It’s that time of year again (read decade) when I foolishly decide to embark on a bit of decorating. This time, my bedroom was the lucky culprit. To be fair, I’ve lived in my house for 16 years, and my bedroom is the only room that has never had a makeover. So it was due. I’d recently told a friend that all I wanted was a beautiful bedroom, so that when I’m next sick, I’d have ‘somewhere nice to be ill’. You know, nice scenery if one was confined to bed. I’d forever call it ‘the boudoir’, drape myself across the bed with a wet flannel over my eyes, and be fed grapes by my children. Nothing unusual about that. So I thought I’d broach the subject with the hubster. It started out by me saying, ‘I wish I had a lovely bedroom for my Christmas present – y’know, somewhere I can retreat to.’ (I didn’t mention the being-ill-fantasy). And, oddly enough, he agreed. That was it; the wheels were set in motion. Normally he just ignores these requests whilst I talk to the back of his head when he’s at his computer, but not that day. He knew the bedroom was due too. My husband ordered the new wardrobes, the new bed, and the carpet – bosh, bosh, bosh. All scheduled to arrive in a very short time-frame. All I had to worry about was redecorating the room (you can’t really have new furniture and carpets without a new colour on the walls). So, with my eldest daughter’s offer of assistance, I readily agreed. It was just a lick of paint, right? Wrong.
As is always the case when I start a DIY project, I’m initially very positive about my progress and stunning attention to detail. I painstakingly do the ‘cutting in’ on the wall edges, I deftly roller the walls with emulsion, I intricately paint the skirting boards with gloss. Then I’ll think, ‘Hmm, I’m pretty good at this painting lark. I ought to start a decorating company. People will flock to me because I’m a woman, who can be trusted not to do a bodge-job or rip people off…”. But that’s on day-one of my decorating reverie. By day-two, I am full of vicious rage; kicking pots of emulsion and gloss across the room. ‘F*** this! F*** that! F*** everybody! I hate you all!”
So, consequently, I have decided NOT to start a decorating company. After two days of being on my hands and knees with my nose pressed up against a dado-rail, trying to decipher where brilliant white ends and pebble shore begins, I didn’t ever want to see a pot of paint or a paintbrush again. Still, at least the painting malarkey is done, and if you don’t look too closely, the walls look great. Anyway, then came the really difficult part. The carpet.
When you agree to have a room re-carpeted, you forget that you’re agreeing to ensure the room is ENTIRELY EMPTY before the carpet fitter comes around. Where do you put it all? All your years of accumulated crap? In the west wing, perhaps? Emptying a room of its contents is easier said than done, well it is in my house, living with the husband I do. It’s safe to say he’s a bit of a hoarder. I once asked him if I could throw away a burst rugby ball, yet he ‘ummed and ahhed’ over it for ages, and said he might need it. This is the man who bought the box for a ‘Gladiator’ TV show board game from a boot-sale; not the game, the box. Just in case he ever came across the actual game itself at another boot-sale. Because the two items together ‘might be valuable’. That’s if he ever found the board game, mind you. This is what I have to work with, people. I keep watching these programmes on TV about hoarders who have houses so over-filled with crap, firemen have to tunnel their way in past walls of newspaper to rescue the occupant from their years of obsessive accumulation. I keep telling my husband that if I ever left, that would be him. Except they’d have to rescue him from beneath old games consoles, vinyl records, and toy robots. Anyway, that’s a WHOLE blog subject all of its own. And to be fair, as far as my bedroom was concerned, I wasn’t entirely blameless for the build-up of uselessness.
I came across stacks of coursework and literature from study days of years gone by; stuff regarding healthcare work that I have NO INVOLVEMENT IN WHATSOEVER anymore. And never will again, I’ll wager. Not now that I’m going to become a professional painter/decorator, anyway. Oh wait…I decided against that career-change, didn’t I? Anyway, I cannot imagine what I was thinking. That ‘I may need this one day’ gene is a dangerous thing. I mean, where do you draw the line? After a while, I decided to be ruthless. However, I found a shoe box of old letters which made me pull up short. Are you supposed to keep old letters? From everybody? People don’t even write letters anymore. Okay, maybe keep old love letters from your husband (I promise you, husband, I kept those). But what about somebody you knew as a kid who moved to America and then wrote you one solitary letter as a pen-pal before giving up on the ‘keeping in touch’ lark? And if you do keep all those letters, WHERE do you keep them? Honestly. I was torn between ‘Memory Lane’ and ‘I-Don’t-Give-a-Sh** Road’. Torn, I tell you. So eventually, we cleared the room, the carpet-fitters came, and after about forty minutes and their pockets £70 heavier, they left. The carpet did indeed look lovely. It was just a shame that the fitters had bashed half the white paint off my newly decorated skirting boards *furiously kicks another pot of gloss across the room*.
Next came the furniture. All flat-packed stuff from your favourite Swedish furniture seller and mine. Since I and my daughter had done the bulk of the decorating, I’d hoped to have buggar-all to do with the building of any of it. But of course, that was a fantasy. Most of the building was a two-man job; not me merely holding things in place – but actually screwing stuff together. I know! First of all, the experience seemed acceptable enough. I even toyed with the idea of starting a company which collected and built other people’s flat-packed furniture for them. But after about an hour…you guessed it… ‘F*** this! F*** that! I hate everybody!’. We spent four hours on the bed base alone. No joke. When we reached the last box, which we assumed to be ready-threaded bed slats (all pre-made, just to roll out over the bed), we had a nasty surprise. We had to individually thread each one of a g’million slats through a peace of webbing, and force it into a rubber slots on each end – than Allen key the b***ard thing together. But although hard work, the building wasn’t so bad. The Fleurgenshmoffenschmut wardbrobes and the JJJJorgenbaaarrtenladen bed (or whatever they were called), although technically challenging at times, fit together just how they were supposed to. Then I went to work and left my husband to build a sh**-load of drawers.
So, the room isn’t exactly finished, and I can’t show you a before and after picture as such – because it’s still a work in progress. But the bedroom is definitely coming together and we’re on the final leg. All the pain has been worth it. This hellish nightmare will not long be over. All bar putting back the tonnes of crap that I’ve previously pulled out – that could take until Christmas in itself. But it will be great, lying in my new bed, staring at my new, unblemished walls and super-shiny wardrobes, as I cough my guts up with my upcoming bout of flu. I can just feel it. The stars are aligning, people, they’re aligning.
PS: Thanks to my eldest daughter who did more than her fair share of wall-painting (now she can’t sue me).
PPS: Thank you, husband, for all your hard work, your building skills are second-to-none.
PPPS: I don’t really want flu or any other type of illness, honest. I had my flu jab and everything. I enjoy being healthy.