Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Paint and Spackle

When I moved into the new apartment, the bathroom was a disaster. The bathroom in the condo upstairs leaked for years - causing damage to the ceiling in our unit. Rust and mildew chipped the paint off of the window sill. Simply put - the bathroom was a very scary thing.

The boyfriend and his ex-roommate lived in this unit for 8 years prior to my moving in. The landlords speak a variant of Turkish (we think) and no English. They had established a relationship with the landlord where he communicates directly with the property manager / handyman, Perry. They also performed really basic maintenance tasks. In exchange - the lease absolves them of any responsibility for the condition of the apartment when they move out.

So we took it upon ourselves to fix up the bathroom - especially after we established through Perry that the bathroom upstairs had been entirely remodeled.

We had two options to repair the bathroom

Option 1 (the permanent fix): Take all of the drywall back to the studs and redrywall the entire bathroom. After installing the drywall - taping, spackle, paint. The drywall in the bathroom - ceiling to tile - was completely bubbled up. This would have required significant amounts of money, contractors (I will only tackle drywall if I'm working with someone who knows what they are doing), and time. Plus we would have to get the landlord involved. From the boyfriend's previous experience, the landlord really doesn't want to be bothered with this and working with him would be difficult at best because of the language barrier. He already plans to completely redo the unit once we move out.

Option 2 (the fast/cheap surface fix): Scrape and sand the bubbled areas, spackle and paint. This eliminates multiple steps, but we also know that this fix may not last very long. Our thinking is that if the repairs hold for a year - we did our job. This takes about 5 working hours plus drying time.

Guess which one we chose.....

As I put the final coat of Kilz on the wall, I started thinking about how fast/cheap vs. "the right way" applies to my work projects.

Right now, I am finally in a position to put together my online training plan "the right way." This after 4 years of "paint and spackle" projects. These "paint and spackle" projects stress me out and frustrate me. I can see that in the long term - we will have to redo the training/repairs. And, being the perfectionist that I am, I want to do things "the right way."

Maybe it was the fumes, but I am finally realizing WHY we do paint and spackle projects - beyond time and resource constraints. Sometimes, that's all you really need. It doesn't have to be pretty or permanent (application training is never permanent anyway because of upgrades and configuration changes). I am only being asked to do just enough so that the casual observer doesn't notice the holes in the walls or the rust on the sill. I am not being asked to gut and remodel the bathroom so it stays beautiful for the next 20 years.

BTW - I am not showing before and after pictures of the bathroom. The bathroom is an improvement, but I don't think it's going to make an appearance in Architectural Digest anytime soon.

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