Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Room upset: Phases Two and Three

It's kind of hard to know where one of these phases starts and another one ends.  But here's the skinny.

Elsie's room in progress.
We have Elsie's room mostly emptied out.  We have a full sized mattress on the floor on which the littles are temporarily sleeping, since their former room is now the family room.  We left two dressers in there which Sophie and Stella may or may not use.  We can work around them for now. 

We have scrubbed from the ceiling and walls of the walk-in closet under the stairs a frightening black mural which Elsie called an owl.  And her representation of the wind, which I thought was the flames of hell from which various emaciated arms and hands reach out.  This mural was done on white paint in black paint.  Oh, and the paint was very thickly applied tempera paint. 

Sophie said, "I am NOT moving in down there until that haunted closet is fixed!"

I had bought a primer sealant to put over the black paint.  But.  Alas!  The thickly applied tempera simply smeared and smudged into the primer.  Spottily.

The owl on the slanting ceiling, the wind on the side wall.    I should add that Clara added the white heart when she was trying to see how the primer would coat.
Clara and I used about 20 buckets half full of soapy water to wash most of the tempera off.  It's not all off, as you can see.  But the smeary and smudgy part is removed to allow the primer to adhere and cover well.  I eventually got quite a system down.  I had two buckets of water and three rags.  I'd wet a small area of the tempera with one rag, totally soaking it.  I'd scrub that same area with the second rag.  I'd rinse those two rags in one bucket, and then repeat.  This left the water in one bucket totally saturated with black.  I'd then use the other bucket to do a thorough rinse, rinsing the black from the rag every few strokes.  By that time I'd need to dump the water and rinse the rags under running water.  And start again an another small area. 

Elsie, ... I know, I know.  You are an artist.  You inherited from your Dad the irrepressible urge to apply your artwork directly onto the walls.  You're probably too young to remember the Grecian Lady Dad put on his office wall in our house in Mankato.  But please, ... Do the J.'s a favor when you start feeling artistic while you're living in their home.  Use paper.  Oh, and in the future, ... when you do feel the need to do a wall mural, .. use acrylics.  Please.  It can be covered much more easily than can tempura. 

So, where was I?

Aha, the downstairs bedroom.  After the closet clean-up, it kind of took the wind out of our sails.  We got the edgework painted on the ceiling, but after that, the work has simply sat.  And waited.  I've been doing other things.  We had some church activities, John's birthday, and much catching up to do around the rest of the house.

But yesterday I finally got to some of the bigger projects once more.  I started to fold the heaps and mountains of clean but mostly unfolded laundry in the basement, in what is currently called our family room but really is just a catch all.  Boxes and bins and half sorted projects. 

I refolded and sorted several bins of bedding.  Blankets, sheets, pillow cases, car pillows, mattress pads, table clothes, etc, etc.  It's been sorted many times, but never completely put away.  With this many beds, it's a real challenge remembering which of the extra sets go on which beds.  I never know where to put it away.  And so it sits.  When someone needs a clean set, I send them down to the stacks, which are soon disrupted and askew.  The needed clean sheets or blankets are found eventually.  But the stacks and piles and bins gradually become less and less sorted and folded. 

I folded several loads of towels.  Since we recently got our Duane towels unpacked, I'm weeding through the older ones to see what's suitable to donate, what can be used for household rags, what can be passed on for shop rags, and what needs to go to the burn pile.  And then just the regular sorting that comes with four bathrooms and a kitchen.

What are Duane towels, you may ask?  Joe and I each had towels when we married.  We had also found a box of towels in one of the apts Joe lived in.  We got some towels for our wedding.  And about a week or two after we got married, one of our good friends brought us a case of towels.  Really.  From Sam's Club which was the latest new thing at that time.  Two of each of four colors and three sizes.   They were beautiful.  But with our already sufficient towel situation, and with our apartment living, we simply packed them away.

"We'll use them someday," thought I.  "It will be a treat to pull our these wonderfully plush and matching sets of towels somewhere down the line."  I recalled when I was young, with all the kids, it seemed like our towels were often a bit raggedy.

With the trend these days of people redoing their bathrooms somewhat frequently, we've also seemed to have a constant influx of really nice hand-me-down towels.  We've never had to break out the Duane towels.  After we moved up north here, anticipating much company coming to see us in the very sizable parsonage, I washed up that case of Duane towels and packed them away in an accessible tote bin to use for guests.  They've been used a few times.  But mostly they just sit.  We don't really get much company up in this remote area of the country.

And so it's time.  Joe and I just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.  It's time to break out the Duane towels.  They are so wonderful!  What a treat!

Getting back to yesterday's cleaning, however, after the towels were folded and sorted, I bagged up two big hefty bags of older throw pillows and afghans and throw blankets.  Somehow we get so very many of this sort of thing.  Nothing matches.  It's all soiled, torn, dated looking, worn.  Really, we don't need to hang on to all of this.  Oh, that felt good to get rid of some of that.

Ugh!  The mountain of laundry that remains.
By the time I was done with that and had only the regular laundry left to fold, the pile was substantially reduced.  The old mattress from Louisa's room has been leaning against the family room wall.  But more accurately it's gone through a steady repetition of me leaning it on the wall, the kids jumping and climbing on it, it sliding down the wall for further climbing and jumping.  And then I put it back up and the process starts again. 

"Why do this, Mary?

"Because it's going to be John's bed when we get this room fixed up." 

"Why don't you just clear out the corner of the room and put the mattress down and make it up into a bed?   He can sleep in it, and perhaps if it looks like a bed, it will be subjected to less jumping."

"Oh, novel idea, Mary!"

And so, after having this little talk with myself, I did just that.  I brought his mattress down from upstairs, too, from the walk-in closet he calls his bedroom while pining for a real room.

The one complete corner of John's new room
John has a nice little bed now, in the corner of the family room.  The walls were painted last spring, but I see they could probably use another coat already.  The carpet needs to be cleaned.  And the remaining laundry needs to be folded and gotten out of there.  Then we'll arrange dressers and shelves in such a way to offer him some privacy.  It's hard to be the only young boy among the seven girls.  The other two boys are so much older, John often feels like he has no brother.  And he kind of tends to get tucked into whatever space is available. 

John's closet room
Bedroom Hallway
Entry Hallway

No comments: