You people are an impatient bunch. (As Colleen pointed out in the comments, I do need to live a life to have one to write about.) Get a hold of yourselves.

I spent all day yesterday taking care of details and cleaning up. I rather thought that the surprise for Joe would be totally blown if he walked up to the house and saw a burned bag of sawdust on the front garden, a ladder inside the front door, painting stuff piled in the kitchen and a fine layer of pine floor dust over every surface in the house. He had said that he would be home around dinnertime, which in our home is round about seven. I struggled with the cleaning and laundry all day…trying to make the whole house welcoming and not smelling like charred sawdust and melted garbage bag. (You would be surprised how much that smell lingers.) As I worked I wondered how to spring it on him.

A. Drag him upstairs as soon as he arrived and make him admire the whole thing. (Not bad, but smacks of impatience, reduces the element of surprise and does pressure the man a little more than necessary.)

B. Install myself in the bedroom (in the bed) to round out the perfection of the room. (This was rejected because once I thought about it, I realized that this was going to be too distracting for Joe. Very little chance that he would notice and praise the new outlets if I didn’t have my clothes on, and besides, I didn’t want to wrinkle the new duvet cover.)

C. Go into the kitchen and make dinner, allowing him to wander freely through the house and discover the renovation for himself.

I decided that was perfect and I cleaned and fussed and smoothed sheets and watched the clock all day. You wanna see the room while we wait?


See that big blank spot over the bed? Joe and I are going to go together to the AGO gift shop and buy a wonderful poster for there. I thought that Joe might like a little input in the room. Notice also, if you please, the “decorator pillows” on the bed. After careful consultation with decorating magazines, books and websites, as well as observing the rooms of others, I have come to realize that it is the presence of extra pillows on the bed that really makes a room. Extraneous throw pillows are the definitive divider between a decorated room and a regular room. (This fits right in with my idea that the difference between “getting dressed” in the morning and putting on an “ensemble” is accessories. Take a look at the next room or woman that you see and think are really put together. Accessories. The room will have pillows, the woman – a belt. )


A new bookcase replaces the big white thing (repurposed for yarn storage in the tiny room next door to the bedroom) curtains cover the closet opening, the now white door has hooks for our robes and towels hung on it…and though you can’t see it I stripped the metal latchbox for the door of its 100 years of paint and made it pretty again. (I also hung that funky light from ikea. My auntie Yvonne gave it to me for Christmas and I derive an unreasonable amount of pleasure from it. I can’t explain why.)


Even the cheap tv and old dresser look great if you whack a new shelf above it and put your crap in an oval faux leather box.

(I learn so much watching an obsessive amount of HGTV.)

When I was done, I tested the bed and waited for Joe.


(I got back up…see point B above about the futility of a woman on a bed being able to point out any details to her husband.)

Joe came in a little early and I was practically shaking with nervous excitement. Would he notice the floor?



Would he notice anything at all? I mean, I was sure he would notice, but would he gush? Would he be impressed? What would he think? He came in and dumped his luggage, then went into the kitchen. We talked for a minute and I resisted the urge to say “Don’t you think you want to go to the bedroom?” (Partly because I didn’t want to blow the surprise and partly because I didn’t want to lead him on.) Then he went to the computer and sat down. Then he checked email. Then I thought about hitting him with my roasting pan. GO UPSTAIRS DUDE. I stood in the kitchen sending psychic waves. GoUpstairsGoUpstairsGoUpstairs. Nothing. I asked him if he had to go to the bathroom, since you can spot the bedroom from the bathroom. He didn’t. I asked him if he wanted to put his suitcase away. He didn’t. I asked him if he would get me something from upstairs….He said he would in a while. I almost screamed. GOUPSTAIRSNOWFORTHELOVEOFWOOLICANTSTANDITANOTHERSECOND


He didn’t go.

I finally snapped. I asked him to go upstairs. I told him to take the suitcase up. I said please. I said to go to the bedroom. He looked at me funny, realization dawning slowly over his face. Joe gave me one of those looks that says “I don’t know what’s so important to you about the upstairs but I can see that the very survival of our marriage hinges on me taking the suitcase to the bedroom so I’ll go.”, and he went. He stopped to admire the fact that I had hung a picture in the hall (What the hell. I had the drill out.) and I thought that bode extremely well for the renovation. He walked down the hall, paused for a second when he saw that the light coming from our bedroom was a different colour, then walked all the way in. He stopped. Looked around. He opened and closed his mouth once…then looked at me and said (and this is a direct quote for which I cannot be held accountable)

“Holy Shit Steph.”

Then he looked at everything. The outlets, the floor, the trim, the curtains the frames, the everything. He admired the bamboo in the square vase. He noticed that we laid 1/4 round and acknowledged that must have been very difficult. He loved the bookcase. He was impressed that I played with electricity and noticed that the ceiling was much better. He loved it. He gently mocked the decorator pillows (which I totally deserve…) then he read all of the blog entries about what I had been up to, sympathized about the sawdust fire and said it was the perfect white and what the hell is decorator white anyway, and then…at the risk of being indelicate, for while I am willing to share most everything with you my gentle readers, and I think that the business of happy adults is nothing to be ashamed of, I still believe that there are those things which are best imagined and implied…I can tell you that he closed the door (noticing that I had refurbished the metal latchbox and knob) and enthusiastically thanked me in a manner becoming my effort and station. I accepted the accolades. I asked him later, when Ken was here and we were making dinner and talking about the renovation, what his favourite thing was. (Ken, Captain-freakin-smartass asked if it was “answering a thousand questions about what his favourite thing was?” I ignored him beautifully.)

Joe replied that his favourite thing was that he had a beautiful new bedroom, a stunning floor and a restful and tranquil room to retire to when the rigours of the day and parenting teens got to be too much, and that he had gotten it all without picking up a drill, vacuuming anything or discussing which shade of paint to get until he hated the whole thing.

I think he loves it.

Tomorrow, the Representing Plan. We’re going to get this bad boy rolling, just so long as I don’t have to sand anything.


(PS. I have to tell you that after this whole glorious triumph, the universe sought a little balance, as it always does. Last night I tossed my crowning glory, the decorator pillows, from the bed onto the floor. This morning, Millie-bad cat had expressed her opinion of them….on them. Duly noted, cats hate change. Gotcha.)