Friday, October 19, 2012

"You Don't Want to Know Why I Need the Staple Gun": Part 3 of Bathroom Repainting

Today, I tried to put all thoughts of spackle behind me and get a-painting!  The only problem was that I did not get the absolute earliest start I could have because... I slept in until 11 a.m.  And then I had to eat a bowl of cereal and post on the ol' blog, since I have to entertain all you beautiful people with my spackle-related travails.  And then I remembered my paint pants were still in the washing machine after I had washed them last night to get the EVIL DUST out.

My paint pants.  About what you'd expect.
So by the time I started taping the edges of the ceiling and the door and the cabinets, it was about 1 p.m.  I got out the blue tape and started taping.  I actually kind of liked how all the edges looked all blue; it made our boring bathroom look sort of interesting!

Taping itself is pretty boring, though.  First, I called Husband to say hi.  Our phone conversations when he is at work generally go the way they would if I were a puppy who had learned how to talk and use an iPhone:

Liz:  Hi!  Hi!  Hi!  How are you?
Husband:  I'm at work.
Liz:  I know!  What are you doing?  Did you eat lunch yet?  When are you coming home?
Husband:  I have to go to a meeting now.  I'll talk to you later, okay?
Liz:  Okay!  You should come home soon!

It was approximately 1:30 p.m.  

I taped a little more and then realized taping would be so much better with music.  I tried to plug in my iPhone to the stereo and could not figure out how to make it turn on.  I've done it before, but the screen on the stereo is broken so it's hard to tell: 1) whether it is on or off; 2) what input it is currently set on; 3) if it is on mute or not; 4) really anything that might help you play music on it.  

[Aside:  Ironically, Husband's car has the same problem: the display on the stereo is broken so you can't see what radio station you are on or anything.  You just have to keep searching around until you find something decent.  This is ironic because Husband is an engineer who can fix pretty much anything: he's fixed my car in about 9 different ways, he is rebuilding an old car, and it is family lore that even as a child, he used to take apart various home electronics and put them back together to the bafflement of his non-technically-inclined parents.  Apparently stereo displays are his kryptonite?]

I couldn't get the stereo to do anything or in any way indicate that it was involved in the making of sounds.  So I called Husband again, who said he didn't really know how to do it either and I would just have to fiddle with it.  That didn't work, so I got out the tiny little portable speakers and brought them into the bathroom with me.  And then I listened to some Carly Rae and T.Swift for awhile and kept taping.

And then I noticed that the rubber toekick molding (on the wall by the floor) was coming loose from the wall at one place in a way that paint would not effectively cover.  I have been trying to ignore a lot of the problems I have noticed during this project - the problem with looking for flaws to fix is apparently that you find way more than are fixable - but this one was ticking me off.  So I decided to try to glue it back to the wall using the only glue I could find: Mod Podge and a tiny piece of sponge.

If you are looking at that picture and saying, "Girl, that is NOT HAPPENING," well, I am compelled to agree.  It did not work at all.  So I started thinking and the thought came to me:  staple gun.  Staple guns can affix anything to anything.  So I tried to think where the staple gun was but couldn't find it on the work bench.

I called Husband again, and as the phone was ringing I was mentally planning out the conversation: 

Husband:  Why do you need the staple gun?
Liz:  Don't ask questions you don't want to know the answer to.

... but Husband had developed the good sense to stop answering my phone calls and didn't pick up.  So I hunted around some more using the light app on my iPhone and voila!  I found the staple gun, along with a bunch of types of glue that would have worked way better than Mod Podge.  But by this point I was in staple mode.

I went in, positioned the staple gun perfectly, and ka-chunk.  I moved the gun and looked and there was no staple.  Confused, I wondered if it was out of staples and tried stapling at nothing, but a staple fell out so that wasn't it.  I positioned it again and ka-chunk... and no staple.

My inner voice started screaming "What witchcraft is this?" and that was the moment.  The moment when I became crazy desperate redecorating lady who is a total wreck and will most likely end up destroying her house rather than improving it.  This photo that I accidentally took effectively expresses my feelings at the moment:

And then I realized.  I had been positioning the staple gun upside down so I had actually just stapled into the wall twice.

