Instant home makeover: just add water

Were you to walk in my front door, you might stumble over two cans of paint, two cans of undercoat primer and a heap of painting paraphernalia.
It is a giant, embarrassing testament to the fact that I am a sap. I really thought I was utterly jaded, skeptical, harsh and dubious. I thought that I was immune to any persuasion that might come my way via television. I’ve been know to scoff at that very thing.
Saturday morning I relaxed for a bit, idly tuning in to the How-To-Remodel-Any-House and the Quick-And-Easy-Ideas-To-Redecorate channels. I sat mesmerized for about three hours, flipping between “I Can Make Over This House in One Day” and “Let Me Redo This Ugly Room in 10 Minutes,” “Cheap But Fabulous Design,” and “Any Fool Can Paint A Room.”
Suddenly, there appeared a long dormant and really irritating wide-eyed optimist and she took over my brain. This tiresome creature reared up and in a frenzy of faux-inspiration, dragged me straight down to the local do-it-yourself store. She made me do bad things. She made me go back twice.
If someone had slapped me, then asked, I would have admitted that I knew the paint scenes were fast-forwarded. I knew these were clever professionals who do this stuff every day of every week. I knew they had vast staffs of helpers. But somehow it just didn’t matter after a while. I saw them do amazing things they said only took them an hour. I saw them buy all sorts of cool stuff and still only spend $100.
What I didn’t see them do was ever have to go back to the store because they didn’t realize they needed a primer basecoat. I never heard them say, “Oh, this entire room will need to be washed down and sanded first, and that will take a week.” I never heard them mention the long list of rollers, brushes, corner brushes, edging sponges, can openers, mixing sticks and plastic sheeting that you have to accumulate for even the simplest painting job. They also failed to dwell on the time and tedium of masking before painting. I am also still wondering how their masking tape always goes on flawlessly and works, while mine is crooked and often leaks.
It also did not register that they never have any stuff of any kind in the room when they paint it. That’s really convenient, and impossible in my house. And perhaps the biggest bait and switch of all is that you never, ever, ever, ever see them clean up afterward.
I know. I know. I have no one to blame but myself. I know I hate to paint. I know I loathe do-it-yourself projects. I know I have no patience or natural talent for that sort of thing. But watching all that renovation on a dime just spoke to my inner, half-baked, wanna-be artist. You’ll be glad to know she and the optimist have been sent packing to a convent in Siberia.
What can be returned to the store will go back tomorrow. It will require standing in line for an hour, but that is an apt and just penance to pay for my moment of screaming personal overestimation. I am now humbled once again, and have blocked those channels from my television. From now on, I watch nothing but “American Idol” and “Dancing With the Stars.” Now where did I put those old tap shoes?

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer trying to get paint off her shoes. Contact her at


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