Saturday, March 22, 2008

manual labor is good for the soul

One of the things that put me into such a foul mood the other day is that the sale of my old house, which I thought was a done deal, fell through at the last minute. So we are still making two house payments, paying two sets of utilities and insurance, and generally having two places to worry about instead of just one.

Our listing with our old real estate company has expired, and I have some time off, so we thought we'd do a little bit of sprucing up and take some time to think before listing it again. Yesterday we took a carpet cleaner out there to clean up the mess of three months' of people tromping through our bedrooms, and I decided in a fit of ambition to tear down the bathroom wallpaper and repaint it to make it look brighter. I just had to feel like I had done what I could (within reason and our very tight budget) to make this house sell.

What I thought would be a four-or-five-hour project for me to do while my husband cleaned carpets turned into an all-day project with both of us pitching in. I had trouble getting the wallpaper to come down, so I decided to paint over it. Guess what dissolves wallpaper glue better than anything else? Paint.

We ended up scraping the still-damp and peeling wallpaper off, getting covered in a lovely shade of lilac in the process. It made a big mess and we had a lot of mess to clean up, but luckily we had enough paint to do the whole room twice. I like the way it turned out. I know that lilac (Veiled Violet, actually) isn't a neutral, but the whole rest of the house is in neutral colors and the bathroom has white wainscoting and trim, so the color is a nice contrast. And, I can tell you from experience, paint is a lot easier to paint over than wallpaper if the new owners (please God let there be new owners, and soon) don't like it.

Amazingly, after a touchy start, both of us were good-natured about the whole thing and I ended up bone-tired but satisfied that I had done something right in the end. I had done a Spinning class in the morning, not realizing what kind of workday I was getting into, so I worked off a lot of anxious energy and slept soundly for the first time in a while.

Today, not surprisingly, has been a day to relax and do not much of anything.


  1. have you ever watched that HGTV show "designed to sell?" they have such good ideas on how to freshen your house up for buyers!

  2. Bummer that the old house sale fell through, but it sounds as though you are doing everything you can to make it appealing. Getting rid of wallpaper and giving the bathroom some fresh paint that looks sharp against white trim is a good plan - as Laura B. suggested, they always do stuff like that on the "designed to sell" shows.

    Hope you and your family have a very happy and relaxed Easter!


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07