Accepting Help when Offered: a Painting Job Done

I started this blog at the first of the year, intending to use it to keep myself motivated and also to track progress in clearing out the house. Documenting the effort led me, for the first time, to formulate a list of rules for clean-up. By my second post I’d added a new rule – when friends offer to help, say yes. I’d been stuck in the mode of doing things by myself and hadn’t been able to unbend until I saw that list laid out.

Today’s post is a tribute to Sam for helping me with yet another project. And he didn’t just help, he got me started. “I’ll be off work Friday and available to help you,” he said. “Have something ready to work on.”

That put me on the spot. Help was on the way, and no moping or procrastinating allowed. First up: the basement steps. I’d had this project in mind for years but it looked so dreary that I just hadn’t been able to do it.

Here's the "before" picture of my grungy basement steps.

Here’s the “before” picture of my grungy basement steps.

One more good thing about painting this stairwell — I used up leftover paint from an upstairs room. Now there’s one less paint can to keep in the garage. Here’s Sam painting the ceiling. Does he have a halo or is that a trick of the light?

Sam painting the basement stairwell.

Sam painting the basement stairwell.

I did buy new paint for the steps. Once again I maintain that any painted floor should be the color of dust. It seemed a little dull when finished though, so for some pizzazz, I used leftover red front-door paint for the handrail. Here we are, looking up…

Painted basement stairwell, "after".

Painted basement stairwell, “after”.

Having help means more than just division of labor. It’s moral support, company, camaraderie, and salve for the spirit. Even a dreary task seems like fun, and this job certainly makes a trip to the basement much more palatable.

Do you have something you need to accept help with?

Related posts:

Rethinking the Rules  and Still Cleaning the Garage Utility Closet

What is This Doing in My Basement?

I’m just putting the finishing touches on painting the stairway to my basement, and now that the trip itself isn’t quite so gross, it’s freed me to go down there more often.

I even pulled out a few boxes of things, just enough to find —

A bottle of Perrier:A bottle of Perrier Water from before the 1990 benzene scare.

I looked at this for a bit before it came to me. I think it’s “classic” Perrier, from the benzene days. Back in 1990, Perrier recalled its product inventory after laboratory tests found it contained benzene. Bob always had an eye for a collector’s item, so I’m sure that’s why he kept it. Hmm, now I’m wondering if I accidentally drank some benzene Perrier sometime in the last few years.

Bob’s mother’s refrigerator-storage containers:

Refrigerator dishes label DSC_0450

I recognize Bob’s writing on this label.

Time capsule – these dishes were packed away and wrapped in newspaper in the 1970’s. The date on the paper is Oct 3, 1973, nearly 40 years old.

Here’s synchronicity in the comics: Beetle Bailey. Beetle’s creator Mort Walker will be 90 years old tomorrow. The costumed character in this comic reminds me of yet another coincidence – here in the Southeast, it’s the last day of Dragon Con 2013.

1973 Beetle Bailey DSC_0471

1973 clothing ad. Did we really look like this?

Did we really look like this? (Kill me now)

There’s a lot to mine from the 1973 newspaper. Hints From Heloise told us that for safety’s sake we should “securely tack the cuffs of those great-looking wide leg pants to the pant leg” lest we catch the heel of our boots and take a tumble. Now are you ready to see those pants?

Bell bottoms ad 1973. Plaid, no less.

The hunks of 1973, in plaid, no less. I do like the price on the refrigerator.

And here are the dishes. Is it my imagination or are these colors back in style? I ‘m going to use them. They’re glass – something to help me be one step closer to plastic-free. I’ll never know why they got packed away so carefully in 1973, but they’ve waited all this time so deserve to be appreciated.

Refrigerator Dishes DSC_0463


My mother’s plastic freezer containers:

Peach 71: label on plastic freezer container lid.

Here’s a lid. She used and re-used the containers for several years. I’m not sure how I ended up with them.

The God of Synchronicity and Kitchen Storage is having a little fun with me here. I found some of these when cleaning out under my kitchen sink, and now I see there were more in the basement.

My parents always planted a garden, and “put up” fresh vegetables and fruit both by canning and freezing. They had apple trees and a cherry tree, but no peach tree. My mother must have bought a bushel of peaches when they were in season. Seeing my mother’s handwriting on these lids melts my heart. I’m ashamed to admit that it also makes me hungry for her peach cobbler. It’s over a decade since her death, but my eyes are tearing up while writing this. I still miss her, think of her often, and try to be a person she’d be proud of.

These containers pre-date recycling so aren’t stamped for sorting. Luckily I have a friend who said she has a use for them, so they won’t go to the landfill.

A tribble, or a cat toy?

This may not be from the basement, but it showed up recently so I’ll include it here so I can end on a positive note.  When I first found it I thought it was a Tribble…they’re the cute but prolific critters from the original Star Trek. Remember, I mentioned Dragon Con a paragraph or two back? I thought this might be swag from a past Con. Now I wonder if it might have been a toy belonging to a beloved past pet, but that brings me back to love and loss, so I’ll go with Tribble.

Tribble or Toy ?

Tribble or toy?

Have you cleaned out your basement lately?