Accomplishing a Task

I finished painting the living room yesterday. Well, that’s not technically true because I may need to do a few touch-ups in the next few days and remove all the painter’s tape that I adhered to the trim, but the bulk of the job is done. It looks really good for such an amateur job! It by far betters what was there, both in terms of the overall appearance and color and the technical skill. Upon close examination, there are certainly some drips and light patches, but the majority of the issues are a result of trying to cover up a really poor previous job and damaged walls (tons of nail holes, lumpy paint underneath, and strange seams in the wall).

Painting the room was tiring because it’s requires a lot of over-the-head reaching and climbing up and down the step ladder, two of the realities of taking on projects when you’re barely over five feet tall. Fortunately, I only fell once and there were no major paint spills or catastrophes. I chose a good day for the job because even though it kept me cooped up inside on one of the loveliest days, it was so warm and fresh that I could open all three windows and the door to the deck in the room I was working on and run the ceiling fan on high, making for a well-ventilated space. I had the front door open as well, which created a pleasant cross-breeze to set any paint fumes aloft. With sensory processing disorder (SPD), many home improvement and cleaning projects are unworkable, or at least extremely uncomfortable, due to their chemically-laden smells, loud or repetitive sounds (like from tools), or vibrations. Painting is notoriously malodorous, though I was pleasantly surprised by how little this paint smelled, even right out of the can. The constant airflow with fresh outdoor air through the working space was certainly helpful, but had that not been possible, I think I still could have tolerated the smell. I’m not sure what was different about this paint or perhaps interior paints have been reformulated to smell less strongly across the board; either way, this was by far the least smelly paint I’ve ever been exposed to. That’s a boon for enjoying any difficult project, especially when sensory overload is usually the reason I won’t take on a chore or home repair. It makes me wonder if I’m unjustifiably precluding myself from responsibilities I could tolerate with a significant detriment to my health or how I feel. It’s not uncommon for me to get a massive headache or overwhelming nausea when trying to use any sort of cleaner (often even vinegar or all-natural ones), which often lingers for days.

The other issue that prevents me from taking on many large-scale projects is another preventative measure for my safety. Because I fall all the time, and usually incur significant injuries when doing so, high-risk positions and unaccustomed movements, particularly when carrying things, climbing, or operating power tools are to be avoided. It’s embarrassing how often I get hurt when trying to take on seemingly safe tasks that I’m skilled enough to perform should they not involve one of the riskier movement elements. It’s frustrating because I enjoy building projects and home improvements things; they are engaging, satisfying, productive, and esteem-building. I can certainly benefit from anything that will increase my self-esteem and confidence, and our house absolutely needs a lot of work. We could do projects one after another and have plenty left undone for a few years! Money is primary limiting factor though I won’t delude myself and think that we possess all the expertise, equipment, and strength needed in all cases.

I don’t have any other covert or openly-expressed home improvement projects brewing in my mind at this time, except that I would love to get our deck sanded and refinished before more damage ensues to the wood. As it is now, some of the boards in the railings should be replaced because they are too splintered. Fortunately, there’s little rot or mildew on any of the wood. However, the longer we wait to reseal the wood, the greater its exposure to the damaging elements of sun, rain, snow, and moisture. It’s a big project though and the stain I wanted to buy, in the volume we would need, was close to $300. We also would need to rent a power washer. These are expenses we can’t swing at this time in our budget. My worry is that it will become too dilapidated¾and thus defunct¾before we can work on it.

It’s ironic that I had so much trouble sleeping last night after doing all the painting work, my regular job, and Comet’s walks and PT yesterday. I anticipated sleeping more soundly from all that physical work. Much to my chagrin, the opposite was true. The insomnia was far worse. I attribute it to feeling invigorated and amped up about my accomplishment, so although I would have much preferred to be getting good sleep, if I’m going to have insomnia as often as I do, I’d rather it be due to excitement (like last night) than PTSD or physical pain, which it so often is. Last night, even though I was frustrated with all the restless tossing and turning, there was something youthful about feeling the giddiness that filled me; it really reminded me of the invigorating pride that would consume my sleepiness as a young athlete after a great race. The feeling harkened a sweet memory of a much easier time in my life and the innocence and wonder of childhood.

Today will be a busy work day for me, since I reduced my hours yesterday to allocate them to painting. It’s a big day for Comet, as she returns for her first post-operative appointment with her vet surgeon this morning who will clue us in on how she’s progressing two weeks after her ACL repair. I hope he finds her to be recovering well. She definitely seems to be in less pain than both immediately after and in the three months before the surgery, so that has to count for something. What a delight to see my little girl’s happy spunk return. I can understand how parents derive deep joy from seeing their children thrive and be happy. Even though Comet is “just” a dog, my mood is lifted and my heart is full when I see her wagging and excited about life again.

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