Home improvement projects are a lot like childbirth. You're so enthralled with the end product that with time, it's easy to forget how much labor was involved. Or at least how intense and sustained the labor was.
When we first bought the house, every summer brought a new project, mostly within the realm of painting and/or wallpapering. When my daughter was small, this tradition continued. She'd go down for a nap, and I'd start stripping wallpaper.
As naptimes subsided, but the energy required to entertain a preschooler did not, my enthusiasm for home improvement projects waned. We had some professional work done to the house during this time period - most notably an addition and a patio - and organization projects began to replace those involving sweat and climbing ladders.
Now, at thirteen, my daughter is old enough to help. We've lived in the house for almost 17 years, and the projects that improved our house in summers past are starting to show their age. So, on tap for this summer is repainting the dining room and my daughter's bedroom.
My husband wanted to hire someone to repaint the whole house, and if I'd had any sense, I'd have smiled, nodded, signed the check and kept my mouth shut. But I thought my daughter and I could handle it.
And we can - we are. She's much more capable than I gave her credit for (in my defense, my doubts arose from the fact that she's never wielded a paint roller, not that she lacks talent), which almost makes up for the fact that I'm much older than I gave myself credit for.
But I've still got it. It takes me longer, and I mind the trips up and down the ladder more - and sooner - than I did seventeen years ago, but that's to be expected. I've also done this enough to know when it's time to stop, and that ignoring the signs that tell me this will undoubtedly lead to mistakes and messes.
One of the dining room walls (project #1) needs one more coat of paint, but the early results are promising. There's a lot of edging and trim work left, which I hope will improve my husband's opinion of the color choice (with which he assisted, I hasten to add). As is typical, the project has increased in both scope and complexity since I started. (Let's paint that piece of furniture, too!)
We've already bought the paint for my daughter's bedroom, so there's no turning back. Let's just hope that the adrenaline carries me through.
Otherwise, I may need an epidural, which would definitely make it even trickier to climb that ladder.