When I started packing up my apartment two weeks ago it felt like waking up from a coma. As I wrapped a picture frame in newspaper, I stared at the empty box below me. I realized that I had absolutely no memory of packing up to move from my old house to the apartment.
I knew that my friend and her mother had helped me, and that they had patiently wrapped so many mason jars and glasses in newsprint. I knew I had done a lot of the packing myself in my usual way, but I couldn’t remember how I had packed anything. Things went into boxes some how and came back out of them, but I had no idea in what order or fashion.
How did I get here? I didn’t know, but it was time to pack up and move again.
When I closed on my new house early last month, the mortgage broker asked me what my plan was. Pen in my hand signing the papers, I looked at her. “My plan is to buy this house.” That was as far as I had gotten.
After the movers had left on Friday with all of my belongings stacked up against the wall in boxes and furniture dropped in awkward positions, I realized that was still as far as I’d gotten. I bought the house, and I have no clue how to live in it.
Of course, there is lots to love about my new abode… that’s the reason I bought it! I sat in the yard with the dogs, and watched Eliot trotting around through the leaves and Pascale running wild circles with a soccer ball the previous owners left. The second night, they found a opossum walking the fence line and decided our new nature preserve was the best place ever. Though I’ve made almost 0 decorating decisions, I happily plopped my ribbon jars on the mantle of my second living room and decided I would decorate it with all things equestrian. I also never understood how fabulous it was to have a garage. Garages… who knew?!?
Even with all the plusses, the house feels so foreign. When I met my (super friendly) new neighbor, he asked, “So who all is moving in with you!?”
I put my hands in my pockets and tried not to sigh. “Just me and the two dogs.”
When I walked back into the house, it felt empty. Large, empty and cold. I bumped up the thermostat a bit, and wandered around my many rooms taking stock of all the things I wanted to fix. An hour later, it still felt cold. I walked back to the thermostat, and noticed the temperature barely raised two degrees. I bumped it up again, and then tried to take a shower.
Key word being tried.
One phone call to my father later, the dots started to connect for me. I had forgot to get the gas turned on. No heat, no hot water and no stove top.
What happened next can best be described as the biggest pity party I’ve had in months. I crawled into my bed (under four blankets) and refused to see any hint of a silver lining for hours. Tim would have never forgotten to turn the gas on. He always took care of all the utilities for us. Having to do all of this on my own was unreasonable. There was too much to paint. Too many little issues to address. The house was obviously infested with opossums. I hid under my blankets in my loathing and resolved to forever live alone out of boxes in my large, cold house like some kind of deranged hermit.
This lasted about three hours until I got bored. I got out of bed, put on my “I have zero fucks left to give” footwear of choice, fleece lined crocs, and I went to Home Depot.
Nobody judges you at Home Depot for wearing crocs. It’s my new favorite store.
There I picked out “Warm Marshmallow” and stuffed my shopping cart with a 6′ ladder, paint rollers and brushes. I got home and tackled the ugliest room in my house, the laundry room. In my red fleece pajama pants and an old t-shirt of Tim’s, I started painting the small room the way he taught me when we painted our first home together years ago.
Cut in by hand. Buy expensive brushes, they work better. Don’t paint so slowly – you’re doing a wall not a portrait. Fill in with the roller. Don’t put so much paint on the roller. Clean your brushes off carefully when you’re done. When you think they’re clean, rinse again… they hold more paint than you think.
I sang softly to myself, sitting cross legged on the floor in my pajamas while I painted the baseboard. I don’t know how I got here, but I will learn to love this house.
40 thoughts on “Warm Marshmallow”
We have a groundhog problem similar to your possums. Cheering for you here in VA and wishing I could help you paint. You’ve got this Lauren!
When I saw this post title, I thought, “I’ll bet that’s a paint color.” Can we talk about paint color names for a second? They’re ridiculous. My favorite object of ridicule right now is Sherwin Williams “Perfect Greige”. It’s like it got up off the Pinterest page and wandered into your home.
I love this post and your mini transformation within it.. If it helps, I also forgot to turn the gas on for this house. Remembered to turn it off at the old house, and didn’t turn it on here until my brother-in-law had lived here alone for a month before we moved in. I asked why he didn’t tell me, and he said, “I dunno, I don’t mind a cold shower.” Sigh, college students.
