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Lifestyles of the Poor and Average
by Paula Lonergan
Vol 1 Issue 2

I recently decided to do a little home improvement in my small one bedroom apartment. After eight years of living in the same place, the square footage seemed to be reducing more and more year after year. My husband tried to tell me it's the stuff I've accumulated. But, I think the apartment has shrunk. Nevertheless, I decided to make some changes and update my place. I've started with the painting of my walls.

I requested my manager to paint my bathroom. The dampness and condensation caused the paint to peel. He did it, all in one day. So I hunted around for cute little bathroom knickknacks and a rack for my towels to sit over the toilet. So my bathroom is all together and cute now.

The next room I needed to tackle was the utility room. Or at least that's what I call it. It is a small room between my bathroom and the kitchen. It has a sink and a door leading out to the back yard. With the painting of the bathroom being done by the manager, the painting of the rest of the house fell on my shoulders. What about my husband, you might ask? Well, his father is a carpenter and his brother is an electrician. Somehow the trade genes skipped my husband. I was happy to have this home improvement project, so I didn't mind doing it alone.

Prior to painting,
I walked around for two weeks carrying around color sample sheets from the paint store. I asked all of my friends, what you think of this color or that color? Finally, I settled on an orange-looking color called Valley Flower. It was not the 70s style orange, but a soft pastel orange. The trim and doors would be off white/beige.

So, I purchased the paint and a package of plastic sheeting to cover the floors. I borrowed a roller and a sponge paintbrush from a friend. Kindly, my manager purchased a new regular paintbrush for me. The night before my scheduled painting job, I took everything out of the little utility room and washed down the walls.

Initially, I was moving right along with the painting. I started painting the walls around me. Then, as I started to paint higher on the walls, I realized I couldn't reach the ceiling. Even with the roller attached to the pole, I still couldn't reach. I forgot a step ladder.

I stopped painting and frantically phoned two of my neighbors. One wasn't home. The other one answered and told me she didn't have a ladder. Well, I was not to be deterred. I looked around my apartment to see what I could use as a replacement for a ladder. The only thing I could find was the chair sitting in front of my computer. It was one I felt I could use without feeling bad about potentially ruining it. However, later I did have to explain the splotches of orange color on the chair to my husband. It was a chair that was a throwaway at my job. It wasn't like I paid money for the chair. Really, now.

There was one little glitch. The chair had rollers. It was a typical secretary chair, which you would normally roll around the office. It was all I had. So, there I was standing on a chair with wheels trying to paint wall in the corners and ceiling. Proudly, I finished painting the room without breaking my neck, although, I did have some close calls.

In the end, I think I had just as much paint on the floor, the rolling chair, and my sweat suit as I did on the walls. But it was MY paint job and I was pleased with it. The off white/beige contrast with the orange went together very well, if I don't say so myself.

The next day, I bought a remnant of material at an upholstery store and made some curtains for the small window on the door. So, regarding the painting, that's two rooms down. Four more rooms to go. I'm going to them. Promise, I think. Everything comes in time. Doesn't it? I'll soon get back in the mood of improvement. Won't I?

Next time, I know I'll need to prepare better. I'll make a checklist and make sure I haven't left out any important item, such as a stepladder. Life is all about living and learning anyway, I guess. By the way, does anyone know where I can get a step ladder for a cheap price? Maybe getting one will encourage me to finish my home improvements. Or maybe not.

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Write and tell me what YOU think at paula@prldesigns.com
June 19, 2003
Copyright 2003 Paula Lonergan.
All rights reserved.