And all it cost me was a weekend of my life, an eyeshadow brush, and possibly my fiance…

Just kidding about that last bit.

So. We painted the dining room! And boy… what a project. Here is the before:

And the after:

Please… notice and covet the subtle stripe… because the truth is I’m not sure it was worth the time we put into it.

If I ever do a stripe again (and B has informed me that we will NOT be doing a striped room again!), I think I’ll do something a bit more obvious. I do love the effect here. I like that its subtle and non-obvious. I like that its a little different without being too weird. But, it did take a long time and I’m worried people won’t even notice it. I suspect that as the memory of this past weekend fades, the stripe will become more “worth it.” Isn’t that how things work?

Anyways… if you’re interested in how we did it, here is the step-by-step:

1. Decide on a color and buy it in both matte and semi-gloss. The finished effect will leave the semi-gloss stripes looking a bit lighter because they reflect light.

2. Prepare the room by taping your baseboards, windows, outlets, etc. and laying drop cloths.

3. Paint the entire room in the semi-gloss. This is because you’re going to have to tape off the stripes and the tape is less likely to pull paint off of semi-gloss rather than matte walls. Supposedly (see step 9).

4. Figure out the width of your stripes. I did this by figuring out approximately how wide you want them, then measuring your wall to see what size stripes will be easy to measure and work on all the walls. I wanted stripes that were 6-8 inches wide, but doing stripes that were 6, 7, or 8 inches wide would have left half-strips at the edge of the wall. So, I did stripes that were 7 3/8 on two walls and 7.5 on the others. Those were the easiest sizes that would produce an exact number of stripes on each wall.

5. Work around the room along the baseboards (which should still be taped off) measuring off your stripes and marking them. I put a star on which side of the line the tape should be on so that it would be easier to remember later (remember: If you want evenly spaced stripes then you will be taping on the outside edges of each stripe to be painted, so you will alternate which side of the line will be taped).

6. Next is the hard part: enlist the help of someone who likes you a LOT. A husband, fiance, boyfriend, or mom is probably best here because they have to love you even when they hate you a little. You’re now going to work your way around the room taping off stripes. (Make sure the semi-gloss is dry! I waited a full day). We did this by starting at one corner, getting up on a ladder and measuring the stripes off at the ceiling. Then I made a very fine pencil mark, and using wide painter’s tape we lined up the top and bottom marks and made our stripes. The wide tape is best because it stays pretty straight with little trouble, and it also gives you a wider margin of error later when you are trying to paint in between the lines. It was about half way through this project when B declared that we were never doing another room with stripes ever again. And we might never paint ever again. And he didn’t even understand what we were doing because weren’t we just going to paint the stripes the same color that was already on the wall? This is why it is important that whoever you ask to help you REALLY loves you enough to finish the job!

7. Take a break to torture the dog

8. Now you get to paint the stripes. I first edged the top and bottom of the wall, then used a 4″ roller to do the rest of the stripes.

9. Now, think that you’re done and get really excited. Pull all the tape off the walls, only to find this:

Argh! I bought the expensive blue painters tape because it says RIGHT ON THE PACKAGE that it won’t rip paint off the wall. And what did it do? RIP PAINT OFF THE WALL! I got really upset at this point. But… we must carry on.

10. Grab an eyeshadow brush and clean it well (don’t worry, I buy cheap brushes).

11. Yes, that is propped up on a juice-box of wine. I bought these one night when I was on my way to a friend’s house because I really just wanted ONE glass of wine and it annoys me to open a whole bottle I won’t drink. To be honest, its not the best wine but its pretty awesome to have single servings to cook with and drink when you get really pissed off painting. Painting + ladder + drinking = fantastic idea.

12. Use the eyeshadow brush and extra paint to touch up all the white spots.

13. Bask in the glory of your almost-there stripes and wonder if the they were REALLY worth all that damn work.

And there you have it! One (kinda) striped room and all it took was 2 gallons of paint, an entire weekend, an eyeshadow brush, and all of my fiance’s patience.

How it’s going

I’ve now officially lived with B for over a week. And I’d say, it’s going really well! Better than expected, actually. (So far… it has been only a week after all). I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at all worried. I lived with a boyfriend once before when I was in college and let’s just say…. that did NOT go well.

We fought every day. Literally. Every. Single. Day. We fought over whose stuff was on the floor and when we’d go to bed and who was doing dishes and honestly I don’t even remember how we had time to do anything else with all the bickering. Maybe there is a reason that you shouldn’t live with someone when you’re 19 and just moved out of a dorm?

So, I was worried. But so far it has been really great! I’m not going to say there haven’t been some moments… moments that 19 year old me would have started a fight about. But 25 year old me is, I think, a little smarter. I thought a lot about our move before it happened and I made a game plan that I’ve been implementing. Probably most people wouldn’t need a plan, but I am a person who is quick to be annoyed and I have ZERO filter. You do something that pisses me off you’ll know about it 8 seconds later. And a lot of stuff pisses me off. But then like 10 minutes later I don’t care about whatever it was anymore. So…

1. Don’t keep score. Seriously… what good does it do anyone to count how many times you unloaded the dishwasher vs. him?

2. Wait 30 minutes. If something he does bugs me, rather than get on him about it immediately, I tell myself I have to wait half an hour to say anything and if I’m still bothered at that point I’ll talk to him. This has worked particularly well because so far there hasn’t been a time where he hasn’t done something sweet within that 30 minute period to make me forget about whatever it was he did that annoyed me.

