It’s Not All Mary Poppins

What I’m doing on my Summer Vacation

It is eight in the morning. The only sound in the house is the hissing of the shower upstairs. The dog sits curled on the couch beside me, the curve of her back nestled against my hip. (Yes, she’s allowed on the couch. She is not allowed on our bed. She knows the difference.) Birds in the trees outside.

I do not hear the trundle of small feet, the chatter of small voices, the bellow of not-so-small outrage.

I am, you see, on holiday. (And before any of you start with the well-meaning questions re: travel that all my clients have asked of me, let me answer them pre-emptively: I am not going anywhere. I am not going anywhere because there are no funds to take me, and certainly not me and assorted family members, anywhere. There never are, and that’s all we need to talk about that, okay?)

But don’t worry, I have plans!

I have already put the first coat of paint on the bathroom!!!

And… it looks like shit. Not because of the colour (yellow), but because this is an old house. As soon as the wall was painted a smooth uniform colour (as opposed to the textured effect given by its previous mottled white coat of dust-and-flaking-paint) turns out to be not so smooth. It has bumps and divots, cracks and crannies. And the fresh, pretty paint highlights each and every one.

So today, instead of painting the trim the shiny white as planned, I will be mixing up a paler shade of yellow and ragging it over the first coat. Then I’ll probably do a third coat of white. The idea being to create texture — pretty, painted texture, far better than dust-and-flakes texture — which will camoflage the bumps-and-divots texture. That’s the theory, anyway.

THEN I will put on the shiny white trim.

And then there was yesterday’s task: a mattress for my daughter’s bed. But not just any mattress, you understand. This bed is not a simple rectangle, like every other bed in the world. This one has “five sides and not one right angle”, to quote our carpenter friend who built it for the cost of the materials — and the fun of working on such a weird project.

So, Mary has two pieces of foam appropriate for a mattress, between them amply big enough to fit in the frame. But nothing like the necessary shape. That’s okay, because Mary also has ingenuity, courage, chalk, and a bread knife!

It didn’t take that long, either. Dump the foam in the frame, mark the edges, cut with knife. Just like cutting slices from a loaf of bread! It’s all in there. Now we will glue the edges of the pieces together with spray adhesive, cover all with a foam topper, and encase in custom-made* mattress cover… with five sides and no right angles…

*Custom-made by me, of course. Out of old sheets. That, however, is tomorrow’s task.

Today I am ragging the bathroom.

August 18, 2008 - Posted by | holidays | , ,


  1. How resourceful of you. I bet the bathroom will end up looking lovely.

    It’s not bad. Not bad at all. I’m pleased!

    Comment by Alison @ hairlinefracture | August 18, 2008 | Reply

  2. I wallpaper my bathroom, for much the same reason. I love our uneven walls and wouldn’t replaster for anything. And my dog is allowed on the couch but not on the bed as well.

    The quirks of older homes can be very endearing. I love our uneven basement stairs. They are very simple wooden slats. Many feet over many years have worn smooth hollows in the centre of each step — and I wouldn’t replace them for the world, though I have considered stripping the rather ugly rust paint and just sanding and varnishing them. Or, doing something to them that would render them glossy but not slippery, assuming such a thing exists!

    Comment by Z | August 18, 2008 | Reply

  3. Ah, the art of faux. Dontcha just love it?

    And forgive my brain that so often needs visuals to understand, how does one make a 5 sided bed with no right angles? Does it look like a pentagon?

    Really, I’m curious. Would Emma be up for letting you take a pic?

    No, not a pentagon. Well, it has five sides, so yes, it’s a pentagon, but since every side is a different length, it’s not a regular one! It might help to understand that the corner in which it is fitted is not a right angle, either, but is a flattened corner. No, we definitely need pictures! I’ll ask Emma. She’ll probably want to clean her room first…

    Comment by Zayna | August 18, 2008 | Reply

  4. I am curious about this odd bed, too…

    And totally sympathetic to the frustration of painting crummy walls. A flatter paint can help, certainly, but is neither perfect nor terrifically well-suited to a bathroom application, where a more scrubbable and mold-resistant paint is preferable.

    Of course, painting in my house next week will be almost entirely on New! Walls!

    The second coat of paler paint, ragged on, looks pretty good, all in all. Not perfect, but much better than the first plain coat. Certainly new walls offer a nicer surface for the perfect coat of paint, so have fun next week!

    Comment by kittenpie | August 18, 2008 | Reply

  5. I have one word for you lady, REST! You should definitely try it on for size!

    Comment by Jerri Ann | August 18, 2008 | Reply

  6. I really, really need to see the bed. Also? I love painting. Truly! If I were closer, I’d beg to be allowed to come over and paint.

    Comment by Tammy | August 19, 2008 | Reply

  7. […] been (or are) pregnant, you probably have an inkling of what’s going on. It’s not the paint fumes getting to Mary’s head. Those are pregnancy dreams. The dreams that happen when the hormones […]

    Pingback by Never in my wildest dreams… « It’s Not All Mary Poppins | August 21, 2008 | Reply

  8. The bed definitely sounds unusual. I vote for pictures!
    We have the same issues with our house. It’s 105 years old and that is why I love it but it has so many quirks.
    We’re still waiting for the plaster guy to fix the walls in our bedroom (We had water damage from when our new roof leaked; the contractor is paying for it). I had dreams of ripping out the bumpy plaster and putting up drywall, but apparently that’s the most expensive thing we could do. So the plasterer is going to try and make it as flat as possible.
    Light non glossy paints. Truly the way to go. Or huge murals, they hide everything. 🙂

    Comment by Dani | August 27, 2008 | Reply

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