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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13 thoughts on “The Relative Malevolence of Contact Paper

  1. We just bought our first house, and so we are elbow deep in paint too! (well, realistically I have also painted all my rental houses and even my rental during undergrad so I knew it was coming) . Only this time it is OURS and so it must be PERFECT. Picking wall colors? Dont get me started. Probably one of the more tense discussions with the Mr. of our relationship. Gald you and the fiance made it through! Now we just have to survive the project process…and in our case add drywall, tile flooring, and a house full of unpacked boxes…this is truly a chaos place to work in, but will be so worth it!

    Hang in there, it is totally worth it to have matching, WHITE trim 🙂

  2. Like Lauren said, it will be totally worth it! Nothing beats the satisfaction feeling of looking at your walls and DIY projects finished and saying “I did it!”. Oh and don’t forget that your hard work means that when you finish you surely deserve a mani, pedi, massage and all the works to make you feel like a woman! 🙂

  3. I feel your pain. I love the finished product but not the effort it requires. Cheers to some bonding time with your sister. I enjoyed your post 🙂

  4. Hilarious post! I remember when we (and by we I mean my parents and my siblings and me) moved into the current house. In the family room, metallic copper-bronze-gold-black HIDEOUS wallpaper covered the the walls . . . and the ceiling. Yikes.

    But at least the baseboards weren’t yellow.

  5. Ahhh, I agree about the contact paper thing too! Also, in all my years of attempting to contact paper my drawers, I have never once managed to stick it on completely flat – it always gets oddly wrinkled and lumpy in places. Evil!

  6. Home ownership is a never ending cycle of paint, repaint, sand, clean, destroy, rebuild…etc. We moved into our house in November and we are STILL not finished with all of our projects. Granted we put in a third bedroom, put down new flooring, and had to paint ALL the walls in the entire house but… yeah. It’s been a nightmare!! Good luck with your projects!

  7. Ahhhh good luck! Some days I’m really glad I still rent an over-priced apartment. Maintenance on call 24/7 and no DIY scares! I’m about as un-DIY-capable as they come. But your projects will totally be worth it once your house is beautiful and non-yellow! Keep plowing 🙂

  8. My heart just bleeds for you. Upon first purchasing my house (previous owner – old lady. New owner – haggard lady) I discovered the wall paper in the living room to be 1) Puke brown flowers covering a…2) Children tobogganing theme covering a…3) Yellow cups and saucers (the drinkware, not the flying alien kind) covering a…4) red sled Citizen Kane theme. Upon annihilating Citizen Kane, I discovered the wallpaper was what kept the walls and the roof up on the house. Living in a cardboard box wasn’t a lot of fun, but at least life was simpler then.

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