22 Lessons I Learned From Painting My Office

Doug Green
Image courtesy.

I have just finished renovating my office, and there are a few lessons I believe I should share with you.

  • The first, is that I am a terrible judge of color in a room. This was pointed out quite firmly to me while a certain person I live with and I were in the paint department. Ahem…. she was right.
  • The second, is one we all know all too well and that is that things take longer than they should. So a project I had tasked for one week grew into a three week — and counting- project.
  • I am a chainsaw carpenter — close counts. Caulking and paint hide many sins.
  • I am not a painter. While I have excellent hand eye coordination, I do not have fine finger coordination and masking tape is my best friend.
  • I also learned that masking tape bleeds if it is not ironed onto the wall.
  • I have far too many books. (My favorite book this morning is an 1891 version of John Bartlett’s “Familiar Quotations”.)
  • After moving all of my books and furniture out of the office, I needed a chiropractor. I was slower and smarter moving stuff back in but…
  • Caulking floor trim is fraught with opportunities to make a mess. I have been told I never pass on an opportunity.
  • If you get white latex paint on your jeans, you can soak the jeans and then rub like crazy. If you get it early enough it all comes out.
  • I do not know where the three whiteboards and stands came from. Ditto the yoga mat that was never used and is still in its store wrapping.
  • So that’s where that box was!
  • My kids have brought back some very cool presents from their trips over the years. Between these and the ones they made as small children, there were some tears shed.
  • I did a little work on my laptops while all of this was underway. I have a Windows system and a Mac, and I prefer the Mac. Having said that, I am delighted to be back on my big office iMac. (I have the Windows system for dictation and the Macs for everything else.)
  • One really should throw stuff out rather than keep it, “just in case.”
  • So that’s where X went! I found several X’s
  • I’m missing one T. E. Lawrence book. It wasn’t stolen, I’ve just never bought it and this will have to be remedied. When one is moving books, one must investigate them thoroughly. Which may account for the one-week project being extended somewhat.
  • My rugs from Jordan and Timbuktu will have to get along with the smaller ones from East Asia. Color clashing is fine in my office.
  • Which leads me to the question, with that many interesting rugs, why did I lay a new floor?
  • My history book collection is now approaching the size of my old gardening book collection. Something has to give in the next few years As I have no more space for shelving. And yes, before you ask the rest of the house is fully shelved as well.
  • My Tom Swift Jr. collection only needs one more book to complete it and it really should be up in my office. As I told a friend, I could buy it from a bookstore but I’m going to find it “in the wild”. This gives me a reason to haunt old and used bookstores.
  • I found stuff! Now I know where that package of o-rings for my scuba gear went. This is only one example and I’ve put all these new-found treasures in a “safe place” where I won’t lose them. The challenge of course is remembering where that damnable safe place is.
  • I now firmly believe one should do this kind of cleanup exercise quite regularly.

Watch for my next update in 20 years when I do this again.


Doug Green

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Former nurseryman, now writer and curious about what’s over the next hill and how to get there in either my Triumph Spitfire or sailboat.

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