OMG a month?!?! I am on day 3 and I still can’t handle all the cold water (went to old apartment to shower lets you think I’m stinky).
Yes, paint colors are super ridiculous. I need to keep a list of all the ones I end up using, because almost every room needs to be painted eventually.
Lol, no judging here, I work from home. Showering is sort of a moving target when you work from home.
I heard some good advice recently: write the name of the paint color you used in that room in sharpie on the back of your light switch covers, that way you don’t forget when you inevitably need to buy more or do touchups or whatever in the future. I’m going to start doing that with mine.
Another good tip on paint … leave paint on a paint stir stick and write the paint brand and color name on the painted part after it dries. You can then keep all the sticks together in a jar or something similar. That way, you not only have the name of the color, but also paint stores can match/mix paint to match the color on the stick, in case you can’t find the same color/brand you used originally. You can also use the stick to find trim colors, etc.
I have to second (third?) the paint color names. We have Swan Wing trim, and kiddo #1’s room was originally Purple Dragon. I do like your Warm Marshmallow, though. It looks great!
I’m about to move for the third time in the last 18 months. I know some of, though of course not all, these feels.
Being cold makes everything feel so much worse than it is, no matter how good or bad the actual situation. I hope you’re a little warmer now and that the house starts to feel like home.
I’m really excited for you to have the new house!
It took a while for our house to start feeling like home. We had to do things deliberately to own it – like you did with painting the laundry room!
I’m looking forward to the final incarnation of the mantle!!
Oh heck at least you are brave enough to pick a color. I have been in my house for 17 years and two years ago, I managed to pick a color for one room and the year after another room. My bedroom has a wall with a giant swatch of harvest gold looking paint that I did not like enough to finish. The bathroom a giant mossy green stain of the same ilk. It’s not like I couldn’t paint it, hate it and paint it again, but instead I keep thinking about making it perfect the first time. DOH!
That very well may be me for the other rooms. For some reason picking a paint color doesn’t wig me out, but actually finishing painting? Such a pain in the ass.
That laundry room is tiny and as I finished up last night I began justifying paying someone to do the two larger front rooms.
New to your blog, and I am really enjoying it. Love your writing and sense of humor. Cheering you on from CA!
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You will learn to love this house by doing EXACTLY what you were doing – tackling one room at a time, picking out your color to live in for each space, taking it one step at a time, and making it your own. Remember to breathe along the way, just like through gait transitions, bending lines and jumps courses.
How did you know that I don’t breath during my courses either? 😉
This is beautifully written. 🙂
I know that exact feeling . I had moved 3,000 miles for my job and everything was going swimmingly until I dropped my Dad off at the airport. That was the longest drive home and night ever, it was like everything hit me all at once. It was now just me and the dog. In a strange house, strange neighborhood and thousands of miles from everything I had ever known. I can’t describe the sense of shock, it was almost like an out of body experience. Finally I decided to start with unpacking just one box and little by little it became my new home.
As an aside, I love the color you chose! We need to paint our condo and are in the midst of the why are white walls so terrible/what is wrong with a little color debate. Maybe warm marshmallow will be that happy medium?? It sounds so cozy 🙂
You should check it out! Honestly I picked it out at the store because…
a) There are too many off white options and I was so over the paint color experience already
b) I like marshmallows
c) I wished my house were warm
Too many off white options is the understatement of the year. double bonus we have a home depot right around the corner!
It’s crazy how big of a difference warmth makes.
Good for you for pushing through! I like the mushroom color.
It’s worth setting aside a half-can or so of each paint labeled with the recipe and color name; turn ’em upside down and they’ll keep better. Don’t let them freeze, though.
When I finally bought my own house after years of moving from Navy housing to Navy housing around the world, I resolved that Not.One.Room of my new place was going to be painted white. I wanted a soft-yellow living room, so I bought quarts of three or four different samples and painted swatches on the wall until I found one I liked. What did I do with the rest? I painted the walls/ceiling/woodwork of my sewing room gloss white, then sponged over the walls with the different colors of yellow — it came out looking like parchment, and glows when the sun comes in. Did the same in another room with a dilute teal plus a French blue-grey.
Possums eat ticks!
