147 Comments

  1. Jennifer S
    October 2, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

    Very hysterically funny… so much that I actually lost sight of how totally miserable this all must have been. You have a great writing gift and a house beautiful enough to withstand the ugliness of any bad stain. Also, your marriage belongs on TV because… just highly amusing.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 2, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

      I hesitated to characterize Paul as anything other than stoic and handsome. But um. Clearly I overcame that hesitation.

      It was miserable at the time… the way anything is when spiraling out of control and tempers are short. However, I am so pleased with my casino analogy, I’ve forgotten how irritated I was.

      Reply

  2. Alex @ northstory
    October 2, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

    We had a guy build half our deck. I am ALL for paying people who know what they’re doing to make your life easier. That deck looks sweet!!! Do you not like it? I swear it’s awesome.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 2, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

      You know… it’s something only I will notice and care about. But it’s kind of orangey.

      Fortunately, my relief at it just being finished outweighs my dislike of the color. I’m actually surprised at how much I don’t care.

      Reply

      • Alex @ northstory
        October 2, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

        This is why we get along. I SO understand that part. There’s a first floor landing that I’ve stopped caring about whether or not it should be carpeted like the rest of the stairs or hardwood. I just don’t want to step on plywood anymore.

        Reply

        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          October 2, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

          I’m pretty sure ambivalence won’t do anything for the appearance of this house, but it certainly did a lot for my mental state.

          I should try to make more decisions from that state of mind rather than my usual control-freak-over-analytical-crazy-person… no one likes her anyway.

          Reply

  3. Stacey
    October 2, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

    I just love you! Seriously… we could be sisters in so many ways. I many times feel like the things I want just don’t exist… except in my head and minds eye. To try and find this perfect product or perfect color is maddening and eventually does make you want to sit in a corner and cry and totally give up. I’m with you, Victoria! Hang in there.

    I know you don’t want to hear this but IP is GOOD STUFF! You should definitely feel lucky to have it even though it has been a pain in your butt. It’s durable, very bug resistant and I think extremely beautiful. The perfect choice for decking.

    I’m amazed at any couple that can go through a home renovation and remain… ummm… MARRIED!
    I’m telling you I’m sure Richie would love to put duct tape around my mouth and tie me up in an empty room for a few days. OH the things he could accomplish! HAH HA ! Honestly, I think the porch looks amazing. Once you step away from it for a few days it will seem perfect to you. I just know it! It’s really beautiful! The prettiest porch I’ve ever seen… for sure.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 2, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

      I know you’re right about the material, but seriously? The stain choices are ALL orange. They name them all these appealing-sounding tints, but really they should say Orange #1, Orange #2…

      We are at three years in this house now, and whenever I think Paul and I have perfected our communication, (or at least drastically improved it,) something like this happens. Where you both actually have the SAME EXACT frustration, but are completely unable to stand its manifestation in the other person.

      The feeling of just walking away and choosing to be done with it was such a relief. I didn’t know you could choose an orange floor and then go inside and make dinner and not even go out to check on the progress.

      Reply

      • 4pam
        October 7, 2012 @ 10:20 am

        They may all seem orange in the can, but what you put any color near plus the lighting will affect how you see them, too. And blue will definitely bring out the orange in any stain. I hope it ages warmer and browner for you.

        Reply

        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          October 7, 2012 @ 11:13 am

          I know you’re right—the stain will darken over time. And a lot of the yellow undertones will fade. It was stained before, and it had faded to a nondescript shade of brownish gray.

          Reply

  4. the home tome
    October 2, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

    ha ha! it takes two to tango – and your tango is very funny – though I’m sure it seems anything BUT that in the moment! I agree that the stain looks great. BTW, I love the image of you in a band outfit marching out in front of Paul’s DIY train, so great! I also got a good chuckle over the fact that your deck sample could have chemically changed on the way to the stain store, good stuff 🙂

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 2, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

      It doesn’t help that neither Paul nor I are easygoing. If required, we could both probably Tango alone. So you can imagine that together we can really do some good choreography…lol

      Reply

  5. City girl
    October 2, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

    Well when I had the same exact drama I was asked…did u stir it up real good? LOL I did not have anyone to share the blame and to add insult to injury when. I got the last one I dropped the can on my toe and had to have that burn in the nail to bleed off my toe surgery remember that? That was in may and my toenail hasn’t grown back yet. I was so disgusted I used semi opaque stain. Hate it but living with it.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 2, 2012 @ 3:37 pm

      If Cabot had asked me if I stirred it well, I would have punched them through the phone. Don’t ask how I would have accomplished it, but I would have.