3. Try humor. We both do this actually… our first line of defense against getting annoyed with each other is to make light of the situation. It can be a good way of letting the other person know that we’re a little annoyed without actually making a thing of it.

me: honey, can you come hang these blinds for me?
b: ugh… NOW?
me: Yep, now.
b: *grumble mumble*
me: I’m going to pretend that I didn’t hear you grumbling about spending 5 minutes to hang blinds after watching a 4 hour football game for which I made you snacks and then I spent the whole damn game painting the dining room mmk? Cause I’m sure I heard that wrong.
b: Yep, so hang the blinds eh?

4. Ask questions I already know the answers to. I’ll get back to this one below.

5. Remember: this is it. We bought a house together, we are getting married, we love each other! This is it. This isn’t a roommate that I can say oh well I only have to deal with them for a year so I don’t care if it pisses them off when I x because they can just deal. I think we’re both looking at things long term and realizing that we are going to be living together for the whole rest of our lives, so we really need to each put the work in to make each other happy with the situation.

Re: #4…. I have got to say that this has been my favorite so far. Mostly because there is a LOT of work involved in setting up a house and boys…. well sometimes they need direction. It’s like they don’t SEE the laundry piling up or the trash overflowing or the books on the stairs. Sure, I wish that it would just occur to B to carry his things that I’ve put on the stairs up to his office, but I’m kind of accepting that I can’t get mad at him for not doing things he hasn’t been explicitly asked to do. At least, not yet. And when I do ask him to do something and he doesn’t? Well, take yesterday. I got up at 9 and started taping stripes in our dining room (pictures to come!). I did that until 12, then I had to go to the law school to help coach a moot court team. I was there until 3:30, then I went to the grocery store to get food for the week and stuff to make superbowl food for B. I got home at 5. I had had a BUSY day and I still had lots more work to do on the dining room… so I was a little stressed. Before I had left, I’d asked B to do one thing: take out the trash in the kitchen and master bath. I get home and go to toss some old food and see that it has not been done. So?

me: So hun, did you take out the trash?
B: Oh, no. I’ll do that right now.
me: great, thanks!
B: Um… there is old lunch meat in here. So, you knew I hadn’t taken out the trash?
me: Yep.
B: Then why did you ask me if I’d done it if you knew I hadn’t?
me: Seemed nicer to ask you if you’d done it and give you the opportunity to offer to do it than to ask you why, in the FIVE HOURS I was gone you couldn’t take 10 minutes to do the one thing I asked you to do.
B: Good point.

And the trash got taken out!

I don’t mean to make it sound like I’m spending every minute of the day strategizing how not to kill him… because that really isn’t the case. But I think that there is always a period of adjustment that comes with moving in together in which you’re going to drive each other a little bit nuts. And luckily the awesomeness of living with him far outweighs the small annoyances.

It is actually quite strange to me how natural this feels. I thought it would FEEL weird, living with a guy again. Maybe because we spent so much time together already though, it really doesn’t. It feels normal to have him and his things here and to go to bed together every night.

And maybe the most shocking thing is that I actually don’t mind that he’s here all the time! I’m a person who generally needs a LOT of alone time so I was a bit worried about the prospect of him being here all. the. time. Surprisingly though, I really like it better. Before, when he came over it was like an event. He was there, at my house, to see me, so I had to be focused on him/us the whole time. Which meant I couldn’t just do my laundry if it needed to be done or hang out online or do whatever. Now he’s not here to see me, he’s here because its home. Which means we both just get to do our thing, and its pretty fantastic! Now.. B has been super busy in the last week which means we haven’t spent as much time together as we normally will. But I think that our normal schedule will be just fine.

So… that is the status report on week 1. Stay tuned for my next post about STRIPES, and the post after that about how I didn’t know anything at week 1 and I now want to kill my loving fiance for getting on my nerves all the damn time. Just kidding. Hopefully.

We’re moved!

Well… I can’t say that the weekend was without incident. Work ended up being crazy last week and I was actually working until about 1am on Friday night/Saturday morning. I pushed back move time Saturday by an hour but I still wasn’t ready when people showed up to help us move. Then we found out that the guy that helped B pick up the moving truck Friday night had inadvertently taken the key home with him.

But! We’re in! And I’m amazingly lucky to have such great family and friends to help. We ended up with a troupe of six additional people Saturday morning and we were out of my old place (once we got the keys for the Uhaul) and into the new one in 2.5 hours! Pretty stellar if you ask me. My parents then came down Saturday afternoon and stayed until this afternoon. We got so much done, it was great.

Old places cleaned and turned over, kitchen, half bath, and lower level painted. Dining room, kitchen, great room, guest room, guest bath, master bath, and sewing room set up. One big picture hung, floors cleaned, and laundry started. Makes me tired all over again just thinking of everything that has happened in the last 72 hours!

It just feels awesome to actually be in and semi-settled. And strangely enough, it already feels like home. Despite the new house, new furniture, new everything really… it feels exactly right like we’ve just always lived here together.

I’m so excited to keep working on the place, painting and decorating and finishing unpacking… really making it ours. So, as we get each space finished I’ll take photos to post. First up is the kitchen– my favorite place in the house! Here is the before picture. Beautiful cabinets and appliances… but pretty bleh, no?

So I painted it green! I love it… its bright and cheerful, and just a little retro. I think it really makes the cabinets pop.

And a closer shot:

So, thats my new kitchen! I kind of wish I would have remembered to take a photo of my old kitchen for comparison of crappy to nice…. but its probably best to let that kitchen fade into the recesses of my memory! Next show-and-tell? My half bath! (wow… I’ve seriously become my mother to be that excited about a half bath…)