Friday, September 28, 2012

Getting Real About DIY: Painting the Kitchen Part I

The before: the navy blue light-sucking interiors must go.
Zoom in if you love chips and peeling paint!

Today is my last day of a week of vacation, but it felt more like time served for bad behavior. My crime? I decided to repaint my kitchen cabinets, a critically-needed step in the world’s longest kitchen reno.

This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision. I’ve hated the navy blue insides of these cabinets since I first saw them when touring the house. They just suck all the light out of the room and are hideous. But worse than that, is that the white paint covering the outside of the cabinets was chipping and wearing off -- not a good look.

So the big paint job started on Monday. In retrospect, I should have started earlier and done more over the weekend. I did some packing and removed some of the shelf liners, but there was much, much more prep to be done.

Here’s the thing about DIY. Most TV shows and blogs gloss over the gory details. I mean sure, we all know projects take longer than the 30-60 minute show, and way longer than you plan for them to take, but who talks about just how horrid they can be at times? For the amount of work involved, I think there is far too little whining going on. Cause kids, this stuff can really suck. Taking painting kitchen cabinets for instance. I’ve been working on my kitchen about as much as I do at my regular job each day, only the kitchen work is much more physically demanding. It’s also messy, disruptive and causes you to need to bend in weird ways for long periods of time, which for me equals a lot of soreness. Which calls for a lot of booze, purely for medicinal purposes of course.

Here’s the breakdown of the work so far:

What chu doin to my kitchen, Willis?

Monday - Finished packing and emptied pantry. Have various kitchen crap stashed throughout house. Removed all hardware (by hand cause I can't find the darn drill!), doors, latches, drawers, and shelf liners (the adhesive kinds of shelf liners are the devil!). Used half a bottle of Goo Gone trying to remove the adhesive from those devilish shelf liners. Can we all just agree to never use those again? Finally, hung plastic and started sanding in the afternoon. After work the boyfriend removed some molding, filled holes and gaps and made a couple trips to the home improvement store while I continued sanding.

Tuesday - Spent five more hours sanding and scraping cabinets! That’s a helluva lotta sanding people - I ended up looking rather smurf like and was covered in blue dust. This included an inordinate amount of time spent trying to sand off remaining adhesive from those blasted shelf liners. Stop the insanity with the shelf liners! Started cleaning around four in the afternoon and finished wiping every cabinet, surface, appliance and mopping floor around 7:30 p.m. before hobbling to the shower.

Wednesday - Scrubbed cabinets with TSP for FIVE HOURS. Spent a ton MORE time scrubbing off remaining #%$(^U*(!!! adhesive. Dreamed of ways to kill whomever put down the damn shelf liner in the first place. Used de-glosser liquid to de-gloss a few more spots that I couldn’t reach with sander. Finally started painting around 4:30. Boyfriend came home and helped me paint for a few hours, and thanks to that we got a primer coat on everything but two cabinets. The carpal tunnel is really kicking in tonight, hoo boy.

This is also when the cats really started to rebel at being trapped in the basement. I don't understand it, there is an entire other living room down there, it's hardly Alcatraz, but they scream bloody murder half the day. At one point I thought someone had broken in and was dismantling the basement, but no it's just a pissed-off cat apparently attempting to shake the door of its hinges. Door wins, for now.

We's exhausted!

Thursday - Took the morning to recoop, but still managed to get a second coat of primer on all the cabinet boxes. Was starting to feel better about things, but then I remembered I haven't even touched the 14 doors and 4 drawers that need to be painted before kitchen is really back to normal. Beg boyfriend to go get more booze so I have beer to cry into.

Friday - Sanded and scraped a few drips from priming (oops). Time for the real paint which is exciting, but my motivation is at an all time low. Tried out a new roller cover and the results almost made me cry they were so horrid. The thought of two more days of painting is almost more than I can take. Finish getting coat of paint on cabinets thanks to help from boyfriend but am dismayed that vacation is officially over and I have at least another solid day of painting left. Dear god let it end soon.

----to be continued....if I make it.....

Friday, September 7, 2012

Stop the Insanity: Stuff Pushing Parties

1960s Tupperware Party, Wikipedia

It starts out innocently enough. A friend invites you over for a party. There will be snacks, lots of friends and family and, oh yeah, the opportunity to try some really great products!

There's always a catch.

Maybe I've just been sheltered, but it feels like the stuff pushing party circuit is picking up steam again. First it was Tupperware starting in the '50s, today it's Pampered Chef, Longaberger, Thirty-One, IT Works body wraps (I shit you not, that's a real thing)...the list goes on. Different brands that all rely on the same model: guilt your friends and family to come over and buy crap, so the hostess can get some free crap or a little extra cash. It all smacks of socially-acceptable peer-pressure drug-dealing parties, only the drug of choice is overpriced crap you don't need.

The whole scheme is dripping with guilt. Some of my friends feel they must absolutely accept any invitation they get, unless they have a conflict. And if you go, well, then everyone knows you must buy something, and it's not likely to be cheap. Out of guilt, I've browsed the stuff catalogs and have yet to see one things I would want to buy. In the Pampered Chef catalog and was unable to find a single kitchen gadget for less than $15, which is kind of pricey in my book for a vegetable peeler. Or take Thirty One, where you can get a monogrammed plastic lunch bag for double to triple the price you would pay at your local Target. Or maybe you need a not-so-stylish purse for $140. I'm gonna repeat that: ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY DOLLARS. I felt guilty last week when I paid $20 for a purse I really liked after weeks of fruitless purse hunting trips at the thrift store. But hey, if you wanna be organized and trendy, you're going to have to shell out the cash.

We're supposedly in an economic downturn, with budgets slashed to the core, and we feel it's perfect okay to ask our friends and family to buy extremely overpriced (mostly useless) crap so we can make a few bucks? Sometimes I just want to ask if I can give the host $20, keep my Saturday afternoon and we call it even.

I'd love to know how much money people really make in these ventures. I've never hosted any of these parties, so maybe it's a lot more than I think. But even so, aren't there better ways to make extra money than  direct-selling stuff to your friends and family? Do freelance, work overtime, slash some luxury items from your budget, sell some clutter, cut cable, anything, anything seems preferably to joining the home-party circuit.

Maybe it's just me, because I hear a lot of people waxing ecstatic about how awesome these products are. Some people gladly line up to fork over their hard-earned cash for a $20 flat iron cover. Don't get me wrong, if you absolutely love any of these brands and are dying for the latest and greatest, then by all means, shop til you drop. But I personally wish people would re-think the "guilt-the-people-you-love" business model.

Does the entire concept of stuff-pushing parties bother anyone else?


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