Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Redecorating Visions!

Every now and then I get a bug to "redecorate". I seem to forget about all the aches and pains and endless days of preparation associated with the last "decoration" attempt and with visions of a "new look" in my eyes, I forge ahead.

Well, forging is not quite the word. I think about my new project for a couple of minutes, decide that yes, something needs to be done, go about obtaining the proper supplies (which, on an island is another chore onto itself), and then put the job off for a while in order to contemplate a little more of what it is that I have in mind. In this case it was contemplation for a full year!

So, here I am, painting my bedroom floor and now how I wish I had a crew to do this job so that I would not have to do it. But, that is not going to happen and so, after putting it off for too long, I'm on my hands and knees applying paint.

The bad thing about a project of this scope is that my house is small .... well, it is perfectly fine for the two of us and I love the size, normally. But when one has to move one's bedroom furniture to another "holding" area, the house suddenly becomes cluttered. Now, I'm a very organized person and basically tidy so this upheaval (of my own making unfortunately) is very disturbing to my sense of having my house look neat and tidy at all times. My husband keeps commenting that I must be expecting House Beautiful to show up and photograph it and I say "one must be prepared."

When we built the house the first floor was exposed to the sun longer than we anticipated and the floor boards dried and shrunk up thus causing larger than wanted seams. Then, I had the original job of sanding and applying varnish to all the louvered windows before they went in and we chose the bedroom area to do that job. Well, of course some varnish spilled on the floor and there are a few unsightly spots that would not look well if one varnished the floor. So, the long and short of it was that we did not varnish any of the floors and left them bare to do later (big mistake).
Ultimately, my son, who was visiting us about a year ago for a month, was encouraged to take on the duty of preparing and varnishing the living room/kitchen/laundry area floors. He took it in stride and since he was here with free room and board for a month, he did the job in his usual happy, efficient manner. Those rooms look beautiful and I am eternally thankful for him taking on the job and sparing me the aches and pains.

However, now I'm stuck with a bedroomfloor that has to be painted because of the stains on the floor. Well, I purchased a can of paint about a year ago and found out, upon opening the can, that one cannot keep paint that long and expect it to be in the same state as it was when purchased.

Problem #1: thin out the paint and make it workable. Again, living on an island causes more time to be spent on any project than one would normally expect. We started thinning the paint and ran out of paint thinner. This required a trip to town to obtain the thinner and that is an hour job in itself. Got the thinner and mixed it with the paint but the paint still maintained a grainy look. Ok, I said, I've got to work with this because to get another can of paint (expensive I purchase I might add) was out of the question.

I swept and mopped the bedroom floor and prepared 1/2 of the room for the onslaught. First, my husband decided that we needed to caulk the seams in the floor so that dirt would not settle down inbetween boards and the all-over appearance would be improved. Ok, I said, and we began that process.

By the way of preparation, one must painstakingly remove 8 years of dust that has accumulated in these cracks by using some sort of tool (a nail or screw driver) and scrape the debris out of the cracks and sweep it up. Then one must bend over (ugh) and apply the caulk which has been sitting for a couple of years and in spite of still being plyable, takes a lot of strength to get out of the tube. Of course we ran out of caulk and I had the challenging duty of calling a hardware store in LaCeiba, getting someone who could speak English, determing that they had the caulk and explaining that I wanted it shipped via the airlines to Guanaja. Of course they were happy to oblige, after I went to the bank, transferred money to their account, faxed them a copy of the transfer and then called them to inform them all of this had been accomplished. Then it was a two day wait while they made sure they had the fax and then took it to the airline office who also had to wait a day before putting it on the plane!
We finished the caulking job with sore backs and decided we would wait a couple of days to paint and give my back a chance to strengthen itself for the next job.

Now to the paint, remember it is a year old. I found out that the paint will work except that one has to brush it over an area far longer than normal to work out the small capsules of pigment that seemed to have clumped together. Now, being a "Senior Citizen," getting down on ones hands and knees for prolonged periods is quite a feat, not to mention a "Senior Citizen" in menopause. I soon discovered that I was dripping large drops of sweat onto the floor and this would not do. So I put on a bandanna around my forehead and had another one in my pocket for quick face wipes and continued on with the job at hand.

Finished the first half of the floor and waited two days for it to dry. As luck (thank goodness) would have it, the weekend was upon us so I got two more days reprieve before applying the second coat. However, sleeping in a room freshly painted was quite an irritant. The first night after painting, I awoke at about 1:30 a.m. (probably due to the smell, my hot flashes and the need to go to the bathroom) and could not fall back asleep so plodded out to the computer and kept myself occupied with various catch-up jobs I had put off!

Now, after the second coat to the floor, here I am again, this time at 3:30 a.m., at the computer, because I could not sleep. At least the first 1/2 of the floor is done and now, lucky me, I get to move the furniture from one side of the room to the other and tackle that part. Plus, I should do the closet and apply another coat to the bathroom (off the bedroom) which is the same color and was painted about 4 years ago. The job gets bigger and bigger and I have no choice but to finish or have my house in total upheaval, and this I cannot tolerate! So, no excuses, back to work.

At some point this week, I hope to have most of this job completed and I can return my rooms to their normal appearance and admire my accomplishment. I will take a photo so I can share my accomplishment with others and sit back and be happy with a job well done.

One problem, however. Because the paint was thinned out so much it went from glossy to dull and now I feel I have to apply a top coat of polyurethane to give it a shine.......or maybe not!


  1. Well your house *is* beautiful, and does have the appearance of something from Tropical Homes Magazine, I'll give you that. I just didn't realize that it took so much work!

    Non-Guanajans may not fully understand the ordeal of getting something so simple as a tube of caulk which, if not available "in town" must be gotten from the mainland. The procedure you have to go through is just incredible.

    Ah, but it's all part of the "fun" of living on an isolated, tropical island, no?

    The place looks great. But you really need to get that lawn mowed ;)

  2. I like the color, it's cooler looking. The polyurethane would protect the paint from being scratched from furniture or sand on shoes.

    Lot of work though.