Friday, June 18, 2010

I Didn’t Think to Wear a Painter’s Mask

The basement bathroom is about 8x7. What is that? 56 square feet? Even amateurs like we are can tackle a job that minor, can't we? Well, can't we?

There are some home improvement projects that I won't tackle. I think roofing and plumbing, for instance, should be handled by professionals. But when it comes to the basics, like, say, paint and nails, I've always lived by the old "recipe" method. Even if you don't know how to cook, you can still follow a recipe and end up with a decent meal. It's all about reading and comprehending the directions.

So, with most of our basic housekeeping caught up, my husband and I felt the urge to tackle something bigger, and the bathroom has been on our to-do list for about a year. The fixtures are fully functional, but the walls are unpainted drywall with only a preliminary mud, the ceiling is wide open, and the floor is raw cement. Because we want the basement to be a hangout for the kids as they age, we decided a while back not to do any "formal" finish down there. We thought an open, loft-type feel would be fun for games and hanging out, keeping things fairly raw, but finished enough to be comfortable. The bathroom is our first actual move toward this vision, so, of course, we headed to the home improvement stores to decide what to do.

The first day, we dragged the kids from Menards to Home Depot, spending two hours each place, then moving on to Lowes. Lowes is on the other side of the city. It was a late night. We came home empty handed. But we did know that we didn't need to go back to Lowes, so that was something.

The second day, we took the kids to IHOP to get them warmed up before we broke the news that we were going back to the home improvement stores for another round. Over breakfast (well, by the time we had sat in the parking lot for a half hour after breakfast), we narrowed our choices down to the products available at Menards. The kids were relieved: only one store. Little did they know it would be three and half hours before we emerged from Menards with 4 cans of black spray paint for the ceiling, three rolls of textured wallpaper for the walls, two sections of aluminum duct work to encase the exposed plumbing behind the toilet, and a can of pewter cement stain for the floor and wall. Oh, and a vision.

It was two days into the project and we were finally getting somewhere. We headed downstairs to masked off the fixtures and make speedy progress on blackening the ceiling. Carefully reading the directions on the can, we turned on the vent, opened the downstairs windows, and went to it. Brian found an old, paper painter's mask in our stuff and threw it on. I didn't think much about it. I didn't notice any mention of painter's masks on the can…but, really, that's no excuse. I absolutely knew better than to aim a spray paint can over my head in a small, enclosed room, without covering my hair, eyes, nose, or mouth. Someone hit me on the head with a tack hammer; I am a moron.

Did you know that black spray paint loogies will turn your tongue green? It was not enough that I knew to wear a mask. I needed to put the thing on.

"But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards." Matthew 7:26-27

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