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Oh, What Was I Thinking??

So between books, I had this very good plan. Clean out my office–I mean clean it–files, books, old papers, old manuscripts, notes, office supplies–well you get the point.

And then once I had streamlined the operation, I would move the kids out of their small bedroom into the larger room that was my office. They’d outgrown their shared space, and I was willing to downsize to accomodate them. It all was so magnanamous of me. (Mostly because to go down to the smaller room I would have to get new office furniture. Oh, poor me. Have to go shopping.)

So I dumped a recycle bin full of old notes and handouts and papers. I got rid of probably 100 books. Cleaned out old office supplies. The mismatched envelopes, the jumble of papers, the odd power cords, the broken scanner. And I was feeling so good about it. Downsizing was good! Packed up the rest, painted the office, and moved the kids in.

Then all I had to tackle was cleaning their room, paint it and move in. Sounds easy, huh? After all, I’d just knocked out painting a room for the kids in a Saturday… Then I met my Waterloo. Their room proved to be my Chapter 7. I had to clean and clean the walls. Patch the walls. Remember, room that once housed 2 boys. The paint slid all over the walls, necessitating 2 gallons of Raspberry, not the one I’d planned. Another trip to Home Depot. Another coat of paint. Then another. Another trip to Home Depot for primer for the rest of the room, having learned my lesson from Walls A and B. C and D are going to be Pineapple Fizz and I wasn’t going to let this Fruit filled haven of mine turn into my own personal Smoothie from Hell.

My two days of cleaning and painting have turned into 5. And here I sit, with a half painted office, no furniture and working on the dining room table, surrounded by boxes. And last night, as I was peeling back the blue painter’s tape and the paint was also peeling like a banana up the walls, I wondered at my sanity. I mean, what was I thinking? All this hard work, and I was behind schedule, the Behr paint was being a real bear to get up on the walls (and to get it to stay there) and I just wanted my old office back. My old life. Change was not the golden ticket that I thought it was going to be.

Right then and there I realized how much I have learned by writing books. Books take months to write. They take planning, they take inspiration, they take sweat equity to get through the tough parts. AS I said above, I’d hit Chapter 7. The smack middle of the book where the story stops looking appealing, the characters annoying and the story nothing but a pile of jumbled ideas that make no sense.

And so I did what every writer does when they hit that point. I got up this morning, took a deep breath, and remembered why I’d wanted to do this so badly. Because the boys needed the space. Because I wanted to clean out and have a smaller haven. A spot in this house that was my girlie bit of heaven in this land of men that I live in. I remembered that bit of inspiration I had in April, and that wonderful feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you know you are on to something. So with a roller in hand, I put up the primer I hadn’t planned on, and continued to say good things to my new office.

8 comments to “Oh, What Was I Thinking??”

  1. Haven Rich
    June 15th, 2007 at 8:46 am · Link

    Elizabeth, I’m sure it’s going to look wonderful!

    My problem with those type projects is getting the husband to help. I’m unable to lift things by myself and it really makes it hard when the husband thinks that his Sundays off are meant for being lazy. How he got that idea, I don’t know.

    However, I had a project like this, that was all mine. I decided to make a regency styled dress for conference. Should have been easy, after the brand new sewing machine was going to do all the work, I just had to set it up. Well, come to find out, the sewing machine thinks its special and needs certain needles to work properly on my material. So off to the store. Then it decided that it’d still jam up..just for fun and stuff.

    After several hours of trying to figure out what demon had possessed my sewing machine, I saw the error. A simple, tiny slip of the thread was causing all my trouble.

    This being after I had ripped so many seams and repaired them best I could with what the demonic machine was giving me.

    So finally, all I have left is the hand sewing of the lace edging I’m adding to it.

    I suppose this is that “mountain” we keep insisting looks like a small hill, but isn’t!

    Good luck with your office!