      I suppose I’ll have to try to be grateful that no one lost a toenail…lol.

      Reply

  6. scottiev
    October 2, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

    So maddening when you feel like you’ve finally found “it”. Thanks for sharing the reality of a good marriage- home improvement projects can be so “fun” sometimes…

    I agree with the others- it really does look amazing. I hope you feel that way too eventually. Hang in there…hopefully you’re nearing the home stretch. At least is one less thing….right?

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 2, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

      Yes. Fun. The kind of fun you cannot imagine until you try to accomplish the seven-levels of unexpected tasks required by any home improvement project. With your spouse. While they are in mood even worse than yours.

      And yes, it being done is the best part of it anyway… so the color issue will pass.

      Reply

  7. vintagekaren
    October 2, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

    Victoria, you had me laughing and crying and feeling your pain! It reminds me of the time my husband and I ordered two living room chairs with a custom fabric. LOVED the fabric sample in the store, but once the chairs arrived, we were not doing cartwheels! (The fabric suddenly looked “old-ladyish”!) We lived with them for over eight years till the fabric starting getting worn and I said “That’s enough!” and replaced them with two classic black leather chairs and we couldn’t be happier. BTW, I think your porch looks fabulous!

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 2, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

      It’s a bad feeling… that sinking realization that you’ve just committed to something you’d really like to change your mind about.

      On the positive side, not being totally in love with your upholstery makes it less sad when someone eventually spills something!!

      Reply

  8. Karen B.
    October 2, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

    Victoria,
    Okay, clearly I am not as discerning as you, but the deck looks amazing to me. When I began to read the story I was certain you were going to say Paul had painted half the deck with the pre-ordered stain and you got home and freaked out…and he had to sand half the deck right after paying someone to sand it for you! So this story seems way better. I once went to Home Depot and purchased the paint color I had deliberated over for months only to discover that the morning the painters arrived the HD guy had sold me the color right below MY color on the color card. The paint ended up looking wonderful and we still have it. The color I had selected was probably the SAFE color, I can be timid where color is concerned.
    I loved your story, as always. I can relate to the fast moving train and momentum worker more than I can with the discerning, great taste in stain, administrative assistant. 🙂 Patience is not one of my virtues.
    Karen

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 2, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

      Karen,
      It is entirely possible that Paul weighed out, and decided against the risk to his life, if he went ahead and stained with what he had. If he did think about it, he heard me saying something shrill and disbelieving and angry… and that dissuaded him.

      It will be fine… It’s just not at all what I had spent a month deciding on. It really is strongly orange/yellow. Even if I’m the only one who will ever notice.

      I guess I need to get a better photo that shows it in a larger scale. No one here will say, oh wow, that IS totally orange, but at least you’ll see why it’s not exactly what I wanted.

      Reply

      • Karen B.
        October 2, 2012 @ 5:53 pm

        I hate orangey but the picture doesn’t look orange, it reminds me of the teak-like wood that used to be the floor for a Nautica store that opened in Fashion Island, Newport Beach, CA. Very nautical but very pretty. Paul was probably thinking, as Lyn (my husband) would have, “uh, this looks wrong and it’s above my pay grade to make this decision”

        Reply

        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          October 3, 2012 @ 7:55 am

          I’ll post another photo… you won’t think it looks bad, exactly… but you’ll see that the shade should be more brown.

          There have been a few times Paul has decided to just go ahead… despite being *well* aware I wouldn’t be happy with the product/outcome/shade… none of those times have worked out for him,

          Reply

  9. redjim99
    October 2, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

    The pleasure we took from finishing our patio, after 2 years of mouldy concrete, A joy, your deck looks good, and after sanding our internal floors I think getting someone to do it for you was a good move.