I was, to use a fine expression, wigging out.  All my wigs were just everywhere.  I ran to the garage and grabbed a tiny pair of pliers and desperately yanked on the staples in the wall, which wouldn't come out because the pliers kept slipping off.  I kept at it and finally, finally, managed to remove both staples and staple the stupid stupid rubber thingy properly.  And that paint had better cover those staples but if I doesn't I don't even care.

You can see them just above the blue tape in the middle.
To calm down, I listened to Good Time three or four more times.  And then put on my C.Rae.Jep Pandora station for awhile.  Until my stupid little speakers ran out of battery, leaving me stupidly confused as to why the music had gone away.

After all of this, I was cranky and hungry so took a break to make trail mix out of chocolate chips and almonds and craisins and pink Himalayan sea salt (because I'm fancy, huh) and then ended up watching several episodes of Property Virgins on HGTV because I was so over taping.

I eventually got back to it.  Taping over the areas around the toilet was challenging because it's right between the vanity and the bathtub, so I was doing a series of moves that, if you replaced the papered-over toilet with a chair, might serve as choreography for Don't Tell Mama from the Broadway musical Cabaret.  I was also having fun covering lovely fixtures like this:

Because heaven forbid THAT get paint on it.  It might look ugly!

Once I had all the edges of things taped up carefully and nicely (because those lines are the lines you get!), I started covering the horizontal surfaces to protect against drips.  This involved emptying out my recycle bin and using old magazines because drop cloths are for sissies. By which I mean professionals.  Professional painters, I am sorry I just called you sissies.  

Those photos are also like a Where's Waldo of the millions of magazine subscriptions I described a little while ago as well as some catalogs.  Try to spot the National Geographic poster of Mauna Kea!  In any case, I may have gone a little overboard with covering stuff, but I'm paranoid about drips.  After all this crap I've been doing, I don't want drips.

By this point, it was getting rather dark in the bathroom because, as you may recall, there is no active light fixture at the moment.  And Husband has this big light thing he uses in the garage, but guess who isn't answering his phone?  So I decided to wait to put on that first coat until he could hook me up with the light and the sun came back in force to that side of the house.  So, tomorrow.  

The ultimate big news is that after three days, I still haven't started painting yet.  I probably could have done one coat if I hadn't started so late and taken that HGTV break, but c'est la vie.  Honestly, the easiest part is yet to come.  All I have to do now on this painting project is paint.  And that's always a good time.  Right?  

The supplies await patiently.
Tomorrow:  the finish line.  (I sincerely hope.)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Taylor Swift Wrote Me a Song About Spackle: Bathroom Repaint Day 2

This entire post in three words:  I HATE SPACKLE.

On day one, it was all fun and games and throwing up pink frosting on the walls.  Yee-haw.  Then I woke up day two and, after exercising for the pitifully short time that is the most I can handle, was ready ready ready, ready to sand.  Ready to sand that spackle!  This is what the bathroom looked like with the spackle dried:

Unfortunately, looking at it, I realized I needed a little more in a few places.  So I put up a little more here and there, and it went on more smoothly than yesterday.  I smugly decided I was getting the hang of it.

I decided to sand down the areas where I hadn't added any spackle while I waited for the new stuff to dry.  I was about to get my sand on using the sanding block that Husband obviously just had, because he has every tool ever invented, when I glanced at the can of spackle.

HOO BOY was that a lot of warnings about how I was going to die in various painful pulminary ways (okay, maybe it wasn't that graphic) if I breathed in any of the spackle!  I was duly alarmed, as anyone who has studied the asbestos crisis would be (thanks, torts class, for making me afraid of EVERYTHING).  Fortunately, if there's one person I know who would have a NIOSH-approved dust mask lying around the house, it's the one person I'm married to.

So I strapped on THAT sexiness and got to sanding.  And immediately understood why the can was covered in infinite warnings about lung disease because there was fine, ominous white powder EVERYWHERE as soon as I started sanding.  It piled up on every remotely horizontal surface: the windowsill, the tiny edge of the tile, the light switch.  I couldn't take a picture of it because I, too, was COVERED IN DEMON DUST.  It looked like I was throwing an extremely wasteful cocaine party in my bathroom.*

*(I assume?  My knowledge of cocaine parties is limited to an episode of CSI I saw once, and I don't like CSI that much, so I wasn't really paying attention.)