  2. Deborah
    June 15th, 2007 at 9:37 am · Link

    I moved into my house a year and a half ago. The idea of creating this wonderful haven of beauty and organization was my goal. Well, of the 12 painting projects I had in mind, only 3 are done. I keep saying, “this is the weekend I will paint x”, but then the weekend shows up, passes, and I’m looking at another painting mantra. It’s hard work. My least favorite part is putting up the painter’s tape. I can never get it in a straight line and my frustration level ticks up pretty quickly. But, this summer, I don’t know when, I will put on my comfy clothes, pick up my paint brush and get back to work on beautifying my space.

    Maybe . . .


  3. Shelly S.
    June 15th, 2007 at 12:41 pm · Link

    Oh Elizabeth! I can totally relate to your conundrum. After 25 years of talk about moving back to Washington, we finally took the plunge (all our family is here, after all!). So I left my wonderful, comfortable world (where I had FRIENDS, by the way, where everything was easy) and moved here.

    WHAT WAS I THINKING?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    I’m still pretty miserable (see the above references to winter storms–never got that much snow in LA!), but it is getting better. What I never expected was the way it would knock me off my feet in terms of my writing rhythm. I feel like a beginner all over again.

    Good luck with your Raspberry Room. You’ll love it in the end. You know you will! And here’s my philosophy: What good are dining room tables anyway if you can’t write on them?

  4. Keira Soleore
    June 15th, 2007 at 1:49 pm · Link

    Oh, Elizabeth, I feel for you. The only room we attempted for a complete do-over was while I was pregnant–New baby and all. We put up a chair rail, crown moulding, a narrow wallpaper border, and painted the walls and ceiling. Man, oh, man. The wood was the hardest. How do you hide the evidence of the nails? How do you treat nail holes in the walls? What is spray on texture? Then I decided to get fancier and sponge paint the bottom walls. Let’s just say, the paint dried and the room was all aried out, before the baby arrived.

    Would you consider Benjamin Moore paints? They’re expensive, but you need just two coats.

    With those colors, your room is going to be so cool. I can hardly wait to see the “after” pictures.

  5. Elizabeth
    June 16th, 2007 at 12:48 pm · Link

    Oh, thanks all for the commiseration on my painting woes. And yes, Keira, I love Benjamin Moore paints, but got wooed by the cheap price of Behr and the convinience of Home Depot. Not a smart move, but using primer seems to have helped.

    And yes, Deborah–I understand the moving in and planning to do all these things. I’ve moved into this house TWICE so you think I’d have more accomplished. I’ve been planning this switch for about a year and just needed that space of time I usually have between books to make it happen.

    Shelly, I hope you find new friends here in Washington. And yes, the weather is completely different than LA. We lived their for six months (during the winter as well) and my DH and I thought winter in LA was awesome compared to Seattle or his home state of Michigan. Where are you?

  6. Haven Rich
    June 17th, 2007 at 4:17 am · Link

    LA does get nothing but rain! All I can say is it’s a swamp of a place to live!

    Not to sound so unhappy in where I live, but I swear if it rains just one day in this upcoming week, you’ll hear me screaming!

    I have to agree, the winters are a good time, because it’s nice and comfortable. Although, the locals (yes I’m still referring to them as this) get all bundled up with huge jackets and I feel very out of place wearing shorts and t-shirts. And oddly enough, I’ve never lived up north, so I can’t blame it on being use to colder winters.

    Keira, I did a wood project in my bedroom once…made the room look like it had a fence type railing. Turned out really pretty too! The serect to covering up all the ugly nail marks and any other imperfections: puddy!
    You can’t really see the fence type look in this photo, but here is my white wooden slats with my light lavender walls that perfectly fit my Thomas Kinkade art (puzzle lol). http://havenrich.com/images/purple/black_dress2.jpg

    In any case, how’s the project coming along Elizabeth?

  7. AndreaW
    June 18th, 2007 at 6:03 am · Link

    This always happens to me. I plan something out (on paper or in my head) and it seems so easy….until I actually DO it.

    Looking forward to seeing the finished project, Elizabeth. Good luck! 🙂

  8. Elizabeth
    June 19th, 2007 at 9:14 am · Link

    Oh, Andrea, this is me to the T. I thought this whole move would be a breeze. It hasn’t been horrible, just a whole lot more work than I bargained for.

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