    Jim

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 2, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

      Paul sanded floors at our old house, and the time-intensiveness combined with the skill of using a tool that’s not something he’s a pro with… makes it better for us to just pay someone. The guys we had do it were incredibly fast compared to the time it would have taken Paul…

      Reply

  10. jennifer wingert
    October 2, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

    How your frustration, anger and ultimate apathy so positively altered my mood is beyond me. But thanks for that. Just so thoroughly dig your blog.

    Reply

  11. RedCandy
    October 2, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

    Oh boy! I felt incredibly stress just reading this post! Poor you, poor Paul.
    On the up side, the porch looks fabulous! You can’t tell from looking that the staining had been so stressful. Oh, and the door, so lovely!
    So what’s the next project?

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 2, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

      The next project needs to be something small, and manageable, and stress-free that doesn’t require any decision-making on my part!! I don’t know if we have any of those kinds, but we may need to invent one!

      Reply

  12. Danielle
    October 3, 2012 @ 1:45 am

    Oh my goodness… this is so hysterical and horrible at the same time! We’ve been there… I KNOW that conversation, just not so brilliantly captured.

    Isn’t hiring out the best?! It’s truly magical and still oddly satisfying knowing all the sweat, stress and sore muscles you just avoided. I can’t even imagine how the conversation would’ve gone if Paul had done the sanding himself and then been faced with the wrong stain.

    Despite all the chaos, the finished results are really beautiful and I hope you both are enjoying it.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 3, 2012 @ 8:03 am

      I never even considered the depth of pandemonium we would have sunk to, if Paul had spent hours sanding… only to have to shop for stain.
      One of us wouldn’t be alive.

      It’s amazing how fast the floor-guys were. They showed up, unloaded their truck, and got to work all in like two minutes. Plus it made me feel totally luxurious and rich. Like I was having a spa day and then going shoe-shopping or whatever people who hire contractors do with their time.

      Reply

  13. Apple Hill Cottage
    October 3, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

    Ha, Captain No-Shiny. I love it. I also love your white porch ceiling. We have only a humble country cottage but the whole back deck is barn red. We’re not there yet, still on the kitchen, but it kills me to even think about painting the whole giant thing. (My kitchen ceiling is shiny!)

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 4, 2012 @ 9:04 am

      I would say this—a paint sprayer is your friend. I cannot imagine having done the square-footage involved in our porch ceiling by hand. Especially with the multiple coats we needed to cover the bright orange (and that you will need to cover barn red).

      I guess your husband is less of a shine-dictator… lucky you!! Lol.

      Reply

  14. sarajanelle
    October 4, 2012 @ 8:10 am

    Oh My Gosh I adore you. I love your writing style and I LOVE this house! I’ve definitely been enjoying reading your stuff since our blog paths crossed. Good luck to the future, I’ll be reading! 🙂

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 4, 2012 @ 9:07 am

      Hey, thanks! Seriously.
      I love this house too… but it’s turned me into a version of myself that I wouldn’t have recognized a few years ago. I worry that the brainpower I’m expending on the minutiae of house-details is a sign of some kind of moral shortcoming.

      Reply

      • sarajanelle
        October 4, 2012 @ 9:50 am

        Nah, it’s A LOT of work that you and your husband are doing, of course there will be days of short tempers and frustration and all that, but its the time at a happy days end that matters, when you can look at what you’ve accomplished and be proud. Someday you’ll get back to the ‘you’ that you’ll recognize. Until then just keep pushing through. You’re doing amazing work, and you’re keeping your sense of humor in tact, as well as your ability to look through and really digest the moral shortcomings you may or may not have developed.

        Reply

        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          October 5, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

          Thanks for that. I get so wrapped up in details… even though later they are revealed to be incredibly idiotic.

          We still keep the toilet paper on the back of the toilet, because I could not choose a holder and got overwhelmed and gave up. Whenever I look at it, it’s a reminder that what seems urgent one month, will later be utterly trivial.

          Reply

          • sarajanelle
            October 5, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

            Hahaha. It’s funny, really if you think about it. My mom always said that you should never pick out a living room “set” or decorate an entire room at once, because in life you need to stumble across things that fit well. Sometime or another you’ll stumble across the perfect toilet paper holder and there will be no stress involved! ha.

