The Relative Malevolence of Contact Paper

paintHalfway through sanding fifty years of paint off your cabinets, a thought occurs. This, you think to yourself as you cough up balls of latex like Satine in an ill-advised HGTV production of Moulin Reno-Rouge!, was the worst idea ever you’ve ever had. 

Who really cares that your whole house, including baseboards, was painted a light, yellowy beige by the previous owner? Jaundiced walls are so hot right now! You were greedy, Grace, wanting bright white trim and historically appropriate colors and now look – really look! – at what you’ve done! You’re ass deep in yellowy paint particles, alongside a kid sister who will probably never trust you again after this “vacation away from parents”, and no that glob of paint will not come off the wood floor with just a little elbow grease. Unless, of course, you mean the grease from your rotting corpse elbow, after you’ve been killed by a belt sander and left for buzzard food by your formerly-loving fiancé.

Home improvement is a fuck-fuck. I realize this now. With two more rooms, the back of 18 cabinet doors, a million dots on the ceiling, and three too-hard-for-Henrietta-to-reach spots of wall left to paint, I will concede the point. There are truths a person learns, through doing-it-your-fucking-self, and that is number one.

D-I-Y-F-S Truths:

  1. Home improvement is a fuck-fuck.
  2. Contact paper was invented by fascists. Why else would they go to the trouble of printing a grid on the back of it, only to then print eight-inches of instructions right down the middle of said grid, making it totally useless? Newsflash: including instructions on a separate piece of paper and leaving the grid intact would make your customers less likely to suspect you of EVIL PLOTS TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD THROUGH STICKY PAPER FURY.
  3. There are, in fact, differences between the cheap painter’s tape and the name brand stuff. Buy the real thing next time, Grace.
  4. You can never get by with just one coat of paint. Don’t let the nice man at Benjamin Moore talk you into such nonsense. He thinks you’re cute and just wants to see you return, frustrated and frazzled and possessing nicer boobs than his usual contractor clientele, for more paint.
  5. The main reason you went to college? Not, in fact, for an education but for the promise of a future in which you can hire other people to do this shit.

Everything looks better, sure, but was it really worth it? Our walls are now the perfect Wedgewood blue I’ve always dreamed about, but so are the crevices of my fingernails.  And while we don’t have gold tone cabinet hardware anymore, these sanded cabinet particles breed like beige mice out to destroy my sanity. No amount of vacuuming can put them down!

But we must keep going. Once test paint goes on a wall, you must eventually paint the damned wall. Not all houseguests—especially those who raised us—will believe our  “Mondrian paint scheme” explanation. The joys of painting other rooms, rehanging cabinet doors, and putting down the rest of my “Of course, it must all match!” toile contact paper still lie ahead. Do you, perhaps, know a nice moor I could leap from?

– Grace

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