Trick-or-Treat. . . Smell-my-Feet
Nothing Gold Can Stay

Closing a Chapter

The summer before Erin started high school, we made a sudden and unexpected move (thanks to a large pharmaceutical company who will remain nameless. . . ) from our comfortable home in a Grand Rapids suburb . . . to (then unknown) Kalamazoo.

What do you do . . . for your 14-year-old kid who is looking forward to starting high school . . . with her friends. . . in a familiar place. . . with her friends . . . where she wants to be . . . with her friends?

Why, you tell her she can decorate her new room ANY WAY SHE WANTS!

And, then. . . you don't bat an eye when she chooses THIS:


Yeah.  It was pretty hideous.  Bright yellow walls, sponge painted with neon purple and bright teal (which, I seem to remember may have been called "Lagoon Blue").

But, heck.  We had fun together, sponge painting those bright splotches all over the wall.  We both have happy memories of creating this . . . masterpiece. . . together.  (Even though it looked like, well, clown-barf.)

And, as it turned out, our new life in Kalamazoo was pretty darn good.  Erin had a great high school experience.  She made new friends, did some pretty amazing things, and made it through her high school years in fine form.

Erin with ducks
One of Erin's senior picture proofs; the photographer, Jeff Mitchell, took several shots in her room. Great idea; great way to remember her space! Because. . . things change.

And the walls in her room didn't look so bad, either.  Erin's personal style (at that time) was to cover the walls with pictures and posters and mementoes and do-dads.  You could hardly even SEE the  loud walls for all the . . . stuff. . . she had tacked on top of them!

But, then. . . she was gone.

Those walls, once they were empty of the do-dads and photos and posters; once they were bare . . . just screamed!


UGLY!  We are UGLY!  (Hideous, some would say.) We look like CLOWN-BARF!!!!

And yet . . .

I couldn't quite bring myself to cover them.  It wasn't so much that I didn't want to tackle the project (although, well, there was that). . . but I just wasn't quite ready to let go of that last piece of . . . Erin!

And so, I used the room as a storage "place."  I closed the door.  And walked away.

Until this summer.  I got itchy  to create a space for me to do my work.  I was feeling a strong need to separate my "home office" from my "work office."  I knew I could be more efficient if I could keep my two computers* on different desks. 

It was time.  I needed to tackle the walls in Erin's old room.  (Because, really.  The clown-barf walls just don't work for me.)

It's been a long time coming.  There was the Thinking About It; there was the Finding Time For It; there was the Deciding On The Color; there was the Wall Preparation (and, trust me, it takes a long, long time to locate, and then fill, hundreds upon hundreds of nail and tack holes in clown-barf colored walls); and, finally, there was the Actually Doing It. 



Now that it's done,


it's been totally worth it!  I'm pleased.

(Jenny is Not Pleased because I made her get off the bed for the photos.  She is quite thrilled with her new available sleeping options, and didn't like having to move.)

I even painted the closets (biggest pain in the ass ever).


And here's that bookcase. . .


I still have some finishing to do. . . pictures on the walls, a valance over the window blind, that kind of thing.  (The fun parts, actually.)  It feels good to have a pretty, functional, "new" space in my house.  And, it feels good to let the old walls go. 


Although I must admit that when I came to the last square foot of clown-barf wall, I paused for a few moments with my paint roller in hand.  I took a minute to remember sponge painting the walls with my 14-year-old daughter; how we giggled and gossiped together, how wonderful it was to share that experience.  Happy memories.

And then. . . I painted right over it!

The memories remain.  The clown-barf does not.


* My personal computer is an iMac; my work computer is an HP Windows laptop.  It gets complicated.




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It looks awesome, Kym! You must love being in that new space and planning your projects and days. I understand the courage it took to make this change, the recognition that Erin is not going to come back home for good (although sometimes they do, ahem) but it's a great use of her room and you have fun memories of all the time it belonged to Erin. Now, though, it belongs to YOU!


The room started as Erin's fresh start and now it's YOUR fresh start! Having a room of your own, filled with your own style, will bring you renewed focus and a calm. It's a pain in the ass to paint a closet, but the clean walls and organized space is very rewarding! Nice work!!


Just beautiful Kym! And how nice to have a new, clean room to work in. LOVE the color!


It's hard to undo those kids' rooms...until you just can't stand it any more and have to reclaim them!
When I moved out of my parent's house I left behind one wall that was covered with black and white Contact paper. I've always kinda wondered what mom ended up doing with THAT! o.0

Cheryl S.

Very nice! I have great memories of painting rooms with my mother. My room was never clown-barf, but it was awfully green.

My niece used her bedroom walls as giant notepads. She and her friends wrote random stuff on the walls for years. It was fun to go in and read the walls, and my sister was a bit sad when she finally painted over it all.


Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One's Own was published on this day in 1929...this according to Facebook, anyway. Your room looks lovely.


Looks lovely and peaceful! Poor Jenny, that does look like a comfy napping spot. And what fun to find things for the walls.

My husband wants to paint all the closets in the house we just bought (4 bedrooms--wall length closets). Pray for me.

Lori On Little Traverse Bay

Wow! That looks fabulous! A little sad to move on, but what a great space for you.

I was laughing about your earlier post re: cleaning College Son's room. Very familiar---our College Son accused his dad of being a hoarder when he bought something trivial in East Lansing recently. I thought, easy enough for you to say, you just moved all your stuff from your bedroom into the hallway for us to deal with. Now we have to "run the gaunlet of the College Son!" Maybe I'll have a garage sale!


The room looks lovely and inviting and calming. Great work.

Two questions:
* Did you have to do anything special about the texture caused by the sponging? or just paint over it?
* Did your Windoze computer fight with your iMac when you weren't looking?


Did you have to sand down the walls? *L*

I can see how that room was totally Erin. I also see how it's a more usable and functional space now. Although, I think it would look better if my Jenny was on the bed. ;^)


What a great space you've created! one of the best parts about empty nesting is reclaiming rooms of your own. (we left behind a bright aqua and a purple bedroom...I wonder what the next owners will do with them?!)


Oh my... yes. Those memories are wonderful, but the clown barf... all I can say is that you're a wonderful mother!! And the new room looks FABULOUS!!

My kids -- Alison, in particular -- painted & redecorated their rooms NUMEROUS times! One memorable re-do was gigantic Argyle diamonds on the walls.

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