Congrats on the big move! Both the physical and the emotional. You’re a better home owner than I… I’ve been in my house 10 years this August and I still haven’t finished painting it…
I like the color. And the opossum. And yes, brushes always have more paint. It’s funny how precious those skills and lessons taught to use by a loved one are so treasured, even if the process of learning them was maybe kind of annoying at the time. I’m enjoying reflecting on some of those lessons of my own right now, so thanks for that.
Moving sucks — there’s just so much stuff EVERYWHERE. But I do love the paint color you chose for your LARGE and now lovely laundry room!!
Painting is a lot of work, but can be very theraputic I think. You give the rooms a whole new look 🙂 Can’t wait to see more of your new place! Stay under your blankets and puppies until the gas goes on.
So very well written, again. I am pretty excited for your equestrian themed room though. I hope you share it with us when it is complete!
A garage is what I am most excited about as far as this next move goes. and I’m sure Pascale and Eliot will be so happy that they have a whole yard and not just a tiny one. Assuming they learn to stay in it.
the new house sounds great – esp that yard!! warm marshmallow is such a great paint name too – almost a substitute for actual heat and hot water? maybe? kinda?!? …or ya know, fingers crossed you get heat soon!
Your house is very cute. That sucks about the gas. I would totally do that too. Good luck with the rest of painting. I painted apartments for extra income after college and it’s always fun for like the first room. Then it starts to suck. I looks forward to see your equestrian decorations.
Love the paint color. And don’t be so hard on yourself – you’re doing awesome. Buying a house is huge, you should celebrate doing that, let alone getting painting started! You got this.
Happy New Home! I know it’s difficult under the circs, but here’s hoping that this is a place for you to make many new memories! It’s pretty, too.
The new house is adorable, One room at a time girl- you’ve got this!
I think your house is super cute:) I’m sure it’ll take time to embrace. My heart hurts for you doing this without him. Hang in there.
My son is a research chemist for one of the major paint companies. I will always remember the conversation we had when he found out they had people whose primary job was to name the paint colors. At first glance you wonder who is so lucky to get paid for such a simple thing, but we kind of came to the conclusion that it gets hard really fast.
Omg so idk if heat or cable was worse, I’m a scatter brain, I forget all sorts of adult things when it comes to moving. You will settle in and probably have that place awesome in no time.
I like the nice big laundry room amd Tim was right. It’s a wall not a portrait. I had to remind myself of something similar once. My parents had one of those HUGE satelites fo heir tv. It was on the roof of the back porch. Eventually it started to leak when it rained. I volunteered to go up there and slather on some tar to seal it. About half way in I had to tell myself Self, WHY are you being so careful and meticulous. It’s on a Roof Who’s going to see it ???
Warm Marshmallow is now my new favourite paint colour. I may have to try that one for bathrooms! Perhaps it will name-balance the colour in the main room, which somehow seems hilariously appropriate to me: Rain Puddle. I’ve never painted a wall in my life before I got that house, but turns out the builder’s “oh the walls come with a base prime/paint layer” actually means “the sheetrock is coated with a white cheap, dry, porous paint-ish stuff that you pretty much have to paint if you don’t want to be depressed looking at it.”
I’ve lived in it almost two years now, have painted living room and…one wall of one bedroom, sigh. You are welcome to use my now-standard response when people ask about plans: “Um, is that more than 5 minutes from now? Then, no, I have no idea.”
Love the house, it reminds me of the 1955 ranch I rented in Charlotte when I first moved to NC that I LOVED. Which also had gas heat, which I’d never used. Current house is first one where I finally have a laundry room/mudroom, a big treat — yours looks enormously fantastic.
Beautiful color, and you will make the house yours one room at a time. And garages are the bomb!
Congrats on the new move! Painting sounds like ~fun~ to bring color in your life until you actually do it. Ask my half painted house
Not sure how long you will be without heat, but I would like to recommend an infrared space heater. We have one (and a generator) in case there is a power failure during the winter. It will warm up a large room and does not get hot to the touch so it is relatively safe for pets and kids.
The new paint job looks great. We have lived in our house since 2008 and have still only painted one room. The house was new so the rest of the rooms are clean, but plain white. Maybe someday we will get on a painting kick, in the mean time, white goes with everything. 😉
This is a very well written post. The color looks really nice and I can’t wait to see the transformation as your new house becomes home.
What an incredible gift you have. I didn’t want your post to end. Let me know when your books come out.