Saturday, August 15, 2009

An Urge

Last Saturday, I got an urge.

Do allow me to explain. As is my wont, this will take a bit of time. First, background. Three weeks ago, at long last, I bought couches. And not just any couches. Expensive, squishy leather couches. In a lovely shade of …ochre? Whatever—a really nice, warm brown with a bit of orange in it. So they were delivered to my apartment and I played musical furniture—turned my TV stand into a coffee table and my night table into a TV stand (which is what it used to be before it was a night table) and my ratty plastic shelves into a night table (which is what they used to be before they were my coffee table). And voila! I was set— couches and tables and stands in all the right places.

But then…disaster struck. The coffee table? It is not so nice. It is from Ikea. It is unfinished pine wood. It just…well…you know…it just does not go with my luxurious squishy couches. It is …oh…what word am I looking for? Ugly? So then I thought to myself "Remember that gorgeous blue set of drawers at Mia the Ima's? Why don't you paint your table blue? Then it will be an accent piece. Think how nice and stylish that would be! People will come and comment on your gorgeous table and wherever did you get it you will be able to say 'oh, that? Picked it up at Ikea and painted it'. Like, instead of being a boring accountant you will be this sophisticated, cool type that buys furniture and then refinishes it and shit. And who has an accent piece in her living room."

I liked this idea so much that I immediately called my friends to tell them about it. Sadly, I am famous for starting projects and never finishing them or meaning to start projects and never starting them. There are the two half-done baby blankets that I started when friend's babies were born, three years ago. There are the lovely blue wine bottles that have been sitting on my counter for the last six months, waiting for me to remove the labels and turn them into water bottles. There are the various beads and nylon thread that I have carting around with me for the last 20 years, for when I learn to make beaded jewelry. Best of all, there is the beautiful painting of a hamsa that I started eight years ago, when I made aliyah, and still have not finished. When I was injured, this painting of mine was a point of some melodrama. Would I ever see well enough to finish it? Once my vision was back, I thought about finishing the painting and then donating rights to the picture to Hadassah. They could sell prints, to raise money for the wonderful hospital that saved my eyesight. Seven years later, vision is fine, painting is still not finished. I am so pathetic.

So anyway, I am telling everyone about my plan to paint my table and everyone knew KNEW that this table was never going to be painted blue. Even I knew that this table was never going to be painted blue. I would plan on painting it blue. The table would plan on becoming blue. But it would never actually be blue.

Except, now it is blue.

Two weeks ago, I went to the friendly neighborhood paint store. I was completely overwhelmed, and left. A few days later, I went back to the store. "This time" I told myself "you are not leaving without paint". I chose my color—a tasteful, muted blue-breen. I bought a paintbrush. I bought sandpaper. I brought everything home. Everything was in place for me to put the supplies aside and intend to get around to painting for a couple years. I was content. Life was good.

But then, two days later, as I said, I got this urge. "Go paint the table" Urge ordered. Like a zombie, I pulled out the table and the paint. Urge screamed at me "No! Imbecile! Do it כמו שצריך! Properly! Sand it first!" So I dragged the whole thing outside. And I sanded it. And then I dragged it back in and painted it. And then I dragged it back outside and sanded it again. And dragged it back it and painted it again. And at the end of the day, I had a blue table. Of course, the tasteful, muted blue-green turned out to be a not-so-tasteful, extremely loud shade of turquoise. But no matter—the table was blue. I was happy. Table was happy. Urge had also forced me to finally took time to go through and get rid of nearly all of my cassettes as sophisticates with accent pieces do not have several hundred cassettes lying around their living rooms). So now my friends were happy too. They do so like to see me enter the twenty-first century.

Urge, however, was not yet happy. Yesterday, I had to go back and buy varnish and last night—yes, the same day— I started applying coats of varnish, a task I continued today. I even called my boss to ask if it would be okay if I give him a report a day late so I would not have to work on Saturday. So I would have time to varnish and sand and varnish some more. And clean my squishy couches. And dust. And finish a crocheting project (not the blankets—a shawl. But still!) And cook lots of Roxie-friendly nutritious food. And turn those goddamned bottles into water bottles.

