You would think that someone trying to juggle family, work, garden and house renovation (well….not really renovation anymore. Tweaking?) might think carefully about how she spends her pockets of free time. You know. Making sure the effort she expends is for some gain?
This week, when my work day came to a natural end an hour before nursery pick-up, I decided not to clean the bathroom in desperate need of the attention. Or get the iron out and make a dent in the Everest proportioned pile accumulating. I decided not to get dinner prepared for my tired and hungry boys after their long day learning/working or even to put my feet up and celebrate the end of my working week with a cup of coffee and a read of a magazine. No. I decided to continue a little house project I’d started way back in August which, even then, looked like it was going to be less than fruitful.
I decided I’d re-stain the banister.
If you’ve been following throughout this refurb process you may remember the ordeal of stripping the banister and posts back to wood from beneath their layers of yellowing gloss. It was a project executed with an arm-aching cocktail of Home Strip, a shoe brush, sandpaper and elbow grease. Rather more of the latter than anything else.
Images from January-March 2013
The posts turned out to be made of varying woods with an original (probably) mahogany post at the bottom of the flight of stairs and a pale pine one at the top. The only way to go to unite the lot seemed to be dark. With a pot of dark Osmo Oil already in the cupboard I opted for that and produced what I thought (at the time) was a rather lovely result.
Fast forward a year and I’ve started to change my mind. Would black have looked better? Particularly as the stair posts meet the grey and black geometric of the hallway tiles….
Did the reddish brown go with anything?
Whilst searching for Osmo stain suitable for the outdoor fence I stumbled upon an Ebony interior option and decided then and there to go for it. Two sample pots…enough I’d figured for the job….shortly arrived.
First I had to revisit the sanding process, which wasn’t one I’d particularly enjoyed the first time around. Taking a fold of sanding paper I made a hasty job of it, roughing up the wood a little but with minimal…I’ll readily admit….care and attention applied.
Immediately I began to doubt whether I’d done the right thing. Staring at the now messed up banister it seemed the project was doomed to fail. Steadfastly I continued. Out came the Ebony and on it went.
Given that Osmo is a natural stain rather than a solid paint, unsurprisingly my banister did not suddenly appear black. The translucent stain sat on top of the existing and the rushed sanding job I’d commenced earlier only served to make the finished look more streaky. I surveyed the banister in despair. Once dried I rubbed it back a little with wire wool in an attempt to achieve the same gloriously smooth finish our ascending hands had enjoyed before. Then I walked away.
For the past few months, as daylight hit the wood, I’ve been noticing the uneven finish where my hasty sanding work had messed with the careful work I’d done before. So it was this observation along with the nagging feeling that I’d left a bad job half done that prompted this weeks sudden resolution to get the job finished once and for all.
Retrieving the Ebony stain from the laundry cupboard’s top shelf…where I’d pushed it far away from me in a hope I’d forget the whole sorry experience….I then went on a hunt for a paintbrush. Once full to bursting with various brushes and rollers the PebbledashedPad now appears to be sorely lacking and the only one I could find was crusted into an arrow-like point from its use on the fence. With no time to visit our favourite hardware megastore I instead raided O’s craft corner and embarked upon the entire process using a brush as wide….or rather as narrow….as half a toothbrush.
That evening, as O ran into the house aburst with energy I hollered after him.
“Don’t touch the banis………ter….”
“Look mummy” he lifted his stickily black hands. “I’m all dirty….”
Wet wipes and Fairy later and he was clean again.
“Try not to touch it darling. Mummy painted it so it’s all wet.”
“Ok mummy.” He sang. “I won’t touch it.”
Minutes later, as my back was turned to the oven to extract fish fingers, there was a shout.
“Mummy!” a pause. A splayed handed O appeared at my side. “I touched it…”
A little while later, while O and I were devouring Tiddler in between mouthfuls of fish fingers, S returned home.
“Hello son” he said bending to give O a kiss.
“Oh!” I said, “the banisters wet.”
“I saw….” He said bending to give me mine, “in the nick of time….”
There were at least three more incidents of starfish shaped hands meeting sticky wet banister until finally, with O safely cocooned in duvet flanked by Ted, Giraffe and Owl, we could put the wipes away.
I slipped into the bath with a sigh. Had it been worth it? Did the banister look any different at all from when I began? I doubted it.
“F***!#?!!!***!” Came a blasphemous cry from the landing.