Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sweat, Paint, and Tunes

Few things make you feel as good about yourself as the occasional weekend of manual labor. Don't get me wrong, I'd much rather lounge around playing the latest FPS game or hanging out on the beach, but that feeling right after completing a large project is pretty rewarding. I was able to savor that feeling recently. My fiancée and my parents came over to paint my place in preparation for her moving in next month. 16 hours on Saturday and another 10 Sunday of nothing but painting. It took me a week to recover!
I patched up the many holes in my walls, removed the ceiling stars the previous owners had in place for the kid's room, and through out a bunch of my old stuff in preparation for the weekend. All that prep made the painting go much quicker, though it was still no small task.
I had never painted before, at least not in a setting where I cared about the result, so there were a lot of learnings that took place. Here are a few of them in case you haven't done much either.
  • Use plenty of that blue painters tape. It takes a lot of time to tape stuff down, but saves a lot of time when cleaning up. There is a school of thought that careful painters don't need tape, that may be true, but until you've done a lot of painting, that isn't you.
  • Flat paint seems to cover better than many primers or other finishes. I went with flat for the first coat in the room that had the most obnoxious color, and it worked like a charm. A second coat of eggshell took care of the color in a hurry.
  • Don't do it alone. It makes a huge difference to have someone one step ahead of you on laying plastic on the floor or helping tape, the more you can keep moving the better.
  • Play the latest Linkin Park album LOUD. Good tunes will make you more productive.
The end result of the weekend is a house that looks fantastic. The walls are clean, look brand new, and the entire house reeks of paint. What more could you ask for out of a successful project?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Replace and Upgrade?

My fiancé had a wedding shower this weekend. We had registered at a few places before, and I was involved in the selection of all of the stuff (of course there is no DeLorean dealer to register at and electronics stores don't have wedding registries), but I must say, seeing some of it start to come in is a little weird. It's supposedly "our" stuff, but none of it looks like me. Weird huh? I was the one that helped to pick this stuff out. It's legitimately nice stuff, which is great, it just isn't me. If you've ever been over to my place, you would know what I mean. I currently have 25 year old furniture, 30+ year old dishes, nothing hanging on the walls, and only a few possessions (mainly technology related) that are of any value. That is all I've known and now it is all changing. I suppose most people would consider that an upgrade and I guess it is. It is just strange because I've never really put much value on that stuff and now here I am, becoming the typical "normal" middle class American, and I don't feel like that is me. At least, it has never been me.

Change is inevitable, I know that. I can't continue living as I do forever. No one with the exception of me likes living like this and I've known that if I got married this way of life would all change. Still, I like the way I live a lot and I can tell that I'm going to have a hard time letting it go. I've been trying to figure out what is going to be the biggest adjustment for me as a married man, and while I still can't give a definitive answer, I know that the dramatic change in the way I live is something I'm scared of and is going to be a huge adjustment for me.