SOLC Day 2: A Many Layered Paint Job

March 2021 SOLC–Day 2
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Recently, I decided to paint the upstairs hallway.

Wait a minute. That’s not exactly right. It’s more accurate to say that “Recently, I re-decided to paint the upstairs hallway.” Let me back up.

Last March (or maybe early April) my husband and I decided to buy paint to paint the upstairs hallway. We figured we’d be housebound for a while and would be in need of a project. Why not paint? So, we carefully considered our color options, then braved the growing lines at the hardware store to buy the paint, brushes and other accoutrements. Apparently, all that activity wore us out, because all those items sat patiently in the mud room until about a week ago.

Yup. You did the math right. It’s been about a year.

For some reason, over our Winter Break in February, I decided to finally start this long conceived of paint job.

When I got started, I figured I had to clean first, so I attacked the spider web laden corners. Then, I wiped down the walls, one by one. Finally, I started working on the trim–the window seat, the windows, the baseboards and the doors. The doors! This hall has 5 doors. How had I not realized that before? I mean, talk about trim! Working my way around the hallway, I wiped down the bathroom door. I wiped down my youngest daughter’s door. I wiped down the closet door. Then I stopped at my oldest daughter’s room and her door.

Oh, I thought. How did I not think about this? How can I possibly paint over the Dr. Who door?

My paint job suddenly got a lot more complicated.

My daughter is almost 26 now and lives way too far away in Philadelphia. Due to Covid, we’ve seen her once in the past 14 months. She probably painted this door over a decade ago, in the midst of Dr. Who fandom, but when I imagined painting over it now, I froze. Tears pricked. My throat thickened painfully. I was startled by the intensity of my reaction. Come on, Molly. It’s just a door! But I couldn’t shake it. I couldn’t help feeling that painting it would be like erasing a memory. Or a little bit of her childhood. I stood there a long while, thinking, remembering. Missing her now. Missing her then. Oh. I don’t think I can do this. Honestly, I’m not 100% sure I was thinking just about the paint job at that point.

“I don’t think I can paint Addie’s door,” I told my husband a little bit later. My voice caught. “It makes me almost cry just to think about it.” I swallowed hard.

“So, don’t,” he said, simply. Gently. “Wait until you’re ready. You can always do it later.”

Later that day, I started to paint, deciding that I wouldn’t decide about the door until I had to. Over the next day or two, I painted the ceiling. I painted the walls. I painted the second coat on the walls. Then I started on the trim. It was s-l-o-w going. Did I mention there are 5 doors!? And a window seat? And baseboards. Let’s just say that the end of vacation arrived before I finished, and before I had to make a decision.

So, to update, the paint has moved from exile in the mudroom, but is now upstairs in a tarp-draped hallway that is about half done. Maybe two-thirds, if I’m being optimistic. And I’m back at school with the ever-insane month of March ahead of me. Lots to do and very little spare time for projects.


I still haven’t decided if I’m painting over the Dr. Who door or not.

But probably not.

I don’t think I’m ready quite yet.

23 thoughts on “SOLC Day 2: A Many Layered Paint Job

  1. In my world, a year is still a short time between knowing you need to paint and doing the actual painting. The place looks great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      The paint cans in the mudroom–kind of in the middle of the mudroom and for an entire year–was a bit much! Now I wonder how long I’ll have chaos in the upstairs hallway…


  2. lgrainger125 says:

    Great job on the painting! There are lots of memories in a home. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. humbleswede says:

    I vote for leaving the door. We had someone paint our upstairs (not as do it yourself as you), and they painted over the measuring lines we’d painstakingly marked on the trim as the girls grew. It was a tough loss for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Ha! I’m not do-it-yourself, I’m just perpetually broke! I can imagine the loss of those measuring lines–we left ours behind in our last house, having painted around them multiple times.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. affinitolit says:

    Gretchen Rubin says we all need hidden delights in our life. Your door might not be hidden, but it is certainly a delight. I say keep it. =)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alain Tassé says:

    What a wonderful story you shared with us. It is a very easy and entertaining read. I loved it. Made me reflect on my own memories from my already sold house.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anonymous says:

    I vote for not painting the door, not that you asked my opinion! Paint it if you ever decide to move.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. amyilene says:

    That door! That hallway! Those vivid and emotive details!! For so many reasons, I love this slice. You have given us a glimpse into a life that is still in process, just like the paint job.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. terierrol says:

    Nothing has been easy this past year! Kudos to you for starting to paint. It looks great, and your writing is even more detailed aand poignant. I so enjoy your slices.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. haitiruth says:

    Oh, that would be impossible for me, too! My daughter was a big Dr. Who fan once upon a time. That door is a treasure. Ruth,

    Liked by 1 person

  10. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, what a good slice. It reveals how long it takes many of us to make a decision, redecorate our house, and relive old memories. I am finding many pieces of my daughter’s past. She often says just through them away but I want to keep some of her memories for her little girls. Which ones though? I am still contemplating that but have so little time to make the decisions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I’m sure you’ve spent a lot of time going through your home lately! I know just what you mean about trying to select some keepsakes for grandchildren. I don’t even have any grandchildren (Yet!), but I still think that way.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. margaretsmn says:

    Your slice is so real from the paint in the mudroom to the painful decision about the door. I think you can reasonably wait another year to decide about the door. It’s really not that long in the great scheme of things.


  12. kd0602 says:

    My husband (a Doctor Who super fan) says you definitely can’t paint that door. (I think he wants to paint one of ours like that now!) Love your ambition–even if it’s not finished…yet!



  13. The door really does look stunning, I wouldn’t have known it was because of Dr. Who so it’s not too much of a statement…..I love how the slice unwound with various memories and delays…


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