Don’t Open Your Sunroof in the Rain and Other Life Lessons

 I’ve been wrapping up one project and plunging right into another, so my head is almost always someplace else.

 The thing I love best about my brain is the way it keeps problem-solving for my characters, even when I’m away from my desk and not entirely conscious of the thoughts that are spinning. The thing that annoys me is that when my brain is working out dialogue or checking for flaws in a new plot twist, the other things I’m attending to in autopilot mode don’t always get the most careful attention.

 I imagine my autopilot as a Jetsons-style robot who has a few bugs in her program. Of course, while I’m busy imagining my autopilot as an embodied entity, I’m probably also squeezing hand lotion onto my toothbrush.

 For example:

 – Driving back from the grocery story the other day, my car was unbearably hot and stuffy. Instead of playing with the air vents to get some fresh air, my hand reached up to open the sun roof. In a torrential downpour. Thankfully, I caught myself just in time.

 – On my way to writing group last week, I walked out to the garage without shoes on and didn’t notice until I actually got in the car and felt the brake pedal with my bare foot. (But I did successfully remember my pages, a plate of peanut butter cookies, and my car keys. I get points for that, right?)

 – While marinating some veggies to grill on Sunday, I somehow managed to pour almost an entire batch of salad dressing onto the kitchen floor.

 – I failed to check the weather when planning to grill and ended up on the back patio wielding metal tongs in the middle of a lightning storm.

 – I didn’t realize there was leftover coffee in the coffee pot and flooded the counter with dark roast when I started this morning’s brew.

 But oh, the characters who have come to life! I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Not even for a kitchen floor that isn’t slippery.

“Monday, Tuesday, shorts. . . “

J: Why are you wearing shorts?  It’s winter.

Me: The weather has no bearing on the laundry.

Fresh Paint

Before:

After:

Well, I had good reason for my blog silence. I’ve been hard at work redoing my office.

I’ve had paint swatches taped to my walls for over a year now. I couldn’t make a decision. And I couldn’t make myself important enough of a priority to justify the time and effort and expense of repainting. I worried that I couldn’t ever cover up the glossy dark orange-red paint on the walls. I worried I’d pick the wrong color. I didn’t know where to start.
Two weekends ago, I just started. I went into my office to file a few bills. Everything felt so dark and jumbled. I needed to reorganize and rearrange some furniture, but it was something I kept putting off, because I knew I needed to repaint. What would be the point of getting organized just to tear it all down and cover it with old bed sheets when I did finally paint? So, instead of filing, I moved all the furniture to the middle of the room and started priming the walls with a can of primer we had in the basement. I didn’t worry about picking a color. I just did it. And I’m so glad I did. I have space now. My office feels light and airy. It feels good to be in here.
And I totally picked the wrong color. The color on the swatch I chose looked like a greenish grey, and still did when they swabbed some paint from the can on the lid, but on the walls, it’s blue (the swatch in the room doesn’t look blue, btw, it’s not just the light in here). It’s not what I wanted, but it’s nice. It’s better than it was, and sometimes it’s okay to just get things almost right. Almost right is way better than feeling stalled and cramped in a dark, dreary room.
I still have to hang pictures, but I want to make sure I like the layout of everything before I do.
Here are a few of my favorite touches:
Wall decal by Shanna Murray.
I can’t get over how much it looks like it’s been hand painted! I ordered it for our living room, but never quite got around to putting it up, so I commandeered it for my office.
Before & After:
I keep my office/shipping/art supplies in an old dresser. It was scratched and dark, so I painted it with leftover wall paint. Because it blends in, I feel like I have a little more open space than I actually do.
I didn’t like the original knobs, so I refitted it with mismatched knobs I’d salvaged from our bathroom remodel and some cabinets in the basement.
The hanging lamp over the dresser came with the house and used to be in our bathroom. It looked absurd in there – a big gold and white hanging lamp right over the toilet. I rewired it, and cleaned it up a little.
I love the details of it. It’s very thick frosted glass and heavy cast metal, and it has to be older than me. It’s kitschy, but I think it’s the good kind of kitsch. I’m glad we didn’t get rid of it when we redid the bathroom.
I also saved the switch plate from our old bathroom. It has dogwood flowers on it, and it’s so much prettier than the plain white plastic ones we have in the rest of the house.
I like to outline story ideas I’m brainstorming on big sheets of paper I tape to the walls, but since I just painted and don’t want to put tape on the walls anymore, I painted the door and the closet doors with chalkboard paint. I have to wait three more days before I can write on them (according to the directions on the paint can), and I’m having such a hard time being patient!
It did take me the better part of a week to do everything. But I feel like I have a brand new room, and the only thing I bought was paint.
And this:
It’s a vintage paint-by-number painting I found at Trendy Bindi on Etsy. I think it’s probably about the same age as our house and the lamp, and of course, I love the subject.