Distress Alert

…Eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea…

I can do outdoor painting with no trouble, but the oily sealant I finally found to put on the porch caused an allergic reaction costing $111 and a few bad days, as we know.

Then, in a moment of madness, I started painting the kitchen, which gave me the reactions listed above in addition to a general feeling of irrationality.

I painted a wall as an experiment and liked it, so I continued. Then I realized that it had been a design error from the point of view of the whole house to consider painting the rest of the kitchen. The dark wood in it is dark and the stain and sealant need refinishing, but they match what is in the rest of the house and give it elegance and continuity. I had not articulated my 12 years of hesitancy about changing the look of the kitchen walls in this way before embarking upon it, and it is a mistake.

Now I am faced with stripping and refinishing what is done. I feel rather sure would prefer that to the alternative — continuing to paint. However, all of this is a lot of work and it is very discouraging, and I am definitely not cut out physically for indoor painting jobs.

I always feel somewhat insane when doing them, which is why I put them off and have trouble garnering the patience to do a good job. I used to think that was a lack of discipline but I think it is how the products used make me feel.

I do use gloves and safety goggles, and open the doors and windows. I have not yet tried a mask but it is what I will try on my next attempt.

In the meantime I have netted a kitchen that looks terrible, a big job ahead at an inconvenient time, a great deal of stress, and some information.

I do not like looking at the kitchen in its current state because it appears to me to be the result of some strange form of self mutilation. This, I realize, is a melodramatic reaction and probably not very helpful. I put it up to the strange irrationality I feel around open containers of paint and sealant.

I would like to summon a professional to fix this but there is no way. I am reminding myself that the rest of the house is calm and civilized, that there are strippers which will work and I will learn how to refinish wood, which is needed in the rest of the house as well.

I am, however, distressed for this and related reasons.


8 thoughts on “Distress Alert

  1. I have strange reactions too, for instance I don’t like shopping in places where I have to experience air conditioning. I would rather do a lot of things that re-breathe other people’s stale air. My mental state changes noticeably when I am outdoors.

  2. I don’t like a/c either and I live in it a lot. I don’t understand why they did not build the buildings here so as not to need it. If you design the right ventilation and shading, and you have ceiling fans and a few other accessories (attractively patterned bars on some windows), you don’t need a/c, and I think there must be some other way to fight mold as well. This would reduce carbon imprints and dependence upon fossil fuels. But: people do not realize it.

  3. I think the failure to think it through comes from some notion that workslaves need to be captured and tamed by an artificial environment.

  4. I spent about half an hour removing graffiti from brick with a noxious solvent (goggle, mask), and a wire brush. I had to stop because of the pain, and spent the rest of the day in fibromyalgia flare-up. Conclusion? Don’t do this to myself ever again, but rather bribe friends with pizza and beer, or hire a professional because the health costs are too high. Even if you CAN do it yourself, sometimes it’s not worth it. having said that, I am notorious for living with poorly painted places for this very reason, that would drive other people crazy with aesthetic allergic reactions, due to my inertia and dislike of painting, but I do understand that this is less tolerable for others.

    Interim solution: posters? flowers? sheets of beatiful wrapping paper hung as wall coverings? a painting party for children to create a mural that could be painted over again at a later date?

  5. My sentiments precisely. I would even Tweet:

    DIY home repairs make no sense if you have a professional job. I said this for years and was repeatedly berated for my “extravagant” attitude. I have finally been browbeaten into doing something I am not qualified to do. I suffered more than I would have had I hired it out, so I was more virtuous Catholic way than I would have been. I did not pay anyone else, so I also had that tight fisted Protestant form of virtue. But considering cost of equipment, cost of doing twice, and medical costs incurred, I have spent more total money. I have also suffered much more, and I have lost time I could have much better spent getting ahead at work if I did not want to spend it resting. I will not do this again.

  6. You are so hard on yourself. You deserve to have someone come and do that job for you and do it well for a reasonable price.
    You are knocking yourself out for your students and your department. Isn’t that enough?

  7. Hard on myself, yes, far too much so but that’s what I got from Reeducation. I deserve to hire someone, I know — actually I *have* just hired someone, and will not again do something I don’t think is a good idea — but notice how much resentment I have. It would do me a great deal of good to just fix the house, and if I had the cash or the open credit at not too high a rate, I would — I just can’t/don’t.

    It gets frustrating because I’m getting too old, or something, to live in something that’s in the kind of shape grad student rentals are and that I can only afford to keep from deteriorating.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s