Vail Daily columnist Linda Stamper Boyne: Finding peace in chores
Vail, CO Colorado
In this hectic world, with our busy lives, there’s a certain simplicity and comfort in housekeeping.
No, I have not been possessed by Martha Stewart. I’m just making a conscious effort to change my attitude. Rather than cursing the basket full of laundry to be folded, the floors to be vacuumed or the bathrooms to be cleaned, I am choosing to embrace the tasks and use them as calming, peaceful moments. The zen of housework, if you will.
Call it an evolved philosophical attitude or self-preservation, I am no longer allowing the day-to-day chores of my life to consume me with negativity. Instead, I’m making them work for me to achieve inner peace. Except the dishes. I still can’t stand doing the dishes.
With my new philosophy intact, I pulled out my list of projects around the house that I’ve been putting off. Here’s the thing about projects: I have to think about them before I begin. Sometimes I spend more mental energy ruminating on something than I actually expend physically doing it. I get all up in my head, and then it becomes a larger task than it actually is.
Such was the case with my bathroom-painting project. Not that big of a deal, really. Slap some paint up on the walls. I had the paint that I bought over a year and a half ago when I decided the room needed a little sprucing up. I had all the proper painting gear: the blue tape, rollers, brushes, pans, drop cloths, stir sticks, even rubber gloves and that little metal thing that opens the cans properly. It wasn’t my first rodeo; I’ve painted many a room in my day.
And yet the paint sat there in my bathroom for more than 18 months, taunting me, intimidating me, making me think it was a huge undertaking to get it from the can to the walls. But this past weekend, I put an end to the mocking. I took action.
I donned my painting clothes, splattered with all the various and exciting shades I had painted over the past several years – ivory, deep cream and the predominant color in my home, Boyne Beige – and began prepping. As I popped open the can of Dark Boyne Beige, a sense of calm came over me. I went into a focused, meditative state, my mind quiet and my body working steadily.
I worked for several hours, methodically putting two coats of fresh, new paint over the old, focusing on the details, the spots I missed, the splatters to be wiped up. I got it done, cleaned up and walked away with a sense of accomplishment, pride and inner peace.
Before I put away the painting gear, I decided to clean up the battered and scuffed walls of the main level of my house. Between the boys and the dog and, well, just generally living, they needed some attention. So I spackled and sanded and went out the garage to get some Boyne Beige to freshen that part of the house.
I grabbed a brush and a small can with the number written on it that I recognized as my favorite shade. High from paint fumes, peaceful enlightenment and accomplishment, I went room to room covering my white patches, scuffs, smudges and chips with swipes of paint.
I should have known something was off with that paint from the first dip of the brush. The consistency wasn’t right and the smell wasn’t that of fresh paint. But I wasn’t thinking. I was doing.
As I stepped back and accessed my work, I noticed the areas I covered didn’t seem to be drying very quickly and they had a sheen the other parts of the wall did not. And the odor hanging in the air was like stinky, unfresh paint. An uneasy feeling settled in where serenity once sat.
The next morning it was abundantly clear that I had made a painting faux pas. Not only was the paint old, tacky and smelly, it was semi-gloss. I had shiny spots all over my eggshell-finished, beige walls. I wish I could play it off as a bold design choice, but really, not even I buy that.
So this weekend, I will again aim to achieve the zen of painting, while silently cursing myself for being a fool. Read the labels, Boyne.
Linda Stamper Boyne of Edwards can be contacted through email@example.com
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