My official painting T-shirt is back out of retirement! The last time I busted it out was seven months ago, when we were preparing for our home study, and I decided impulsively to paint the hall bathroom with a pint of dark green paint we had lying around.

Turned out there wasn’t enough paint to finish the job, and we decided the color was too dark anyway. A few days later, we went out and bought a gallon of paint – Valspar Green Peppercorn, a medium sage green. But then, instead of painting, we flitted off to New Orleans for a couple of days. Then came Christmas, so painting wasn’t on the agenda. Then came two business trips for me, weeks of emotionally draining adoption drama, a trip to see my sister, two months of obsessing about exercising, a trip to see friends, two funerals, a trip to the beach, a trip to Ireland. Before we knew it, spring was over.

Then Saturday night I said to a half-asleep D, “Hey, we should paint the hall bathroom tomorrow.” He didn’t exactly agree, but he didn’t say no either.

The next morning while he was on the phone regaling his brother with all the fascinating details of the tractor pull he went to the day before, I set to work locating the paint and supplies, clearing stuff out of the bathroom, and taping off the edges of the counter top. By the time D was off the phone, I was almost finished stirring the paint, which had becoming severely separated during the past seven months.

I set D right to work getting the last of the clumps out of the paint. By then, he didn’t really have much choice but to pitch in. Ah, it was just like the old days, when I’d go crank up a power tool and threaten to start sawing things to get D motivated to help.

We managed to finish the job in three or four hours. Not too bad. I cut in around the counter top, door and window frames, and baseboards – my specialty – while D used the roller and eventually cut in under the crown molding, where I couldn’t reach even on the top rung of the step ladder.

While we painted, we sang along to Elliott Yamin (because we’re just that cool) and the CD we bought at the Irish House Party. We didn’t even bicker, even when D got paint on the ceiling and I kept accidentally bumping my shoulder into the same spot on the freshly-painted wall. (My painting T-shirt now has several green spots in addition to the blood-red ones from painting our living room.)

Afterward, still high on the sense of accomplishment, we weren’t quite ready to pack it in for the day. D decided to build me a belt rack out of a leftover scrap of wood (which he planed and stained at neighbor K’s house) and the hooks from the former hall closet. Before, my belts were hanging on a row of nails that weren’t quite long enough, so the belts were forever falling off and puddling in the floor. Now I have room for all my belts, plus leftover space for scarves!

Meanwhile, I tackled the master bathroom, which was in dire need of organization. The top of my pretty little vintage vanity was completely hidden by a heap of stuff – I should’ve taken a “before” picture because now I can’t even remember what all was there. I sorted through everything, including the contents of my jewelry box – and banished a good chunk of stuff to the yard sale/donation pile.

There was also still a bunch of stuff left in the hall bathroom from my long period of exile there from when we were renovating the master bathroom. I sorted through it, too, and trashed or donated another pile of stuff. The rest I reconciled with the stuff from the master bathroom, and somehow now I have an extra empty drawer. How this miracle occurred I have no idea.

Especially considering that I kept a lot of makeup I really should’ve just chunked. Every so often I go through my massive collection of makeup and get rid of the old stuff. Mascara, lip gloss and liquid foundation are easy – they get gross. Eye shadows and lipsticks, however, seem to last forever.

That is how I am still in possession of the silver eye shadow I wore to the senior prom.

I’ll just let that sink in a minute. It’s pretty weird. There’s no way I’m ever going to actually wear eye shadow that’s 10 years old, not to mention extremely glittery. That stuff has probably grown some invisible fungus by now, that would use the traveling power of glitter to spread its funky way into my eye sockets and make my eyeballs fall out.

I don’t know why I still own this shadow, or the numerous others from high school up to the present day. The only reason I can think of is nostalgia. I’ve probably mentioned before how I am capable of forming a sentimental attachment to almost anything, from the metal tab of a soda can to my former favorite earring, whose mate has been missing for years.

Yesterday, with all my makeup spread out before me on the bed, I realized that these eye shadows and lipsticks tell the story of my life (at least from age 15 onward). Each of them spent some time in my hand and on my face on a daily basis for a period of time – weeks, months, even years in some cases.

(Click on the picture for a more detailed accounting of the significance of these eye shadows and here for lipsticks … if you dare.)

In this collection is the flattened nub of the pinky-brown lipstick I wore on my wedding day (7 years ago), the first shimmery lavender eye shadows I tried after reading in Seventeen that purple enhances green eyes, the perfume (Estee Lauder Pleasures) I got for Christmas and wore throughout the winter of 1998-9 – and oh the memories sniffing it evoked!

Just like all my collections of not-entirely-useful stuff, I’m scared to let go of these things because I’m not sure that without them to trigger the memories, the memories themselves won’t fade away completely.

For example, that wedding day lipstick always reminds me of the moment pre-wedding when I got a phone call telling me D was not only late for his portion of the photo shoot but also didn’t bring his tuxedo. (Hmm, maybe I should let that memory go after all … it has the power to piss me off to this day!)

Either way, this time I decided to spread all the makeup out and take pictures of it, so I’d still have the memory trigger even without the junk. But when the time came to sort and put things back in the drawers, hmm, well … somehow there was not so much sorting as keeping. All of it, even the silver prom shadow.

Let’s pretend you didn’t read that. Focus on the fact that my vanity is now clear, my earrings sorted by color and style, my hair clips in their own drawer. And, thanks to D, my belts and scarves are organized, too.

See, no need to chunk the old fungus makeup. There’s plenty of room!

posted by K | filed under Bathrooms, Ooh, Pretty!, Paint, Simplify | 6 Comments

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