And I realized it was tiring wearing a big old intense mask on an 80 degree day while sanding high up on a wall.  Despite the quantity of dust given off with every motion of the sanding block, it wasn't quick work and I was deeply regretting having put up quite so much spackle yesterday.  After sanding as much as I could without getting at the new spackle I had so happily and carelessly slapped around just a little earlier, I was exhausted and realized I was going to have to do this again once the new spackle dried.  And my heart sank like a nuclear submarine when I remembered I had gone spackle-happy in the other bathroom too, which I'm not even painting - what madness had possessed me?

So I decided to call in the big guns.  But the big guns were still at work for several hours yet.  So I decided to do everything else in the interim.  I started with a dust-removing shower because I don't have a hazmat suit.  I cleaned out everything from the other bathroom so that nothing in there would be contaminated by the dust.  I washed dishes and put away a bunch of clothes (my glamorous life, ladeez and germs) and went to get groceries.  On my way to the grocery store, I went to Home Depot and bought the actual paint, which made me feel a little better that maybe someday this painting project might involve real paint.

I got Behr Premium Plus Ultra because how fancy does that sound?  Also, it's a primer and paint in one so I can just keep throwing up coats of the same thing until it looks good.  I got it in semi-gloss, which lasts longer in the bathroom.  I did not get oil based paint because that stuff is IMPOSSIBLE to clean.  I don't care if the Internet says it lasts even longer in the bathroom.  This house is probably not going to last that long.  I don't need to set some kind of paint-lasting record here.  And it's the guest bathroom anyway.  That's right, I remain defiant.

I also bought a little roller, not just because it was cute, and a thingy to open the paint can because it was 46 cents.  

Then I made dinner for Husband and we watched some HGTV for inspiration and at last, I had an ally in my sanding.  Fortunately, Husband has two intense respirator-type (is this description accurate?) masks.  So we masked up and started sanding.

Since I wasn't sure if Husband had two sanding blocks, I had purchased the blue thing (a sanding sponge with holder) at Home Depot as well.  I used that while he used the block.  It went a lot more quickly with his help, though I was not entirely pleased with this exchange:

Husband:  Why do we have to sand it so much?  Why didn't you just put it up smooth in the first place?

It looked better once sanded.

Once we were done sanding both bathrooms...

Husband:  Are you painting in this bathroom too?
Liz:  No.
Husband:  Why did you spackle everywhere?
Liz:  You told me to!
Husband:  No I didn't.
Liz:  Well, then, um, I thought of it!
Husband:  I thought you were just going to spackle the hole.

Ahem.  Once we were done sanding both bathrooms, both of them were covered in the white dust.  You haven't seen this much dust outside of a vacuum cleaner commercial.

If there wasn't so much white in that bathroom, you could really see how bad it was.  So I got out the vacuum and started using the hose to vacuum off the window sill, the top of the shower wall, the edges of the tile, the tops of the bathtub fixtures... everything.  Everything was covered in it and had to be vacuumed, and it took forever.  And once I had vacuumed everything, then I had to wipe it down with a wet wipe to get the remnants.  And then I was about to die of hating dust, so Husband took over wet-Swiffering the floors because he is the best.  

It seemed that most of the dust was gone, at last.  After necessary de-dusting showers (I was on my second of the day), we then got down to removing the hardware from the bathroom.  Down came the mirror, towel bar, towel ring, and lighting fixture.  So the bathroom looked like this at the end of the day:

And I looked like this:

To sum up:  I HATE SPACKLE.  It takes forever to sand and forever + two hours to clean up and if you don't wear a big ol' mask you might get a lung problem.  As I informed Husband, I am never spackling again.  Me and that can of spackle are never, ever, ever, getting back together.  Ever.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Functional Adult Tackles Spackle – Bathroom Painting Part 1

I am now returned from my secret mission.  I was told not to mention it on my blog, but when you’re the kind of person who gets sent on secret missions (as I am), what are they really going to do about it?  Fire me and try to replace my irreplaceable skills?  Send me back to CENSORED to fight the CENSORED AGAIN which would actually be really awkward given how I ended things with CENSORED?  Hack my IGNORE ALL PREVIOUS MESSAGES I AM A STUPID POOPYPANTS WHO CANNOT FOLLLOW BASIC INSTRUCTIONS.

