Monthly Archives: July 2017

Expectations vs. Reality

     The working title of this blog post was “Damn You Doris Day”, but I love Doris Day. She is an amazing woman and actress, so I did not keep that title.

     When we bought this house, I honestly believed that we’d have the wallpaper down and all the rooms painted in thirty days. I told Richard that I was not sleeping in a bedroom with a maroon ceiling that had a bubble in it. Here we are 43 days in and, well, the bubble is gone.


Looking up from my bed at the ceiling. The maroon ceiling that now has nice shiplap wood where the bubble used to be.


     Where did I get the idea that three people, one with a full-time job and bagpiping gigs almost every weekend, could at least get 2,000 square feet of rooms painted in thirty days? I blame the movies and television. I’m a hard worker; I can do it all. I have all the tools. What don’t I have? Set directors, set designers, set decorators, or a set dresser. And dammit, I don’t have a wardrobe assistant. (By the way, there is a movie terminology glossary at; it’s interesting).

I am a self-proclaimed cinephile. I love movies and I love old television programs. I cannot find a definition for someone that loves old television series, so I shall call myself a telephile as well. As I have scrubbed, dusted, sanded, painted, dug in the soil, and washed load after load of laundry for the past six weeks, a song from a Doris Day musical has been running through my head: “A Woman’s Touch” from the movie Calamity Jane.

     The scene opens with Doris Day as Calamity Jane and Allyn McLerie as Katie Brown, singing “A Woman’s Touch” and cleaning Calamity’s filthy hovel. Neither one of them gets a speck of dirt on them. The dust magically misses them! In two minutes, they have the place cleaned up, the bunk bed transforms into twin singles, and the front door with the rotted wood is whole, painted, and signed. I really want that paint! The dead roses are watered and are suddenly healthy. It’s like ET visited! The chintz curtains are perfect and the chairs have very 1950’s seat covers. By the end of the scene, Calamity is dolled up and the two are having tea in their cleaned and redecorated cabin. Four minutes. It took all of four minutes. This scene plays to my expectations as I work to restore this house but it is not to my reality. 




My reality is dust so thick that I must wear a respirator. My reality is manky at times and sometimes I must bathe twice a day. My reality is paint stained clothes with tears in them from puppy teeth. My expectations have always exceeded my reality. Recently, I have given into my reality a wee bit. We began to put our pictures up on the ugly walls that cry for a coat of fresh paint. Yesterday, I unpacked my books – many which have been in storage for over two years – and I put them on the built-in bookcase that needs to be painted. My reality is messy and beautiful.

Those black dots are a tarry adhesive that tarry adhesive remover will not remove. We have been chiseling them off. It is going to have to wait.


Each day brings us one step closer to having the home of our dreams. I just need to remember to take small steps because as my family knows, I will sprain my ankle if I take big ones. I also need to remember that my expectations will be better served by carefully working on each project and bringing the changes about slowly. It will all come together when it is supposed to come together.