We’ve finished! Regular readers would know that Claudia and I have been renovating lately, including painting the interior of the house, but the brushes have fallen silent because we have finished painting. We spent a bloody long time doing it and learnt a lot along the way. All that time spent staring at the ceiling and walls sent me a little mad, but it did make me think how similar painting your house is to paying off a mortgage.
Sure, there are heaps of differences between painting a house and paying it off, like the fact you can’t pay a house off in 2 months and, try as you might, you normally can’t get someone else to do the job for you. But the similarities are worth exploring.
Firstly, if you’re renting, it’s somebody else’s problem. It may well end up being something you tackle later, but for the time being it’s not your top priority.
Before you start on your endeavor there is a part of you that says “This can’t be too hard, heaps of people do this”, and another part of you that can see the enormity of the task ahead. Every stroke of the brush is the equivalent of another dollar paid towards the mortgage. Fair dinkum, there would have to be many tens of thousands of brush strokes in the job we’ve just done.
To really get stuck into it you have to wear old tatty clothes, you say to yourself how much easier it would be without kids, and dream about it at night. You lose the motivation to comb your hair on the weekends, and, as you’re not going out anywhere special, it doesn’t really matter anyway.
Doing it by yourself is a tough slog. Yeah it’s possible, but any help you can get will speed things up. Two people working together are twice as productive and family often contribute towards a room or two.
It seems to take forever before you can actually start to see some progress. Ages of fixing holes, sanding, sugarsoaping and taping is the equivalent of the early repayments when you can hardly notice a dent in the loan. Getting to the point of using a roller is like a bonus of money – that pay rise, the tax refund you were counting on, an inheritance, or winning the lucrative contract – large amounts of the task get done in seemingly record time and it gives you real encouragement to keep going.
There are always things that crop up to slow you down – illness, unexpected repairs, a whoops pregnancy and concentrating your efforts on other things.
The final stages flash by as you are able to look back at all you’ve achieved and can imagine what it will be like when it’s done. When you finally reach that end point it’s a bloody fantastic feeling, made all the better by celebrating (but not with champagne ‘cause the last thing you want to do is risk the cork dinting the pristine ceiling).
And when you look back on it there is a stupid, stupid part of you that says “That wasn’t so bad, we can do that again one day….”