As of this writing, so far as I know, until Urge informs me otherwise, the table is done. I got lucky—the varnish which was supposed to be 'clear' in reality was a 'light yellow-brown'. I applied it anyway—and it knocked a few shades of the turquoise. Now that the table is squared away, I am curious to see how Urge feels about the 12 skeins of yarn I bought from Livya yarns so I can make a nice, fluffy afgan for my squishy couch. Right now, they are resting peacefully in my yarn basket. Will they stay there? Or will Urge rear its taskmaster head again? Time will tell.


Unknown said...

Gila, I am so honored to ne mentioned and that you liked my blue dresser.
That urge is how we painted the kitchen cabinets.
I do love painted furniture. I will now have to invite myself over to your house to see the couch and table.

Baila said...

But you make the rest of us procrastinators look bad by actually get something done.

How 'bout a picture?

Tali said...

Oh, great post. I've colored an IKEA TV stand myself a few months ago, and loved it. Post a picture of the table! I'm curious :)

Tali said...

Crap, I meant to write that I've PAINTED an Ikea TV stand. Too tired :)

Pnina said...

Great stuff. If only we could capture and tame the Urge, bottle its essence

Jerusalem Artichoke said...

Can't wait to see it!

Tried a similar thing when I moved into a new apartment before grad school.

Unfortunately, I chose a too-bright shade of blue and paint that was not water soluble.

I am also not very handy so got a lot of paint on myself.

My housemate came home to find me looking basically like a Smurf and had to run out to the hardware store to get paint thinner for me so I could get the paint off myself. I was cleaning blue spots out of the shower for weeks.

But hey, I got a sticky, bright blue dresser out of the experience!

Gila said...

Picture will happen just as soon as I get around to either 1) buying a digital camera or 2) fixing the camera on my phone. As of now, official procrastination times are years and years and ten months, respectively.

Jerusalem a Smurf. How apt! I hereby christen thee Smurfette!

Mia--nu, boi cvar!

aliyah06 said...

I don't even want to discuss the baby quilt I started in 1993 which is ALMOST done (and was ALMOST done in 1993...), or the embroidery I've been carting around since high school....

...................................... said...

You allready do talk like an old maid.

Gila said...

Why? What do old maids talk like?

Nicole said...

Where did you get the couches? I want pics of the couches too please...

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, said...

The denial phase.

e.e. said...

Ha! Urge must have been surfing Ramat Gan early this morning. I got up and started removing all the piles I had on MY couch (which is cloth and TG, was already blue on arrival). Pile has been there for 2 weeks. I also took care of some paperwork.
Urge has now gone - I knew it was too good to last. So now I am surfing the net.
Gila, I sound like you, so lets found an old maids' club.
.............................. is blacklisted and cannot join. Ever.

...................................... said...

E.E., The Rainbow Shopper!

Esser Agaroth said...


Yep. I've done that too, going to the paint store, then leaving, then coming back.

I really identify with your approach to projects, and wanting to do them properly.

I have several I'm procrastinating right now.

Gila said...

re: sounding like an old maid--well, by pretty much any definition, I am one. אז מה רע? What's the problem?

No point in being perenially single if I do not get to also be a tad eccentric. Having to be single AND normal? That is just too much.

A number of years ago, I was at a Shabbaton with a friend who has a tendency to be extremely honest/ upfront. (Tact/social lies are just not in her repetoire). We were dressing for dinner and I asked 'does this dress make me look fat'? She looked at me as if I were crazy. "You are fat". Not critical, just matter of fact. How do you expect to look, when you have a good 15 extra kilos?

Same thing here. I am a month away from 39. I have been on my own since I was 18. I have been single nearly my entire life. Do I look at my life, my environment and my future in the same way that a woman married with a family will? Of course not. Do I sound like an old maid--someone who has never been married and who is at an age where marriage very well may not happen? It stands to reason that I do.

This is not good and not bad. It just is.

Anonymous said...

My urges tend to be more of the buying-the-"20% more free chips in here"-bag-of-Fritos type, rather than the finally-doing-something- about-the-issues-I-have- been-journaling about-for-the-last- dozen-or-so-years type. However, after reading these posts, I am hoping to channel the Urge and attack the piles of papers on my dining room table. (That does not mean moving them somewhere else before Shabbos, and then putting them back Motze Shabbos.) Malka

.................................... said...

You've done some cycling the past weeks?

e.e. said...

Well, if it walks like a ---, talks like a ---- and looks like a ---it must be a ---
(fill in the blanks as desired).
Gila, you got it maid:)