Home / Creativity & D.I.Y. Projects / Decorating / A confession- I’ve been a bit down lately

A confession- I’ve been a bit down lately

cleaner kitchenMy house looks like looters came and went. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the least bit tidy. Too many projects going on at the same time, and a tendency to be distracted. I’ve always said that while no one in their right mind would do surgery in my kitchen, no one would think twice about eating food prepared there. However, if the health department had come in last week, they might not have shut me down as a health hazard but they certainly would have written me a few citations. The state of my house was bad enough that BK worried about me, to the point that she was practicing what she was going to say. Imagine her relief when she came over yesterday and found that I am heading back to normal.

It didn’t take that long to clean the kitchen, a couple of hours on Sunday before I headed off to the symphony. It’s not perfect, but it’s better. After being without any household help for awhile, I rehired Abril. She is a tornado for cleaning but the last time she worked for me, she disappeared for 6 weeks. Hopefully things have gotten better in her life, I’ve known her a long time, we went to her Quinceañera .

How did this happen? I got overwhelmed and depressed. Then I got sick. I never get sick, seriously,except for the 2013 health hiccup (I am now officially calling it that) and a bit of excess weight, I am astonishingly healthy. It’s a chicken and egg thing, I don’t know if my defenses got lowered because I was depressed or I got depressed because my defenses lowered. Regardless, I am feeling much better and ready to reorganize.

With the idea of selling the house, I sold Duke’s desk and credenza in order to move my sewing room/studio into his office. As usual, I never did take any photos of my completed and organized room. The room is great, the light is great, but Duke’s office is bigger.

While I was selling things I also sold the china cabinet that I had painted. Most of it’s contents are displayed in the kitchen now. The wooden bench from the recibidor sits in that space now, unfortunately covered in stuff. I couldn’t part with my homemade dining room table, but I think I may redo the chairs.

Our king size bed felt too big so  I traded it with a friend for a double bed, but my headboard doesn’t fit the new bed, It came with a heavy custom made iron bed frame, that is too stark for my taste.  So I am playing around with ideas on how to soften it up some. Something like this.

postal fabricHere is the fabric I bought to make a bed skirt and cover for the headboard. I like the pink and the script, it’s romantic without being overtly feminine. One of my friends gave me some sofa cushions which I am going to cut down to upholster and use as a headboard. Right now I have floral pillow shams tied onto the headboard, but they aren’t as dense as I would like.

To add to the mess, I hauled everything out of the walk-in closet in order to repair the wall. Actually, I am just scraping paint and patching some spots. It’s not bad for having lived in this house for ten years, it really won’t take long to do. I’m also going to move Duke’s ropero out and replace it with the NSF shelves that were in his office. Maybe later I’ll sell that too, but right now I just can’t part with any more of his things, though I give away his clothes already. Duke wasn’t into clothes, so it didn’t feel as personal as some of the other stuff.

Then there is the unfinished sponge painting, it was interrupted by the 2013 health hiccup, and I never finished it. I can’t decide whether to just paint over it or what to do. The intention was to mimic lapis lazuli but in pale blue and silver rather than cobalt and gold on just one wall.

For my peace of mind, I’m going to clean the room first, and worry about the paint later. No wonder I was depressed having to step over all this mess,  and not knowing where anything is.

Duke used to tell me that one of his favorite things about me, was that I always woke up happy. These days I have to make more of an effort to be happy, but I’m getting there. I believe that happiness is a choice we make. Every day, I remember the good things in my life. I have enough to eat, clothes to wear, and apparently so many unfinished projects that I will live forever.


About Theresa Diaz Gray

Born in New York City, I grew up in California, and have lived in 3 countries and 6 states. I'm a first generation Cuban-American who lives in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. I'm committed to living an abundant and creative life and helping others do so too through DIY!


  1. Great post. This is life. Most of us have areas in our life like these whether they’re physical, mental, emotional, spiritual… I so relate. My surroundings are always tidy but the rest of life? Not so much. BTW – I love the pillows on the headboard idea. Too, I really like the new fabric. I envy you your sewing skills. If we lived closer I’d want to hire you either for lessons or custom work. : )

    • Barbara,
      I love teaching people to sew or do crafts, that would be fun. If I can get my surroundings under control, it helps me feel centered. Chaos breeds chaos and frustration, I get so much more done when things are put away.
      There was only one partial bolt of the fabric so I bought what was left of it, twelve and a half meters! So once the floor is cleared I’ll work on the bedding.


  2. Hola Theresa! Wow! You’ve got a lot going on. And I had to laugh about your decision to fix the wall in your walk-in closet. Last summer in anticipation of renting out my front bedroom, I redid the closet in that room, and spent a RIDICULOUS amount of time. Part of it was that we had taken the wood flooring out of that closet to have wood that would match the rest of the house in a place where I wanted to extend the floor. So after nearly 20 years, I decided it was time to replace that floor, since I figured that tarpaper coated subfloor wasn’t going to be the deal forever. Then I thought I’d paint the closet too, but the walls were in bad condition. So I decided to skim-coat them with plaster. Well, I didn’t really know how to skim-coat with plaster, but figured that if any wall could stand being screwed up, it was the guest bedroom closet. Well, learning to skim-coat took on a life of its own. It’s not that easy, and the fact that the closet was fairly small made it all that much more difficult. Before I knew it, I had spent about a month on this closet, and all my friends thought I was nuts.

    But in the end, it came out very nicely, and I don’t regret a thing.

    But in your case, I really do think you’ve go bigger fish to fry.


    Kim G
    CDMX, México
    Where it’s kind of fabulous not being a homeowner.

    • Kim,

      It’s easy to get caught up in the small stuff and forget the big stuff, but in Merida you really do need to take care of the walls. My house is mostly mamposteria, mortared stone rubble walls, covered in plaster. The moisture wicks up and eventually makes the plaster crack and fall off. So periodically, you have to knock off the bad stuff and replace the plaster. Once every ten years isn’t so bad. My closet is technically a bedroom, it’s big enough that we used to have the king size bed and two night stands in there, and the room that I use as a bedroom was done as a sitting room with two roperos.

      I’ve never fried a fish of any size, at least not a whole one. But seriously, I do have some deferred maintenance to take care of. Since the exchange rate is good, now is the time to do it. Nothing fancy, just keeping the place from falling down around my ears.


      • OK, I guess it’s a bigger fish than I thought, haha… I guess you’ve never been a real estate agent. Otherwise the word “closet” would have been replaced with something like “luxury en suite dressing room.”

        Remember that phrase when you go to sell.



        • Kim, I finished scrapping, it didn’t take that long. It’s just one wall and the bad part goes from around a foot high to a max of four. Now cleaning up the polvo (cement dust) was an entirely different thing. I had dust in my hair, eyes, and up my nose!

          I measured the room, but didn’t write it down. I am going to say around 55 square feet, but none of the rooms in my house are square.

          Now I have to haul Duke’s ropero out and redo the shelving. I have stainless closet units from Costco and I’m going to put the NSF racks from Duke’s office in there. There is a plan, hopefully it will work like I think it will.


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