The De-Gothening – Kill Shot

It is done.

The de-Gothening is complete. There are no more rooms in my house left to makeover to the mundane. We’re planning a house-mourning party to bid the Gothdom farewell.

Warning – this post is very long and picture heavy.

The last three rooms are featured in this post, because we did one right after the other. It was a week of marathon painting. We hit it hard and got it done, with only a little help from Friend S. The last two areas HWEMC (“He Who Enables My Crazy”) and I did all by ourselves – the bedroom and the linen closet hallway. Friend S. helped with the first coat on the library but had to leave before the beige went up. Still, I am eternally grateful for both her and Friend T.’s help, for without them, we’d be nowhere near as far along as we are. It’s almost September (and you all know how I feel about September) and we just now finished things up. There’s still a few things to do, but it’s mostly little things (or as I call it, “piddly shit”) like weeding the walkway (AGAIN! OH MY GOD THIS IS THE FOURTH TIME THIS SUMMER! CURSE YOU, MORNING GLORY!) and painting the closet doors I took down in the bedroom. Most of what’s left is just random cleaning and putting things back in order. The garage is complete, the yard sale is over. There’s a dump run yet to be made (but the Truck of Awesome is otherwise engaged, plus it’s a holiday weekend here [Labor Day] this weekend and things are just not lining up for a dump run) and some reorganizing of the workshop area to be done, but all that’s not critical to the de-Gothening. That’s stuff I can take care of in bits and pieces while the house is on the market. Stuff that doesn’t require decent weather/open windows. Stuff I can get to as time permits. Most everything that needs to go over to the storage unit is already there; there’s a few totes that could be trotted over, but they don’t absolutely have to go. They can stay downstairs in the utility room if we don’t get around to taking them.

One thing I did get around to was taking all those papers that were lurking down there to a community shred event hosted by one of the local banks, so all those personal/old business documents I spent hours sorting are securely disposed of. I know. I watched them all be destroyed. And I fucking cheered, ya’ll. Right there in the parking lot. People looked at me funny, but I didn’t care. That was *mumblemumble* YEARS of absolute shit that I needed out of my house. And I have sworn NEVER AGAIN. NEVER. NEVER EVER.

And now for the pics. I’ll post these in the order in which they were completed. First up, the library/cat room. We call it the “cat room” because that’s where the majority of the cat boxes are. We have one upstairs as well, but there are three down there along with bed liner pads for my Little Broken Cat because she has trouble using the box sometimes and misses. It’s all right…the pads take care of any accidents she has.

Now, in order to appreciate all the work that went into this room, here are a couple of before pics taken a few years ago when I was on a Stuff Project bender [Note: those are old cat boxes, too. We have newer/bigger ones to accommodate our older/disabled cats now.]:



Now, as I’ve said before, we’ve been planning this moving thing for well over a year, and started working on the library last summer, going through all the books and deciding what we wanted to keep versus what went to donation versus what Powell’s would take. I took a bunch of the “keep” totes over to the storage unit, and still there were books. Those we put in two huge, huge boxes (think what computers and TVs come in) and shoved them and the tall bookcases to the center of the room. Then we moved the smaller cases into the now-cleaned-out utility room to hold so we could work.

Now, remember when I said this house has a lot of paneling in it? Yeah. That includes downstairs. So, before we could paint, I spent an evening (read “about eight hours”) filling in each and every groove in the paneling with paintable spackle. HWEMC sanded all the surfaces and we did a lot of cleaning down there (amazing how much dust accumulates when you don’t clean something for…nevermind) in preparation for the painting.

Found while cleaning out the "games" bookcase. This will come in handy later....

Found while cleaning out the “games” bookcase. This will come in handy later….

