Monday, December 30, 2013

Deck the Halls with Sawdust and Paint Fumes

I hope your holidays have been merry and free of pukes. I am proud to report that we only had one puker this Christmas break, and that puker was King Peter the Boy, who is the best sick person in the entire world. Case in point: She threw up once in the middle of the night, came down to matter-of-factly report this to her parents, then bossed the virus out of her system. I am always in awe of her force of personality, and it is never more evident than when she is sick. Everyone else around here gets violent man-colds, so her short-lived illnesses are almost a relief.

Anyway, we stayed home for Christmas, as we always do, and celebrated as quietly and easily as we could. May I say here that I follow a LOT of home DIY bloggers on Pinterest, and the holidays are when their projects reach a fever-pitch and all I can do is watch my feed in amazement and say, "Ain't nobody got time for that." Seriously. These women must be exhausted, and their poor families must be neglected. We put up the tiniest tree known to man, limited our kids' gifts to three each (and those three were all really basic and subdued and--guess what--THEY WERE HAPPY), went to a couple of events around town, and spent the rest of our evenings reading or occasionally watching movies. It was bliss. There was nary an elaborate garland or mason-jar-chalkboard gift label (seriously) to be seen, and somehow we made it through happy and joyous. Amazing.

As is tradition in our household, we embarked on elaborate home projects after Christmas was done and have thus subjected ourselves to all the exhaustion and frustration we were trying so desperately to avoid leading up to Christmas itself. It's how we roll!

This year my big (very big) gift from my husband is a handmade farmhouse table for our dining room. No joke, guys. He is making me a table. It's amazing, and I have been in awe of his focused progress and hitherto latent carpentry skills. At this point we're at the polyurethane, then wait forever, stage, but all of the pieces are together and just waiting to dry and get put together.

At the same time he is building this in our now sawdust-encrusted basement, I am painting King Peter the Boy's room as she has been visiting her grandparents in Michigan for the past few days. The Professor just shook his head and sighed loudly when I proclaimed my intention to paint her room, but honestly, despite the weariness and dizzying paint fumes, mixed with the stain fumes wafting from the basement, I'm glad I tackled it. I love my daughter, but she is a handful, and painting her room with her in the house would have been an impossibility. The three boys have been happily independent and very patient with their distracted parents, but adding her to the mix would have basically blow all of my plans out of the water. (Not to mention her bossiness; I can only imagine the directions for elaborate unicorn murals I would have received had she been hanging around.)

So basically our house has gone to pot and we have been throwing whatever food we can find at our children as we each work tirelessly at completely separate huge home projects. Feel free to also shake your head and sigh loudly. The worst is behind me, so I can take it.

For now, this is what our dining room looks like:

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Note the lack of an actual table and the unsettling presence of virulently pink dresser drawers. When I say we have been throwing food at our sons, I mean it: We have been setting them on the floor and throwing food at them.

Our basement now houses BOTH of our tables! The Professor moved our old own down there to use as a workbench, and the new tabletop, which is drying from its first coat of polyurethane, sits on top of it. You can sort of see how it will look with its arched trestle underneath.

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Our basement is already a pit of despair, but we like to heighten that impression by building stuff in it, strewing sawdust everywhere, and using three different types of paints and stains in order to build up an intolerable level of fumes. We can't run our clothes dryer because the fumes are getting lit by the flame that burns the natural gas (I think I have that right), thus making our clothing reek of gas. Seriously, this has happened. Welcome to our lives.

If you look to the other side of the basement, you can see the other two trestles and a headboard.

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Those trestles are boss, man. My husband rocks.

I don't think I'm adequately conveying how busy we've been since the day after Christmas, but things are finally settling down. C's room is painted at least, and while there are still lots of finishing touches to be made, at least I don't have to deal with her trying to interfere with the trickiest and most time-consuming part of transforming a room. I'll of course show you the final products of our labors, but bear with me, as the fumes have made me slow and stupid.

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal. And a happy new year, too.

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