Zen and the Art of Home Repair

Image courtesy of acousticzen.com


I’m trying to be rational here. I’m breathing the three-part breath I learned in yoga class. I’m really pissed off that my little foray into home renovation isn’t working out quite like I planned.

Here was the vision: A couple of coats of eco-friendly paint stripper would reveal the beautiful wood hiding beneath 50 or so years of paint on my stairs. I would replace a few boards on the up- and down- stairs landings. A pass through with the sander would prepare it for a quick day of staining and poly-ing. Three days later it would be finished. There. A week tops, right? Oh, the naivete.
Here is the reality: Spent three entire days of April vacation stripping and scraping. Two super-sized bottles of ‘safe’ and one, uh, unsafe bottle of paint stripper. Fast-forward to say, two or so days before school starts. One night I put up plastic sheeting and tape the upstairs doors shut. I locate all the needed materials and am SET to sand and stain (because yes, I do think it can all happen in one day). Next entire day sanding. I beg Matt for help. I tell him that I have learned my lesson. I won’t begin projects without his explicit agreement. When he tells me I don’t want to do it, I will at least hear him out. I will not, on any condition, do this again if he will just.fucking.help. We sand and sand and are covered in dust all day. We don’t have a bad time, considering. I find endless stains and cracks in the wood we uncover.

Early progress

Now it’s 4 a.m. and I have a day of driving 6 hours to pick up Colby, somehow making it to yoga class, dinner at my parents’, and finishing the sanding and cleaning. Part of me wants to go to Home Depot right now just to get a head start on the day.

Here’s my lesson: No person can truly do it all without help. Making peace with the flaws in the wood is an exercise in making peace with myself. Oh, and I should start a project that simply must be finished by September 4th by, maybe, July or something. Not August 25th. A little lesson in pacing here for me.



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