Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer Traditions: Projects

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Ten months ago when we moved into our condo, it was in the midst of a school year, a coaching season, and Curtis’s ridiculous schedule at the hospital. There were a couple things about the condo that I didn’t love from the beginning, but the biggest one seemed to stare me in the face at all times: the trim.

I’m not sure whose idea it was, but at some point the trim of the condo was painted a “lovely” color to set off the white walls and gray carpet—mauve. I noted it immediately when we looked at the condo the first time, but obviously didn’t shy away from the purchase on account of someone’s taste in paint color. It could easily be taken care of—eventually.

With the exception of the painting done in the second bedroom (which I was inspired to do on one random Sunday afternoon) the rest of the place had not been touched all year. Now that it was summer and my travels had slowed down, my desire for trim that was not pale pink grew, though it mixed with the premonition that this would be a long and tedious project.

My gut was right.

A couple weeks ago I put in seven hours coloring our living and dining area, with the another two being invested on baseboards. With a brief hiatus for a holiday weekend and a couple camping adventures, I have been working on finishing the room both of the last two days, spending two hours painting the last large wall, and another four on baseboards and door and window frames.

Every day I proudly show off my progress to Curtis, noting windows and doorways now flanked in bright white. It would be hardly noticeable to someone not haunted by mauve for the last ten months, but it is crisp and clean to me—having spent hours fixing the room up and making it my own.

Home ownership seems to be this lofty, sought-after ideal in our current society, but like all grown-up responsibilities it comes with some effort. We may have had white walls in our old apartment, but I also didn’t spend twenty hours painting them. When something breaks, I no longer get to pass along the information (and bill) to an outside party to take care of my problems. When a dent or crack forms, I know I’m going to be the one fixing it.

At the same time, the home is ours—sage walls, white trim and all. And if I want to spend hours and hours with the windows open, the crisp Alaskan summer air rushing through while I paint, I can. And if I want to spend many of the next 24 hours reading a book start to finish, I can. For summer—with all its flexibility—is fleeting. And responsibility of a different kind will knock on my door soon enough once again.

(But at least this time, the doorframe will be white.)

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