            Reply

  15. cruelladekill
    October 6, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

    After reading this, I now know that if I had a deck to finish, I would not want to. But you know what–yours turned out beautifully even after all the strife. Must have been karma from that new purse.

    You are hilarious. Love your writing! Please author a book.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 7, 2012 @ 9:54 am

      Well, if you had a deck to finish, now you know what *not* to do…
      And seriously? I could totally use a new handbag.

      p.s. – your gravatar is both alarming and hysterical.

      Reply

      • cruelladekill
        October 7, 2012 @ 12:29 pm

        Alarming and hysterical, spot on! That’s why I chose it. If I ever decide to write a few more thoughtful posts I’ll have to change it or no one will be able to take seriously. On that note, if you thought the gravatar was good, scroll down to the bottom of this–I can’t remember where I came across this image but it’s even better.

        Reply

        • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
          October 9, 2012 @ 11:32 am

          I was honestly a little scared to click the link… I’m not a very brave person. “Gremlins” was like the most terrifying movie I’ve ever seen. But? The “no time to explain, get in the van” made me laugh out loud. And then be creeped out.

          Reply

          • cruelladekill
            October 9, 2012 @ 11:49 am

            Precisely! I nearly died. It’s perfect.

            Reply

  16. Mountain Gypsy
    October 6, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

    Oh my, your post is one for the records! Good stuff I’ll tell you. Parts of it took me back to the days my ex ( this was part of the reason he’s an ex ) and I bought a house that was so much a project we had to live in a motor home in the driveway for two months! I don’t miss those days. If I had the chance to renovate again, I’d hire it all out. I’d be like ” I want this, this and this ” My project days are over but I sure do appreciate what you’re dealing with. There does come a point when you just want it done and the mystique of ” doing it yourself ” seems so fairytale. I wish you only the best on your next venture.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 7, 2012 @ 9:55 am

      One on hand, living in our driveway would allow me some respite from the dirt and mess. But on the other hand? I don’t think I could live in such close-quarters with anyone other than my cat…

      Hiring everything out is now my biggest fantasy… a fantasy that would also have to include winning the lottery. Reality shows about home repair/remodeling have totally romanticized the whole DIY thing. Until you actually do it, you have no idea…

      Reply

  17. Áine Warren
    October 6, 2012 @ 5:41 pm

    Hahaha yeah this is the exact kind of scenario I can see myself ending up in once I have my own house! Were you happy with the finished product??

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 7, 2012 @ 9:56 am

      Now that it’s been a few days, yes. I’m fine with it. It’s not my ideal color. But, no one but me will ever notice… you’ll see, when you get your house. Decisions like this become strangely agonizing…

      Reply

      • Áine Warren
        October 8, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

        I can understand that completely! Glad you’re ok with it now 🙂

        Reply

  18. Lisha @ The Lucky Mom
    October 6, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

    I feel your pain. Mr. Wonderful and I once painted our garage SIX TIMES IN ONE WEEKEND because we could not get the perfect shade of taupe. But your porch looks fabulous!

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 7, 2012 @ 9:56 am

      That seems totally normal to me. I mean, horrible. But normal. Your husband really is Mr. Wonderful… Paul would have gone on strike after three…

      Reply

  19. Maria
    October 6, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

    The story is completely relatable – common place but not common, not the way you tell it. It’s not polite to take pleasure in or look at the pain of others as entertainment but lines like, “please do not try to explain it to me because I no longer care.” did make me snicker.

    I see the differences in color but actually like it, better than (I think) if it had all been dark or all been light.

    It’s a beautiful display of wood, grain, texture and color.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      October 7, 2012 @ 10:01 am

      I DO really like the stripe-y look. It’s not something I’d seen before this porch, and I’m really happy with that aspect of it… like you said, it gives it texture and makes the wood more interesting.

      I’m actually glad you laughed… As miserable as the experience was, I was surprised how funny I found it when posting about it.

      Reply

      • Maria
        October 8, 2012 @ 1:18 pm

        Things are often more fun or at least a less stressful in retrospect. Thanks for sharing it. 🙂

        Reply

  20. ashanam
    October 6, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

    It’s beautiful.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

/* AdThrive class addition */ /* End AdThrive class addition */