So since I’m back now, I figured it was high time I stopped played video games and finally began my grand home improvement project.  Okay, high time I stopped ONLY playing video games.  The project is to repaint the guest bathroom in our house, which is the bigger bathroom (having a bathtub! Oooh!) and is kind of crappy looking.
Good peoples of the Internet, see all my sunscreens.

Most notably, the bathroom has not been painted since The Incident.
The short description of The Incident is as follows:  the toilet fell through the floor.  The explanatory description that makes sense is as follows:  Our roof used to leak a lot and let in a ton of water into the walls.  (Said roof has since been replaced as the landlord realized we would no longer pay him rent if all our checks were soggy because we were living in an aquarium.)  The wooden beams underneath the floor got water damaged and started to disintegrate, which mean the floor was slowly caving in.  We first started to notice the toilet listing toward the bathtub a little bit. 

Then the bathtub seemed to be settling.  It started settling more aggressively.  Husband went out of town one night and I woke up freaking out because I heard footsteps in the house.  I called my dad in the middle of the night (not that he would be any particular help, insofar as he lives a two-hour plane flight away) and told him someone was in the house coming to murder me and I couldn’t remember if the pepper spray in my nightstand was still operational and I didn’t think I could effectively ward off a murderer with just a swiss army knife (also in my nightstand). 

Dad (RATHER CALLOUSLY) told me that I should go look for the murderer and he would call 911 for me if he heard me start getting murdered.  Muttering under my breath that he would be sorry upon the grisly death of his only daughter, I went and looked and found that it was just the bathtub sinking even more and somehow making a noise that sounded exactly like footsteps.  Even as I was standing there staring at it, it still sounded like footsteps.

I remained unmurdered and eventually the toilet and the bathtub became so determined to consummate their longtime love affair that they both sank even further and tipped dramatically towards each other to such an extent that the toilet, now at a solid 45 degree angle, no longer operated.  This was The Incident and was poorly timed as we were having a party that night.  However, The Incident at last induced our landlord to pay someone to fix the floor, put in a new toilet, and, while he was at it, the handyman patched the hole in the wall across from the toilet.  I’m not sure how the hole got there.

So while the hole was patched, it was never painted and didn’t look so hot.  

Also, our bathroom has loads of other cracks and disintegrations that I’m sure don’t at all mean serious problems for the house. 

And the previous paint job was pretty crappy and I can tell cheap paint when I see it (a rare skill).  So new paint is in order.  But if success is 90% perspiration, interior painting is 90% preparation and 10% flakes of paint in your hair.  Today was Prep Day 1:  Scraping off the bumps from the last crappy paint job and spackling various holes, cracks, etc.  I purchased a new paint scraper and some spackle especially for this task.

Scraping the paint was pretty fun, especially since I didn’t feel the need to be desperately thorough and just went for the most egregious bumps.  Also, when scraped, the current paint left an interesting distressed pattern that almost looked like I was doing it on purpose as if on some HGTV show!  Too bad it’s temporary.

I then got to spackling the holes in the wall.  I’ve never spackled anything before, but I figured it can’t be that hard once you know the basic concept:  fill up the holes.  And the spackle I bought turned out to be extra fun because it goes on pink before it dries white.

It turns out that I’m not that great at spackling.  I didn’t do a great job getting it on smoothly AT ALL.  I plan to just sand it off when I do my sanding once it dries.  Right?  That should work?  Don’t tell me if it won’t.  I’ll figure it out on my own.   In any case, it looks like I attacked the bathroom with raspberry frosting.

But since I was at it, I figured I’d spackle up some of the not-at-all-ominous cracks in the other bathroom. 

There’s also a hole in that wall where there used to be a towel rack.  One of the side-holder-thingies of the towel rack is still in the wall and I use it as a hook.  The other is in a corner with the towel bar in the corner where it has been for at least four years now.  Since the odds of that getting fixed have been demonstrated to be 0%, I figured it was time to spackle the hole. 

The final step was to put up a little of the sample paint I got to see how it looks.  I think it looks good!  I’m excited.

Next step:  sanding down the spackle, maybe doing more spackle if necessary, scraping some more, sanding some more.  Once all that’s done, taping and covering the counters and floors.  Oh, and I might need to get caulk.  There are some random cracks that seem like candidates for caulking.  Once all that’s done, I might actually paint…