What I have been up to instead of posting:
We finallly painted the living room. Let us not speak of the many tantrums I had to throw to FINALLY get my husband to finish the never-ending plaster repair project that preceded it. Let us also not speak of the challenges of painting a room, one of two most-used ones in your house, when you have a toddler running around and you work a night job. Maggie could only play in like a 2-foot by 4-foot space in the dining room, kind of like a veal calf. Back in pre-kids days, painting was kind of fun--we'd clear a weekend, get a lot of beer and start Friday night with the washing and taping and priming, get color coats up on Saturday, and do touch-ups and so on on Sunday and get the room back together.
This took like ten days, from the wall-washing and spackling to taping to doing as much as we could after Maggie went to bed and I got home from work. I know people who've redone entire bathrooms in less time.
It looks great, though. I told Paul we could become itinerant housepainters if no other jobs worked out. He is fabulously anal about trim work, while I am Queen of the Wall Coats. I have had friends pay pros to do their painting and must say thanks to Paul's careful taping, this looks just as good. We will probably never do a room this complicated again. The picture molding is one color, the coving in the ceiling another, and the middle piece still another, in addition to the walls. Annd they have lotsd of tricky angles thanks to the fireplace.
Like the piano, by the way? It's a genuine antique, like 100 years old, and free to a good home.
I know painting a room is not a big deal to most people, but we're a little home improvement challenged. It's to our shame--my mom teaches handywoman classes, for the love of God, and Paul's dad can fix or build just about anything. Somehow that gene skipped us--or maybe the "hey let's take Maggie to this fun thing and wow there's a great movie on TV tonight and I know we were going to paint this weekend but this friend we havent seen in a long time invited us over and I just got this great book I want to finish" gene is much more strongly expressed.
Tonight, the "mantel" (cheap-ass floating shelf we're buying at IKEA--why a 78-year-old house doesn't have a mantel I don't know) goes up, as does this candleholder we bought like a year ago, and the rest of the Christmas decorations. And we will be DONE. I plan to spend most of Christmas curled up in my big chair, reading and drinking wine and admiring our handiwork.