21 February 2014

Another Job I Don't Particularly Like

I set aside this week to paint the kitchen cabinets. They were a very basic, dated, oak (1990, I read on the sticker inside the door under the sink), with oak-printed laminate (!) end pieces and underpieces, and yellowing, increasingly grimy wood edge pieces on the counters, and a streaked and grimy wood back splash. They were ugly.

I always disliked these cabinets, from the moment I took possession of the house. They fit aesthetically--more or less--with the lavender carpet in the hall and bedrooms, and the vinyl floors in the bathroom and the kitchen, and the faux marble tub surround; but I ripped out the carpet and finished the fir floors under it, as well as the original oak in the living and dining rooms, before I even moved in.

Over the years we've back-dated (instead of updated) most of the rest of the elements of our home. We remodeled the entire bathroom, moving the toilet from its original spot (in a direct line down the hall from the front door), changing the vinyl floor and the linoleum surround and the press-board-and-laminate vanity to hex tiles and wainscoting and a pedestal sink, and donating the '50s  iron tub and replacing it with a refurbished clawfoot.

At some point in the early years when I was out of town, Ian replaced the hideous vinyl on the kitchen floor with classic black and white Marmoleum squares, and the house really began to look its age--but in a nice, newly done, sturdy modern way.

All except for those kitchen cabinets, which became more and more glaringly out of place as the rest of our home coalesced into a classic Seattle Craftsman whole.

We had a local realtor in recently and the thing she noticed--the one thing that was truly not like the others, was those cabinets. As ugly, out-of-place oak, they really make the kitchen look like it needs to be replaced. But, she suggested, painted white with glass knobs, a buyer will nod thoughtfully and say "Yeah, I could live with this."

"Oh, I could paint those!" I said, with smug, misguided enthusiasm. And so we ordered some little glass knobs from Rejuvenation, I set aside my week for work, and just like that, lickety-split, our kitchen looks great.


If only that were true.

What's actually true is that I've been having a devil of a time getting myself going on this project each day (note: it's 12:07 pm right now and I have yet to do any work other than decide that I do, at some point today, need to do work). The problem is many-faceted.

One, I have had a cold for longer than I like (chemo at the wrong time of my healing cycle set me back a week), and so I really don't have the energy I normally have when doing household projects.

Two, there are a thousand--no, a billion--piddly little details. Unscrew 47 things. Don't lose the 763 pieces you've just unscrewed. Clean the hinges. TSP. Sand. Wipe. Wipe again. Set up work space. Turn on iPod by plugging it in to turn on touch screen, because the button that used to do that stopped working after just more than a year, and Apple wouldn't fix it. Put on headphones. Put on respirator. Adjust glasses, which are weighted down by headphones and respirator. Put on gloves/coveralls. Paint primer. Bang head, somehow in spite of respirator and headphones, several times against shelf in garage. Swear.

Three, this does not technically need to be done before next February when we put the house on the market. And by doing the project now, we will almost definitely have to spend time touching it up next year. Back in the days of dreamy planning about a nicer-looking kitchen, one of my main motivations for doing it soon was so we would be able to enjoy it ourselves. That motivation has taken the way-back seat, however. UGH! I'm going to have to spend more time in here next year! is riding shotgun.

Four, THIS IS BORING. Much like the tedium of cancer treatment, there are proscribed steps to take, a lot of hassle and discomfort in the short term, and meager compensations along the way. For example, from two days ago (read with decreasing enthusiasm): I've primed one side of the cabinet doors! And I am now 1/4 of the way done with the cabinet door process. IF, in fact, I only need to do one coat of primer and one coat of paint. Otherwise . . . I'm 1/8 of the way done. SIGH. Success is so distant as to seem unattainable.

My only motivation left on this project is the fact that I have made the kitchen (and, by extension, the dining room table) largely unusable until everything's done and the doors are reinstalled.

Ooh--look: 12:57pm! Lunch time! I can't start yet . . .

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