Monday, September 26, 2011

Slow and Slightly Unsteady

One Year ago, plus eleven days, I began the biggest transformation my home has ever experienced. Dehoarding doesn’t happen in just an hour like on TV.  It takes a while.  My mentor, Mrs. Passion, warned that it would take 6-9 months.  I’m at the year mark and still not done.  I blame it on life.  Six kids and a crazy schedule tends to shoot the best laid plans out of the water.  You know the whole two steps forward, one back. 

However, I am still progressing – in the right direction as well.  I’ve been itching to show you progress, but I’m such a fruity-tootie perfectionist that I want to wait until everything’s done.  Then you’ll get the WOW effect to the oomph degree.  Now I’m kicking myself, because makeovers don’t happen in one post.  Unlike ‘Hoarding, Buried Alive’ on TV, the work to declutter can take weeks, and sometimes months, and in my case I’m now in it a whole year.  One of my biggest lessons:  Procrastination equals Pain… and anxiety.  Neither of which is fun to deal with.  In the past I’d bury them with more projects and stuff.  Now I’m confronting them head on.  I still don’t like pain.  But getting through it is finally worth more than letting it fester.

Case in Point:  Never, and I mean never let your house scream at you for a paint job like this.

summer 2649

Twelve years ago we paid an arm and a leg to have a professional paint it.  Within 5 years we noticed the paint bubbling, and three years ago we really knew it needed to be done.  But the unbloggable happened and stuff like painting the home retreats to the back of your mind.  When we started the whole transformation process a year ago we knew that our first outside order of business was to paint the home.  This summer we realized that if we didn’t tackle the project now we would be forking over thousands to replace the siding as well.

So began the most painful home improvement project we’ve tackled to date.  Believe it or not twice as stressful as retiling the kitchen floor.  What we thought would take a week has turned into four weeks of nightmarish adventure.  Add in the fact that we’ve never attempted a project to this magnitude which played into the tension as well.  We helped a friend paint her home and it only took 6 1/2 hours from start to finish.  Yes, a lot of people showed up to help.  It gave us a false sense of confidence that it would be easy-peasy.

We pressure washed our home for nearly three days trying to knock off all the chipped paint and not tear up the siding.  The results were disappointing.

summer 2690

Sure we got a lot of paint off but there was still too much chipped paint hanging on by a thread waiting to be scrapped.

summer 2691  Some of the siding didn’t survive and had to be replaced.  In replacing some of the siding we also discovered shortcuts taken by the original builders where they had cut corners, not laid down the vapor-barrier in full which led to rotten wood underneath the trim and siding near the bottom.  So some lower trim had to be totally ripped off.  Our efforts to save money by doing the job ourselves ended up costing us as much as paying someone else to do it.   But only because we had to replace damaged sections caused by our procrastination. The only redeeming note of comfort is that I don’t think a professional would have fixed the damage, just covered it up.

Abner, my boy, was my rock.  He and his friend Chet put in hours daily for nearly two weeks scrapping the paint down to this.


Our favorite tool of choice was an angle grinder with a steel wool bristle brush.  The paint sander attachments made for chipping off paint didn’t last nearly as long.  So we were thrilled with the recommendation of the steel wool attachment. 

summer 2692

Another hard lessons to learn was don’t buy cheap tools.  We burnt through the motors on two angle grinders and even a paint sprayer before we bit the bullet and bought the proper equipment.

Poor Abner had to also deal with the nasty heights.  Our home sits on a hill which makes two stories nearly three on the backside.  Thankfully we’ve the best friends in the world who loaned us scaffolding and ladders, ropes and harnesses.  Friends are the best.  So glad I’m not a recluse.


Triple glad I’ve got a son willing to help.

Then there was another couple of days spent caulking every corner, window, door,  and siding seam.

Since we were down to bare wood on two sides of our home it only made sense to prime before we painted.

We were blessed with some more wonderful help our first day of priming.  Our church was wrapping up a community service project for Northwest Day of Service and many members stopped by after the community project to give us a hand with our adventure.  It’s amazing how many hands can make quick work of taping up and priming.

Fall 002

And another lessons learned was…


Teenagers all will volunteer for any work if they get to be on a roof.  I had to pray like crazy that no one would get hurt.  I think I drove a couple people bonkers with my worry.  Sorry Prince Erik.


Here’s my manly men priming the back side of our home, while dancing on boards in the effort of trying to give me a heart attack.  I am not a fun person to be around when I’m worried.  Yet they survived me.

And as for the what our home looks like now…

Well, it’s painted…

mostly, except for the trim…

however… it’s raining…

but we beat the rain.  Our home is safe and protected and we learned some valuable lessons.

*  If you want something done right – do it yourself or find someone you really trust to do the job correctly.

*  Plan on it costing more than you thought.

*  Don’t skimp on tools.

*  Plan on it taking three times as long as you thought it would.

*  You’ll also be amazed at how many wonderful people there are that are angels on earth.  To the S.V.’s of the earth and especially to Abner’s friend Chet and his family.  They are the best sort of friends one can every hope for.   

*Abner learned he wants to get a great education to land a great job, earn some big bucks to pay someone else to do the work so that he will never have to ever do something like this again.  That’s my boy – he’s a dreamer like me after all.

There, now you know the before and during part.  I’m praying the liquid sunshine lets up so that I can show you the after pictures by Wednesday or Thursday.  Until then I’ve got to tackle the housework and laundry that’s been piling up while I was distracted outside.




Richins Family said...

The house looks amazing. I hope you truly learned your leason of putting things off. You are so blessed to have such great friends. They are hard to come by, but even more difficult is learning to be that sort of friend to others. Way to go Abner. What a truly amazing young man you are. Your parents are going to sorely miss you when you leave home. Love you all. HOpe the rain stops so that you can finish the trim. Loves.

Toni said...

I have missed you. ((hugs))

Jennifer said...

wow that looks like a huge project! Can't wait to see the after pictures :-)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

What a job! I'm glad you got some help with that project--painting a house looks so daunting and you've got all those angles, too!

elizajane said...

Glad you guys survived that huge project! I'm sure you are so relieved to have that done! Can't wait to see the finished product.

MiriamR said...

that is amazing! I can't imagine scraping all the paint off a house! Looks like you didn't cut any corners and its all going to be great in the end!

Spray Paint Queen said...

Oh my goodness, I feel ya on that. It took us 3 weeks to do ours. You got off a lot more paint than we did (more patience) and we also had to replace wood. Looks great!