Project Insanity

Categories: Making Time, The Juggle, Working? Living?


Green PaintI was going to write something about New Year’s resolutions, or about how, until recently, I worked every major holiday (I’m an editor at a newspaper — the presses are always running) and it still feels strange to not be in a mostly deserted newsroom on Christmas.

Strange, but not in a bad way.

I’ve never been good at just taking a day off and not trying to get a million things done during it. Back in September, right around Labor Day, I starting pulling non-newsroom-related nearly-all-nighters.

I wasn’t out partying. (I wish!) I wasn’t up late reading or watching TV. I wasn’t up with a sick or crying baby. Nothing like that.

I was painting my big kids’ bedrooms. (Yeah, the painting I mentioned a few weeks back, the stuff I thought I’d do during my first maternity leave — more than three years ago.)I finally decided that if I didn’t just get it done, it would never, ever get done. And I really, really wanted it done, preferably before the big kids got back from their mom’s house.

The only time I had to do it was after the little kids went to bed, which meant that around 9:30 p.m. – after work, the commute, dinner, bathtime, bedtime, clean up, throwing in a load of (never ending) laundry, and making sure that my freelance deadlines had been met, there I was, dripping roller in hand

I hate to paint. It frustrates me, it’s tedious, and as soon as you get one coat on you have to let it dry and do it all over again. But I was tired of our big kids sleeping in half-finished rooms. While I was at it, why not move the baby out of that corner of the master bedroom and into his own room, before I went certifiably insane?

So I decided to swap all of the kids’ bedrooms around, move furniture, temporarily relocate belongings, sort through clutter, and deep clean as well. 

In retrospect, that may have been a sign of insanity right there.

I did OK the first night. I was less OK, but still functional, the next night. But the third night I couldn’t deal with the chaos and just went to bed, promising myself I’d get it all finished somehow.

Wasn’t there a time when staying up all night wasn’t a big deal?

Back in college, during what feels like a different aeon but was, in fact, only about 15 years ago, I was working full-time at a newspaper while still a full-time student.  All-nighters were a regular occurrence, but as long as you had caffeine and sugar (and, occasionally, beer and pizza), who needed sleep? Not me. Not then.

Now, though? Me, me, me, me, me. Mmmmm, sleep. Caffeine and sugar are two of my dearest friends, but they just don’t cut it anymore.

Insane or not, I got it all done, mere hours before the big kids arrived. One room painted violet, one sage green, one soft yellow, one covered with horses, the last covered in superheroes. And the kids were thrilled. So I was satisfied.

Totally useless at work for the next few days, but satisfied.

Do you have a big, insane project slated for the New Year? If you’ve just finished one, what would you do differently next time?

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4 comments so far...

  • I painted my daughter’s room last year. My husband absolutely hates painting and was dragging his feet. So, finally, I went out and picked out the paint, primed, and started painting, all of this after dinner. It took two nights of staying up until 3 and then I realized the color was WAY too dark (more like Pepto than the pale pink I envisioned). I still had a ton of that pink paint so I went out, got some white paint, mixed it myself until I got a good color and repainted the whole thing (and almost ran out of paint!!). Needless to say, I was exhausted and pretty useless the next few days but very proud of the results! And Mollie is very pleased with her pink room!

    biomom  |  January 1st, 2008 at 9:59 am

  • This makes me giggle — my husband and I have spent the last three days painting virtually every single inch of the first floor of our house. I did most of the painting while he wrangled the children, but last night we rang in the New Year by painting the foyer together.

    Quite honestly, it was fun. We listened to some great jazz cds and made the kind of jokes that are completely inappropriate around our kids and talked about some important life things.

    And today, when I look at our sunny dining room and our cozy living room, I am filled with a deep satisfaction. And a deep desire to keep painting, because now the rest of the house looks like crap.


    Susan  |  January 1st, 2008 at 8:13 pm

  • Biomom: My husband hates painting, too — even more than I do, which is why I end up doing it when it has to get done. I can’t really complain, though — he does all of the car maintenance and mows the lawn and keeps me from killing the garden (I am bad with plants).

    Susan, I think I like having painted much more than I like actually painting. Does that make sense? It’s great that you and your husband were able to take that time to talk and be connected (and get the dining room and living room looking great!) Have fun with the rest of the house! :)

    Lylah  |  January 6th, 2008 at 10:25 pm

  • [...] art anywhere. I’m serious; we moved into our current home in 2001 and I only got around to repainting the kids’ bedrooms last year and haven’t hung a thing on the master bedroom walls. Luckily for us (and for our [...]

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