Also, remember the Whee!Door and the horrid WTF wallpaper down there? Well, that green wallpaper was installed behind a built-in bookshelf-type thing (you can see a little piece of it in the pic linked above) that we pulled out of there. It was clearly designed to hold someone’s magazine collection, as there were dates. I’m sure it was probably National Geographic, but I like to imagine they were Playboys. But I digress. Here. Have some before pics of the newly prepped area:




You can see in the above pics that beneath the horrid green wallpaper was even more horrid brown wallpaper, with dogs and pipes and other Manly Things on it, so clearly this room served as a Man Cave at some point. Someone came along in the 70s and put down Horrid Green Industrial Carpet and installed oh-so-70s-chic paneling, and covered up Man Cave Paper with something a little more aesthetically pleasing in the form of lime green paper. Which they installed OVER the dog-paper. I just…. Moving on.

We draped and taped everything, Friend S. came over, and we got to work. Here’s the first coat of cover-up white:

Yes, we painted over that horrid brown wallpaper. Normally you don’t do that, because paper doesn’t paint over well, the glue comes off later and ruins the paint, the moisture from the paint wrinkles the paper, la la la. There are a hundred reasons you don’t paint over wallpaper, and I know that. BUT! For this, I left it, because whomever put that wallpaper up didn’t bother prepping the surface before putting the horrid brown paper up. They just PAPERED OVER DRYWALL BOARD. THE WRONG SIDE OF IT. IT’S PAPER OVER PAPER. There’s no getting it off (not even with a steamer, as that would just be more moisture that ruins the paper) without replacing that entire piece of wallboard, and I am not about to do that. It worked out fine. You’ll see. Moving on.

Check out the new white ceiling over the old white under the Pretty Oak Stairs:


Amazing what one little coat of fresh paint will do. After the white, Friend S. had to go. We got some lunch and let the white dry, then came back later that evening for Round 2. We decided to skip another coat of white and go straight for the beige, because the paneling was already showing through the white. The beige works out better for that kind of thing. We learned that with the stairwell. So we started in on the beige, being careful not to paint the ceiling (you’ll see I taped it off):

We let that dry while we got some dinner, then came back down to see if it needed a third coat. Surprisingly, it didn’t. Two coats (one white, one beige) was enough to cover everything and looked pretty damned decent if I do say so myself:

I touched up some spots on the trim and we took down the tape. Check out the Whee!Door:

The next morning we moved things back and arranged the room:

As you can see, we kept mostly hardbacks for “window dressing.” (These aren’t all the books either. There’s an empty bookcase there on the right for all the books we still have upstairs. What? WE LOVE OUR BOOKS.)

We took a break for a day or so, then started in on the bedroom. This room didn’t need as much prep as there was practically nothing in it. I’d already moved the big armoire in there to storage, and that room used to be my office, so everything was already off the walls. The closet doors had already been removed, so all we had to do was move the dresser out of the room and the bed away from the wall, fill in the nail holes, take down the old trashed too-big blind over the window, and toss down some drop cloths.

Here’s the “before” pic. The walls and ceiling are an embarrassing shade of sea-green, as it was supposed to be a base for a stencil that I never got around to painting, and that was when we first bought the place. I hadn’t come out of my Goth closet and was trying to be happy with mundane colors. So here you go. Sea-green:

Shut up. I don’t want to hear it. Not pictured – at least thirty nail/screw holes where various shelves, pictures, and window treatments had been installed). Next up, the cover-up coat of white. I neglected to take a picture of that stage for whatever reason. Probably because it was getting late and I wanted to get the painting done so we could put our bed back together and sleep. So, here’s a picture of the completed paint. Like the other rooms, we did the trim and ceiling white. Just the walls are beige:

Here it is the following day with the bed back together and the tape down:

Remember when I talked about all that junk mail I’d been dealing with FOR MONTHS? Yeah. It’s been a long road, that fucking shit. I’ve been working all summer on getting all that ignored paper sorted out and ready for a burn party or something at a friend’s house, so I already had five (I am not kidding here…I told you, it was years worth of crap. YEARS.) small U-Haul moving boxes filled and ready to go with shredder/burn papers, and one more box full of all the sealed/unopened envelopes I’d collected left in my office to go through. When I heard there was going to be a community shred event, I knuckled under and pulled that box out of my office to get done so that everything in it could go too. I emptied the box into the Green Tote of Doom (the tote I’ve been using to sort through all the papers I’d found over the months), turned on Netflix, and got to work with my sword-shaped letter opener, the box I was going to take to the shred event, a trash can, and a recycle bin for all the bullshit they stuff in those presort junk mail envelopes. Here’s how I started. For the record, this is a 21-gallon storage tote:

