Tuesday, February 23

It Couldn't Be That Hard, Right?

So, we had decided to host our first Angel's Attic Open House. The attic space where we hold the sale needed a little spiffing up. We wanted it to keep its attic feel, yet have a cleaner, more upscale look and the plywood subflooring just wasn't doing the trick. Linda innocently suggested that we paint the floor. I thought that was a great idea, and it couldn't be that hard, right? Little did I know that a simple checkerboard pattern would be able to cripple my knees and reach it's malicious claws into my sanity.

Okay, so that may be a tad bit of overstatement, but if you have read my posts from this blog before, you know I lean a twitch toward the melodramatic when it comes to describing the trials and tribulations of our various projects. Just a twitch. I'm not apologizing for it; just explaining so we are all comfortable here. But I digress.

Like in an old black and white western, there I was, at sunrise, facing off against my opponent, the floor. Tool holster hanging from my hip a little heavy on the right side, hands poised with fingers slightly curled, hovering above my pencil and my roll of blue painters tape, I stared down this much larger adversary of rough wood. As tension mounted, nobody blinked or even dared breathe. Dust motes seemed to freeze in the air as the impending showdown threatened to consummate at any thundering instant.

Suddenly a sound erupts with a mechanical clash and wail. A strident voice of alarm exclaims "What are you doing? I thought you'd be half done by now." After climbing down from the rafters, I turn to my wife and mentally scramble to craft a reply. Donning my most calm and studious face, I say, "I'm planning my strategy." As an afterthought, I add "I've gotta fix that door. The thing makes an incredible racket when you open it."

Was I intimidated by this project? Ha! I scoff in the face of piddling little projects like painting a floor! I deride all floors everywhere! I mock paint and painting tools in all of their manifestations! I spit upon all of the progeny that paint and floors have produced, either deliberately or accidentally, in all of manifold time! I... digress again. This time I do apologize.

When painting a checkerboard or similar pattern, normally you paint the entire floor the lighter color, in this case a creamy white, then mask and paint the dark squares on top. This approach saves time and aggravation, so of course, we discard it. A somewhat rustic look was the goal, so wanting to see more of the underlying wood, we chose to minimize the paint buildup by masking and painting each color separately. Oh, and just because it wasn't yet arduous enough, we decide to turn the design 45 degrees to the angle of the room, compounding the difficulty of laying out the pattern by about a thousand times.

Being the supportive wife she is, Linda dives in and begins crawling around on the floor with me as we begin drawing lines and laying tape. After about ten minutes, she suddenly remembers another urgent project that she has to work on.

At this point you may be wondering why I have made such a big deal about this job. I mean, quit your whining and get over it, right? I would be right there with you if I hadn't been there, in that room, engaged in battle with an adversary armed with subtlety, hardened determination and splinters the size of chopsticks.

First, lines were drawn to show each square. Nose to the floor, tape was carefully applied on the outside of every white square. Then tape had to be pulled up and reapplied in those areas where I had not kept track of what color goes where. Crawling on my rapidly swelling knees, paint was brushed on. Tape was then pulled off in joyful anticipation of proceeding the following day to the next step, the black paint. I was finally making progress!

Having allowed the development of too much positivity, the project gods paid yet another visit overnight. Out come the rolls of tape again to mask the floor again, in the exact same place it had already been masked, as another coat of white needed to be applied again. The floor had seemingly drank the previous coat down, leaving virtually no evidence of my previous labor. Resolved to not be beaten, I put on my best Jack Nicholson grin, aka The Shining, and set about my work upon gnarly knots which have grown where my knees used to be. Just ignore any guttural muttering you might hear.

The black paint that follows requires an entire new set of taping, this time on the opposite side of the layout lines from the last stage. Eventually, paint applied and tape removed, I holster my paint brush and step off the field of battle to survey my victory. With the high of a difficult job well done flowing in my veins, I masochistically add an entire new phase to the project. If you have read this far, you may have picked up on the one unfailing urge that insists on having its way in my personality; I don't know when to quit. Like when I write. In this case, I decide that I need to add two more layers; a custom glaze over the black and white and a clear coat for protection. Bleeding knees be damned.

Believe it or not, the floor did eventually submit to my ministrations. If you visited our Open House, you saw the fruit of this labor. (PLEASE tell me you noticed the floor! Even if you didn't.) To get from the beginning of this engagement to the final surrender took a week of work. No kidding, an entire week. It also took five and a half rolls of tape, two pencils and two aging knees which are only now starting to straighten. The doctor thinks I may be able to walk again in time.

So what is the moral of this story? If there is one, it may be that nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Or maybe that nothing worth doing comes easily. Or... that a middle aged man ought not to be listening to his wife when she comes up with redecorating projects that sound too good - or too easy - to be true.
Keeping it real(ish),

Friday, February 5

Just a Sittin' and a Waitin'

...for Spring... and the Angel's Attic Spring Open House on April 24. There is a lot of work to do!

Monday, February 1

Treasure Chest

I've heard of these kind of things happening to other people, but never to us. Someone becomes aware of your love of all things vintage, then contacts you saying something along the lines of "I know you like old stuff and I have this old trunk that has been in my family for years. I wonder if you would want it?"

That was today. A very nice woman who visited our Angel's Attic Open House last fall called to tell us about an old trunk that had been in her family for over 100 years. She said she loved the work I had done with the vintage furniture we had for sale and wanted to give the trunk to someone who would "know what to do with it". The trunk has seen better days, but has a lot of beautiful details and a rich patina born of many hands and much travel. It has stories to tell. To top it off, she then further surprised me by apologizing because she had accidentally left some old linens and things in the trunk she had meant to throw away. (!)

Very cool. Apology accepted.

We had a lot of fun digging into the trunk to see what treasures might be inside. The generous previous owner insisted that we are welcome to resell any of it if we want to. We don't know yet what all we will do with it, but if you are curious about what we found, come to our Angel's Attic Open House in April. I'm sure some of it will make the display.

Thank you, Sue!
- Jon