Saturday, March 30, 2013

Nesting: Painting

I can't recall how this happened, but we had a box of Dunkin Donuts on the morning we painted. Willow quickly learned to eat the chocolate frosting on top, and leave the rest of the donut for us. Thanks, kid.  

So, these pictures are from our Chun Jie Break when we painted our living room area. The pictures don't show how terrible the walls really were. Since the walls are concrete, they have a tendency to crack in spider-web patterns everywhere. And the plaster cracks off in places, not to mention all the crayon marks, scuffs, and even food that was staining the walls. It looked like some places had never been painted at all, and even the existing paint was probably only a single coat---essentially 'primer'. So, it needed help.

We asked our Landlord for permission to paint. He agreed to it, as long as we painted the walls white. So boring! I bought some very expensive paint that was supposedly water-based, eco-friendly, and non-odorous before I was pregnant. My past experience with Chinese paint (with drama sets) has been that it is highly toxic and poor quality. You have to add pints and pints of thinner to the paint just to apply it to surfaces. So, I wanted something nicer. We found out it would cost quite a lot to pay some workers to do the job for us. In light of spending money on other things we need, we decided to paint ourselves during Christmas Break. But then I was pregnant, and very sick.  So it got pushed back to Chun Jie break.

The walls had sort of become a constant annoyance to me. I would sit at home all day (because it's winter and we're cooped up a lot) and just mourn how terrible they looked. I think I was close to losing my sanity over the walls. The more I looked at them, the worst they looked. It was a prison to me! The paint color was 'white', but more of a creme, and I was hoping it wouldn't clash too much with all our hodge-podge collection of furniture and textiles.

We quickly learned that taping was futile. The painters tape doesn't stick to concrete surfaces. Or wood either. It falls off after a few minutes. Or if you apply it really well, it will later pull off the paint. So. Taping is stupid in China.

You can't really tell the differences in these pictures. But it was like putting glossy cream over grungy, cracked, gray-scale paint. It was so therapeutic, I thought I might die of delight--or at least back pain.

Adam was in charge of the rollers, and I was the edger. He's hard to keep up with.

How in the world did we do this with Willow? Friends graciously watched her while we worked away. On a Friday night, we started the work while she was sleeping. Then on Saturday morning she went to the Simmonds. She came home for lunch and a nap. She spent the afternoon with her favorite person, Emily! And by that time, we were almost finished. She came home, ate supper, watched a movie, and went to bed. Adam and I took turns taking care of her or painting, and then we finished up after she went to bed. When we closed our eyes late that night, we both saw our paint brushes/rollers going across a blank wall.

It's like when you play tetris for too long.

The next morning, we noticed we had missed a few tiny spots. But, we were not about to start painting again. We'll save that for Spring Break, we agreed. That's when we planned to paint the guest room as well. Our furniture was everywhere, paint was splattered on the wood floors, and the room was a dusty mess. So we spent most of Sunday vacuuming, scrubbing, and rearranging.

Another check off the list was rearranging the living room. We needed to fit MORE furniture in the room, and the current set-up wouldn't allow for it. Since Willow will be moving into the guest room soon (and the baby will take her nursery over), I wanted Adam's wardrobe out of the guest room. Our wardrobes don't fit into our bedroom because they are too large to make the turn in the hallway. Adam generally wakes up at 4:30am, and I didn't think ti would be a good idea for him to be getting dressed for work in Willow's room. So, we rearranged our room for like the 7th time. Now the TV is on entirely different wall and we rotated our sectional couch. It cuts the room off a bit and does make the place feel smaller--but it gave us more wall space for Adam's wardrobe. It also makes the room feel like a separate living room and dining room.

I should post pictures of the before and after.

Willow, 'helping' Adam. 
We listened to several messages from Michael Easley, who had been president of Moody while we were students there. He is such a great speaker, and Adam and I both find ourselves missing all the opportunities we had for exceptional teaching on a daily basis. 

So glad that we got to paint over the crazy-yucky walls. And sort of looking forward to painting the guest room. My back wishes that it could step out of the deal.

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