Here’s a side-shot with my hand as reference:

Two hours later, I’d barely skimmed the surface. Literally, the surface. The top layer only. Two hours of grab an envelope, slice it open with the letter opener, toss any paper with address/personal info into the cardboard shred box, envelope and any non-personal paper into the recycle bin, repeat:

Now, I didn’t take a picture of the completion of that tote, because it was 3AM by the time I finished…a full NINE HOURS of dealing with paper. NINE HOURS. Don’t think I’m bitching here, either. I did this to myself, and you all know I have no sympathy for self-inflicted wounds. That nine hours was penance for my sin of sloth…I put that shit aside to deal with “later,” and “later” ended up being the night before a 9AM shred event. But I got it done, and the next morning Friend T. came by with his Truck of Awesome and his own load of papers to shred. It heartened me a little to see his boxes outnumbered mine. We took everything to the shred event and watched it be chewed to bits by a huge commercial shredding truck (there was a camera in the back of it and a little box where we could watch it all be minced to dust). It was absolutely freeing to watch everything that had been moldering in the basement and had been the bane of my existence these last few months be fed to a giant metal beast and ground to death. I felt vindicated in a way. My suffering had been avenged. And it will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. It was a victory, but not over yet. One last thing remained….

My bastion.

My tiny little bastion of Gothdom. My sanity. My oasis in this desert of normalcy. I deliberately saved this tiny piece for last because it’s right outside my bedroom door and I NEEDED IT TO KEEP MY CALM. I have no shame in admitting that it was “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas that came on my Pandora at the precise moment I needed it that made me pick up the brush and begin cutting in with white on the Bastion of Sanity. Here’s how it looked before, black walls with silver trim:

This took ages, because I had to keep stopping for breaks. This hallway has three doors in addition to the linen closet pictured (I’m standing in one of them to take this pic), and that not only meant a shit-ton of cutting in, it meant the doors had to be closed (because they needed to be painted white, too), which meant there was absolutely no ventilation. It got hot really fast, and with the paint fumes plus the heat it wasn’t the most pleasant experience, despite the fans I had going. It’s a small space, and all that trim was insanely hard work to cut in. Also, I’m a small person, and there was barely enough room for me and the step-ladder (shut up) in there.

I deliberately did the cutting in and first coat by myself. I needed to be alone with my Bastion, okay? This was the kill shot. I was putting the animal out of its pain. It was my job…my responsibility to end this. I started it, I was going to finish it:

It was late by the time HWEMC got home to see what I had done. I told him I was going to do it that evening, and he was still shocked that I’d done so much by myself. He wanted to finish it with me. We’re in this together. It was only fair. The first coat was dry, so I went ahead and taped the trim while he broke out the beige.


It only took about twenty minutes to get the FBOMGIC on the walls, and we left it overnight to dry. When we checked on it in the morning, it looked utterly fine with just the two coats (again, one white, one beige), so we left it as it was and just added another coat of white to the ceiling and trim.

And with that, it was over:

It is done. The de-Gothening is complete. The Mundane Makeover is finished. Every room in this house has now joined the ranks of the FBOMGIC, and I am in absolute torment.

No, I mean it. The brightness is almost blinding. I’m a lair-dweller. There’s no darkness left here anywhere, and while I know that’s a good thing for most people (because most people here want light and bright given that it rains most of the year here and grey is prevalent for the majority of it), but it kills me.

Hopefully the house will sell quickly and I can move to another that I can Gothify to my dark soul’s content.

The rest of the week will be dedicated to putting things back in order, cleaning, and tidying. Making things presentable.

And planning that house-mourning party.