Seeker of Happiness

$12 Tote Bags and Some Happy Thoughts

The Coffee Table and Me.

"Made It"Carrie Lynn5 Comments
This is more than a coffee table re-do post. There IS that tiny part of me that just wants to throw up some before and after photo's of my coffee table, but I feel like saying things like: "just a little spray paint!" and "such a fun project!" would be grossly understating the emotional journey I took with this thing.

Indulge me, if you will.

When I had Georgia, becoming a mom was everything I dreamed of. Becoming a STAY AT HOME mom was not. I hated being at home all day with no friends, no school, and no way to contribute to our family financially. I don't know what I was expecting, but I was so... annoyed. Annoyed that all of the sudden I had a new, lovable responsibility (that was still incredibly challenging) AND that with her came me being, pretty much, solely responsible for all of the horrible chores around the house. Taking care of bills, garbage, dishes, laundry, that sort of thing. It was difficult for me to take pesty chores and turn my mind set into "this is my job." I remember crying to Scott about it saying: "I don't know how to be a housewife! I went to college to be a social worker! I know how to do that! I don't know how to do this!"
Poor Scott. What can he do? Last semester he would be gone with school and work until like 10pm. He would help where he could, but he was so busy.

Anyway. Sometimes, I dove into keeping my house really clean and organized, but I gotta tell you- it's not always as fulfilling as they promise. I decided I needed to find a release. I tried to volunteer more at church, but I wasn't really needed there. I tried making girlfriends, but that's hard where I live because everyone has family here so a "friend" to them is what I would normally describe as an acquaintance. Basically, no one really needed me as a friend, either. I even tried helping out with a new business my in-laws are starting out, but I ended up way in over my head with no idea what I was doing and feeling like a complete waste of resources.

So, I decided to paint my coffee table red.

My coffee table is huge. I got it at a garage sale for $50 and I love it. It has these four, big wicker baskets that make it the most useful piece of furniture I own. It was becoming pretty banged up though. I thought that transforming it would give me a sense of purpose and individual accomplishment.

I took it to my in-law's shop and set it up in a spare room (because I live in an apartment, I have no garage or work space). I began to sand it. By hand.

After that didn't work, my family came to visit and my dad (a master at transforming furniture and stuff) helped me set up a make-shift table and take apart my project. We sanded it with electric sanders and he told me all the next steps I should take.

I also realized that the room I was painting in had a lot less ventilation than I was expecting. This meant that I would not be able to bring Georgia with me and have her sit outside the door. This meant that I would have to have a babysitter.

Weeks went by. I would go to the shop and work on my table when I could, but it was hard with Scott's unpredictable schedule. Soon, I was growing more and more overwhelmed by the project, and more and more overwhelmed by the mess the over-spray was making in my in-laws spare room.

More weeks went by. My meetings with my coffee table became shorter every time. We were fighting a nasty fight, and it was winning.

A couple more weeks go by. By now, I am feeling pretty useless in life. I pretty much suck at being a housewife, I feel overweight, and not really needed (I had always thought people had kids to feel MORE needed). My coffee table began to be a symbol of my past year in Utah- trying so hard and feeling like I haven't gotten anywhere.

I really started to tackle the project, if anything, to get it out of the way. But after I applied the black glaze to the top, something happened and it turned gray and bumpy. I felt totally defeated. Ruined. Stupid table. I hate you. I hate you so much. I cried each time I worked on it.

People who saw the table in progress told me to put a vase over it, and no one would notice. But I had not just put MONTHS into dealing with this thing just to take it home and have to put a vase over it.

My dad visited again, and helped me sand the mistakes. He told me that it looked good. He told me that no matter what, I will always see the mistakes and there is nothing I can do about that. He helped me get the table back to where I needed it.

Finishing the table was still a challenge after my dad helped me for a second time, but I was determined to conquer it. On New Years Eve, I told Scott that I refused to ring in 2012 without my table in my living room. I worked on it for hours that day. I finished it, and I brought it home piece by piece with several trips in my car.

When I set it up, I was amazed, if not a little surprised, at how good it looked. The mistakes (that I still can see) did not stand out like I thought they would. The table looked like it was made that way.

I did it.

I refinished that gigantic thing with very little help from anyone. My dad swooped in when it counted, and Scott was willing to watch the baby when I needed, but overall, I did it.

But I did more than refinish a piece of furniture. I refinished myself. I changed. Because I have a whole new life than the one I had 6 months ago. An entirely new can of paint. I have mistakes that I will always see, but if I take the time to look at myself the way my Father and Creator looks at me, overall, I look pretty dang good. I am doing pretty dang good for what I am.

Not perfect, but beautiful, and useful.