The Last Third

Our house was built in 1964.  It’s a small thing, 1230 square feet without any architectural charm to recommend it.  Judging by the myriad of bizarre quirks, non-square, non-standard everything, we suspect that someone had the shell of the house professionally built and then finished out the inside themselves.  Whoever they were, they were not decent carpenters.  We spent 2 months renovating and dragging the house into this century, correcting the assorted screw ups and generally making things more attractive.

The biggest project we undertook, apart from laying new laminate floors through the entire house, was to update the bathroom.  We only have one bathroom in our house.  When we bought it, the walls were this horrific sort of putty/flesh color (a case of neutral gone all wrong), the light fixture was beyond dated, the faucet cheap and boring, old linolium that looked dirty even when it was clean, there were two types of wall material (which you see over there…that’s what was behind the giant mirror), and–the piece de resistance–the walls were covered in that popcorn stuff that’s usually reserved for ceilings.  I kid you not.  It was horrible.  So prior to moving in, I took a belt sander after that bad boy (it’s probably a wonder I didn’t wind up with lead poisoning) to smooth things out as much as possible.  Prior colors of the bathroom included: light blue, dark blue, pink, gray, and some really horrible baby shit yellow.  None of the prior occupants of this house had any taste.  Then I remudded the entire bathroom.  Sanded things down.  It wasn’t perfect, but it looked a heck of a lot better than what we started with.  We changed out the light fixture, and after that, right before we moved in, we slapped a fresh coat of yellow paint on the walls–hubby’s choice.   Due to a foul up with Lowes’ paint mixing system, what was supposed to be a cheerful butter yellow came out more like highlighter yellow.  Reveal lightbulbs helped and we left it that way for quite a while because, well, it was time to move in.  There were still things that needed updating…maybe another 70-80% left to do, but after 2 months of renovations, it just sat for a while because we were tired and because we’d about exhausted our budget.

So we lived that way for quite a while, with that last 30% of stuff to do.  Eventually we started plugging away and finishing things.  Changing out the faucets in the bathroom and kitchen.  Painting the front and back doors.  Getting rid of the Florida Gator green that someone thought made the concrete front porch and steps “pop”.  Minor landscaping.  Curtains.

And finally we started redoing the bathroom last year.  We painted it a new color, a lovely caramel sort of color called applesauce cake.  I got a new shower curtain.  Matchstick blinds for the window.  During the course of this project the big ass mirror got broken, I got cut (probably should have had stitches and have a fairly large scar to show for it).  Then it sat again, a project half done.  We still needed to redo the floors and figure out what to do with that sophet that now SHOWED both of the ugly types of wall material.  That was last October.  See, again the last 30% of the project…

Sometime earlier this summer I bullied my husband into doing the floors.  We put in some nice, easy, peel and stick vinyl tile in a travertine, which made things look WORLDS better.  Even though we still have one wall of shoe mold we haven’t put down yet (we ran out when we were actually DOING that and since then even though we’ve bought it, we havne’t lugged out the mitre saw).  I sanded down and repainted the vanity.  Changed out the vanity hardware.  And still that sophet.  I concluded that we’d fill it in with beadboard, frame the remaining mirror (I’d had it cut down square from what got broken), and be done with it.

Right…  Well we attempted that last weekend, and I’ll just say that it didn’t go well or work out like I’d planned.  We now have a large sheet of plywood screwed up there for support.  That’s what the beadboard will be attached to.  But again, we’re down to that last little project and it’s just sitting.

I bring all of this up because I recently realized that this is a pattern in my life–getting things 2/3rds done and then letting them sit.   And here I sit on HiS at 70%, and I feel like I’m faltering.  I don’t want my book to be like the house, like the bathroom, the flowerbeds, or any of the assorted other projects that have languished forever before being finished.  I honestly don’t know what it IS about that last third of anything that I find so difficult.  Some things have been about money or time.  But this.  I don’t know what this is about.  It’s outlined.  I have the purpose of the next scene clearly defined.  And yet I don’t know how to start it.

Do I have some kind of psychological block about this last third?  A fear of things being finished and over?  Heck if I know.  Does anybody else have this problem?

Recipe of the day: Chipotle Chicken Soup.

One thought on “The Last Third

  1. We moved into our house 2 years ago. It was built in the early 70’s and looked that way. To update, the sellers painted every wall in the house with bright-white flat paint. Anyone with kids knows flat paint and kids do not get a long. I’ve painted almost every room in the house except the den. I have the paint sitting in my garage. It’s been sitting there for 2 months. I told myself I’d paint the den (which looks horrible by the way) as soon as I paint the front door. That paint is also sitting in the garage.(3mos)

    So you’re not alone.

    I don’t think of things as a whole but in parts (not painting a house, painting a room) and my problem seems to be that I prep and don’t start. If I can manage to get the first splash of paint on the wall, it will bother me so much that I’ll make it a priority. (of course my hallway sported blue tape for a month before I put any color on the wall)

    It’s the same way with writing. If I can get a project started, then I’ll finish it, but I seem to walk around it for quite some time, looking at it from different directions and making excuses why I don’t just dive in, before I get started.

    Take heart, my friend.

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