when the cat’s away…

at the very beginning of our relationship, and then again at the beginning of our marriage, pierre travelled a lot for work — we didn’t see each other for weeks and months as he chiseled rocks in northern quebec, africa, peru, and suriname. about a year ago, he took a new job so that he could stay closer to home. we were newlyweds and we were spending more time apart than we were together. aside from one three-week trip to australia (about five days after he started!), pierre hasn’t seen much of the world in his first year in his new job. it’s been really great having him home, but when another opportunity to go to australia rolled around this fall, we were both delighted.

for him, it was a chance to travel (as much as i know he loves being around more, i also know he misses the jet-setting) and see a bit more of the land down under. for me, it was the opportunity to take the whole house over with projects, and not have to worry about inconveniencing anyone except myself with the fumes and clutter that spreading all your clothes out on the dining room table generally results in.

other than making some minor tweaks to the mudroom while he was away — if you can call painting, hanging shelving, and staining a staircase minor — i wanted to (re)deal with our underbed storage crates. when i bought them from ikea last spring, i did so thinking they looked half finished. the wood looked sort of primed, but it was streaky, not a solid white. i knew they were going under the bed, but we were going to be pulling them out a lot more than your average person. whereas most people have underbed storage to hold off season clothing, maybe bed linens, we were using these crates as alternatives to dresser drawers, pulling them out every day to grab jeans and workout gear. so i wanted them to look good.

unfortunately, after applying two coats of benjamin moore monterey white paint (which i used to paint our dresser), they looked even worse. i didn’t prime them and every ding chipped the paint. plus, one storage container was too wide so i packed it up in the civic to take to my parents’ so my dad could cut it to the right width. on a really hot day. all the pieces stuck together in my trunk and the paint boiled and bubbled until i had no choice but to peel it off like sunburned skin.

but i knew my inclination to redo them was really going to annoy pierre. all our clothes would have to go somewhere while i worked on them. they would have to go somewhere while i worked on them. and together they are the size of a queen bed, so that wasn’t going to be unnoticeable.

so with just a few days of his absence left, i emptied the drawers of clothing and dragged them out to the living room. this time, i primed them with the only primer i had — a tremclad cast iron primer, last used on the sewing table.

then, i applied two coats of tremclad yellow paint, also from the sewing table project (and the living room shelving project), and also gold hardware to make the drawers easier to pull out from under the bed.

each coat of paint took 24 hours to dry, so i was stepping around these for three days. but finally — the night before pierre came home — they were finished, dry, and ready for our clothes again.

also new in the bedroom: pierre’s varsity letter from queen’s track and field, framed on his side of the bed. it was yellow, so conveniently coordinated with the revamped (very tricolour yellow) drawers, and i felt a little sad for pierre that he didn’t have a little something to mark his side of the bed. i have a small 3″ x 5″ michael cho print of the type books storefront on queen west on my side, and i’d been looking around for something for pierre, when i remembered seeing this in a shoebox marked “running awards” in the basement. he actually had his varsity letter from high school in that shoebox as well, and if i’d known that when i went to buy the frame i would have bought two frames and hung them both for him.

oil thigh na banrighinn a’ bhanrighinn gu bràth!