Some Chapters Are Beginning to Close for Good

When I started to write this blog, I never gave much thought to what direction I was going to go with it. I certainly never wanted it to be thought of as an old person’s blog, or a blog about aging, gracefully or otherwise. I wanted all ages to be able to relate to what I was saying. Yet sometimes my age does enter into it, and I can’t help but see things from a “mature” perspective.

We’ve been working on redecorating the dining room for a couple of weeks now. Last weekend was the dreaded wallpaper removal. This weekend we sanded the walls and put the painter’s tape where it needed to go. Yesterday we spent the day painting all the trim, the lower half of the wall below the chair rail, and the ceiling. It was white paint, so we didn’t have the pleasure of seeing the color go on the walls. That happens next weekend after we put the primer on.

We used to do this kind of thing all the time when we owned our home in San Antonio. I remember one February when all three children got the chicken pox…but not at the same time. They staggered being sick so we parents had nearly a month of sick children. My husband and I took turns staying home from work, and we used that time to paint the hall and the living room. It was a lot of work, but we were so much younger, and our bodies had no problem with the stretching and reaching and bending over and getting down on the floor. Or getting up off the floor again. This is not the case now.

I wish I had recorded the sounds we made while we were working this weekend. It was as if we were having a contest of who could moan and groan or sigh the loudest. Every muscle in my back is sore, and I’m sure my husband’s back and shoulders are in no better shape after doing the ceiling. Besides painting the dining room next weekend, we intend to tackle the downstairs bathroom as well, at least stripping the wallpaper (the last room with any!) and removing the glue. This summer we will work on painting our huge bedroom. After that, we shall see. I know that I can’t keep doing this much longer. I know when to say “Enough!” I’m not sure my husband does. I think men can keep going longer, or maybe they are slower to admit when their bodies can no longer do what they want them to do. All I know is, pretty soon there will come a time when my husband says, “Let’s paint the den,” and I will have to say, “Let your next wife help you.”

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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33 Responses to Some Chapters Are Beginning to Close for Good

  1. Robin says:

    LOL! I may need to borrow that last line too. Someday. You have taught me one very important lesson. Don’t buy a house with wallpaper. Or don’t wallpaper my current house. I keep telling myself to stop making noises like an old person, but apparently myself doesn’t listen well as those noises continue to creep out.

    • Coming East says:

      Loved your comment, Robin. Glad I’m not the only young person who makes old noises, now that the wallpaper is down in the powder room, we have NO MORE wallpaper in this house. We are never going to move.

  2. pattisj says:

    What color will you be painting the dining room? I used to love to paint, and wish I still could. We know those sound effects all too well!

  3. Amy says:

    I admire you, Susan. I gave up on wallpaper stripping and wall painting ages ago. How did you do all that for the house in San Antonio, it’s a mansion?

  4. Unfortunately the aches don’t just come with age, I know how you felt. Wallpaper stripping is the evilest of tasks. 🙂

  5. I am the one who suggests the painting and such… even in our house in San Diego, I don’t think I have ever seen my hubby with a paintbrush in his hands… I am the one with the crazy ideas.

    • Coming East says:

      I think we’re pretty much on the same page most times, DAF, when it comes to decorating. But sometimes I think I bite off more than I want to chew. When it’s done, though, I’m so glad we did it.

  6. It seems to me that the key is to keep going, even though you know it’s going to hurt. Haha. But seriously – that’s when you know you’re alive, isn’t it? I think it’s great that you still do these projects, and that you do them together. What value there is in facing that unpleasant reality together as a couple. It seems like one of those “little things” that helps you bond. And I don’t say this from the lofty position of one younger than you. Trust me, when my dad and I painted my house, the popping, cracking and groaning didn’t all come from him. (Since I was assigned to the low parts of all the walls, I think 3/4 of them came from me!)

    • Coming East says:

      Loved your comment, SC, and you are so right. It’s good to keep going because it does make you feel alive. And we do enjoy working together. I like picturing you working on your house with your dad.

  7. Lenore Diane says:

    I hope the moans and groans provided some comic relief, too. When Rob and I are engaged in a project, once we start mumbling and grumbling we find ourselves laughing. At least we laugh for a little bit (smile), then we go back to mumbling and grumbling.
    Your last line is brilliant. Love it!

    • Coming East says:

      I don’t think my husband was even aware of it, LD. But I definitely thought it was comical. This will be so worth it when we’re done. I can’t wait to put the color on the walls.

  8. dorannrule says:

    I love this post and especially the title! But both my husband and I are beginning to admit some things are just not worth the effort. I keep looking at the junipers outside my kitchen window. I used to trim them into a bonsai shape, but have let them grow at their own pace now. Painting or papering the inside of the house? Out of the question.

    • Coming East says:

      I’m hoping that I can stay strong enough to get the whole house painted inside within the next year and a half. After that, when it needs it again, I’m sticking to what I said in the post, Dor. George can get his young new wife to help him.

  9. Huffygirl says:

    Funny Susan, we are doing the same thing here. My husband stripped wallpaper and painted all weekend, while I sealed counter tops and scrubbed the oven. Plenty of groaning and sharing the heating pad after that. We have a regular physical therapist now and “fight” over who will get her first. The thing is, despite our ages, we are healthy and active – it’s just the mileage that is making these things harder.

    • Coming East says:

      Same here, HG. We are both in our mid-sixties and in very good health. I go to the Y several times a week and do yoga twice a week, but there is no stopping the age-related decline. I’m sure we’re better than people who lead a more sedentary life, though. I like thinking about you and I and our hubbies all working on home improvements at the same time.

  10. Very, very entertaining (yet thoughtful!) post!
    When you finish the dining room show us some before and after photos! I love seeing comparisons like that. 🙂

  11. Val says:

    Love this, Susan! Yes… and I know the feeling – those muscles are never the same as they used to be. (And yep, age does creep into the blog…!)

  12. My hubby is putting in hardwood floors. Let’s just say if the 4 of us were together we may have been considered a band playing our hit “Our Bodies Aren’t What They Use to Be” …. Whew, Ugh, Awe…Ouch. I agree 100% with your suggestion on painting the den!

  13. haha…your last line reminded me of a co-worker who commented to me after I said I really need to get a maid to keep up with the bathrooms and floors. HE said, “You better get one because the next wife will.” That’s all I needed to hear to just pay the big bucks monthly.
    Keeping up with the farm and the house is a lot. The time will come someday we will need to really downsize.

    • Coming East says:

      We had a housekeeper who came every other week when I was working, Georgette, but now that I don’t work, it’s too costly, especially because housekeeping is more expensive here than in San Antonio. We actually bought a place that had a little more square footage than our Texas house, but it has almost no yard. It was the yard that was killing us in San Antonio because it was so big. Glad you took your co-worker’s advice!

  14. I love that last line and will have to borrow it if you don’t mind!

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