Sunday, February 8, 2009 @ 15:48:08
White Rabbits and Gardenia Trim
Some decisions are best made quickly. Others can take years.
I bought this house in 2002 when Dad was still alive. It was my first experience as a homeowner, and Dad had been down that path countless times. We enjoyed home ownership, but we didn't have the disposable income at the time to make some much-desired improvements and updates to our 1950s brick rancher with the Pepto-pink bathroom tile. So we did nothing.
I carried on that tradition after Dad died. I pored through DIY magazines and websites, contemplated color schemes, and watched hours of HGTV programming. And did nothing.
A few years later, Doug joined the decision-making process, and I used the comfort of consensus to nurse myself into further procrastination. I watched even more HGTV programming and subscribed to Consumer Reports. I researched the benefits of low VOCs, green options for countertops, and tankless water heaters. We contemplated paint colors and debated the benefits of crown moulding. And did nothing.
Through the passage of time, we grew complacent and inertial. We wondered, as many homeowners do, what we would find beneath. When you start digging and peeking and sanding and replacing, you might find something else that needs attention. Would our actions be simple and straightforward, or would we suffer endless scope-creep? How much is this going to cost? What's the worst-case scenario? The dwarves dug too deeply and freed a Balrog. Alice didn't have to go down that rabbit-hole. What might we unearth? A sinkhole that might swallow the house? So we waited, and we did nothing.
Then something clicked in my brain. Perhaps it was the excess mental energy that was consumed by the 24-hour news coverage of election mania for the past two years - this energy was building up and needed an outlet, a focus, and most of all, motion. We ripped down the ugly wallpaper border in the living room, committing ourselves to action. We bought paint samples and spent a wonderful afternoon painting strips of color onto the walls. Seedling, Jicama, Soleil, Salsa Dancing, Caliente, and Fiji Blue. Gardenia trim. New baseboards and moulding. Did we really just spend $400 at Lowe's? Paintbrushes, drop cloths, plastic sheeting and window treatments. Mulch - we'll need a truckload of mulch. Contractor estimates and customer reviews. Carpentry repairs, new windows, and concrete pavers for the new path. Another truckload of mulch. Whew!
We're not done, but we're making progress. When we're all finished, we'll have a home we love and memories of sunny mornings painting together in old clothes, with specks of Gardenia-tinted paint in our hair and Motown music dancing in the air. Best of all, we can say that we did something.