Paint Fumes

By: Peggy Willms

(6 min read)

Apparently, I have colors on my mind since I have written about them for the past several weeks. This week I find myself painting.

I am a tad O.C.D., especially when it comes to cleanliness. I am one of those who will see a scuff mark on a baseboard and be unable to proceed to the next task without finding my Mr. Clean white eraser and plopping down on my hands and knees to scrub it off. It shouldn’t be surprising that I would decide to paint the entire inside of my new house, including walls, baseboards, and doors. Once we began moving things in, I was overwhelmed by the weight of the darkness. The home is immaculate. One issue – the wall color is too dark.

The shade falls into the category of tan slash orange slash brown. I am not a painter; therefore, I cannot tell you what primary colors mesh to accomplish that “pukey-type” hue. The bottom line it is not in the white family and has to go.

I am not a newbie to renos and painting. I guess I just wasn’t prepared. I hadn’t processed the concept, or the time it would take when moving in, so our timeline has been thrown off as well as my task list.

We first thought we would hire experts to come in and swipe through the house, call it done and move in a few days later. The expense would be worth it. Time is money. We needed to be settled and get back to work. I decided to make a quick call first, as I knew I wasn’t thinking clearly and didn’t want to miss a beat.

When you live in a long line of painters and handypersons, there are specific phone calls you can make and get right to the point. “Hey, Sis, I have a few questions.” She rattled back as if the local auctioneer had passed away, and they hired her for the job.

“You will want to do it yourself if you want it done correctly and if you can make the time. It allows you to control the thickness of the paint and paint choice. Nowadays, the “professionals” will come in with commercial grade paint, spray a quick coat, charge you through the roof, and be gone.”

We had done a bit of research prior, and the process and price range was so vast that I felt like I was reading the side effect from NyQuil, so I knew she was on point.

She continued, “Did the previous owner have animals? Did they smoke? Were they clean?”

So far, so good, I thought. The previous owner was an older version of my Mr. Clean addiction. No animals. Non-smokers. Yippee, you might say. We are ready to pick the color and go. Not!

We went from my simple question of do we do it or hire it done to the longest run-on sentence you’ve seen in a hot minute. Jesus is she in her lane!

“Well first, you need to wash with TSP (a conversation ensued on what it is and why it isn’t a waste of time), rinse it off if it is really dirty, get this brush, use this mesh thickness roller for this and that one for that, pick a good primer, use either satin or semi-gloss for the baseboards, kitchen and bath (easier to clean), the rest of the walls you can use semi-gloss or eggshell, and don’t cut corners on good paint …” I am sure she kept talking, but my brain cells shut off after I absorbed the suggestion of using different types of paints for other purposes in other areas. Way too many “different.”

And let the adventure begin.

I actually love painting. I am unable to think of anything else when the brush or roller is in action. It is easier than meditating, yoga, or having a massage. I go to a world of “whatever.” A painting aroma coma, perhaps.

I hit the master bedroom running. I have the energy of a hummingbird slurping on sugar cane. The intent is to get that area of the house done first, then we can move in once it is cured. The requirement of quality air, especially while sleeping is apparently a real thing. Therefore, we decided to hold off on living in our new residence until our painting project was complete.

I forgot to mention that we have been in a ‘transition home’ (another term for friends who have a kickass house and offered for us to stay there by ourselves until we want to leave). However, it is a two-hour trip daily, thus making this incredible experience more of a challenge than one desires.

I am lightning speed at prep work. Ready to go. It is literally Prime Time. Primer Time. With the loopy loo sway of the bristles, I begin thinking about the textured walls and how metaphorically it relates to life. Each one is not like the other. There is no consistency. They are like clouds in the sky – oh look over there, that one looks like an elephant drinking from a baby bottle. That one looks like a candle held by Ebenezer Scrooge. Damn, plop. Back down the ladder to deal with that splatter five feet away. “Pay attention, Peggy.”

Tape, brush, roll, and wipe. Up the ladder and down. Repeat.

I didn’t want to prime then paint. I tried to use the primer and paint mixture and swoop these walls in one process. Easier and faster. Boy, am I glad we listened to my sister. The original color was more profound than we thought. Maybe a whole wheat bagel color. Hmm. Naively, I also thought we would be done painting the entire house in a few weeks. I forgot that the last time I painted a whole house in a few weeks, I wasn’t on mania meds. DAMN. I knew I hated being normal. You don’t get half the stuff done you can when not on them.

When I do decide to do something, quality is of the essence. Painting is not different. I will not paint around the light switches or paint the doors while they are hanging. I care how far back I can get behind the toilet. “Should we remove the toilet?” I ask my man. “NO!!!!” Clearly, that wasn’t happening.

Four days later, we are headed to get ‘samples.’ The infamous determining factor. The shade that will affect you for the rest of your dying days. Sounds dramatic. It is a biggee, though. We grabbed the swatches for Ceramic White, Ivory Lane, or Crescent Moon yesterday. We went from room to room, taping them on the wall and trying to narrow it down. We stuck them on the baseboards, in the middle of the walls, and along the high edges. And I am no closer to making a decision than I was before the exercise. WHATEVER. At this point, my decision is anything but black or stark white. I am one of those who like all everything one color. I like to pop color into a room with accents such as paintings and throw pillows. I’ll take a white wall and a hand-painting of lemons before I take a lemon-colored wall.

Diverse colors shift my moods, toy with my personality, and flip the pages in my memory bank. A mint shade in the bathroom might bring you a relaxed ambiance. For me, I think of those hard-shelled TicTacs that, to this day, I  cannot have in the house because I will consume the entire container.

I will let you know what we choose. In any event, I am convinced we will love it compared to what it was on move-in day. Of course, I am higher than a kite. “Go, paint fumes – it’s your birthday. I’m gonna party like it’s your birthday…”

Peggy Willms
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC

The information provided is the opinion of the author. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. diagnosis, or treatment. The author and the business, All Things Wellness, LLC, and its owner Peggy Willms, are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information in this article or on this website. We assume no responsibility for tangible and intangible damages such physical harm caused by using a product, loss of profits or loss of data, and defamatory comments. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases.