The next door neighbor was putting this cheap-o shelf outside for anyone pick up so I grabbed it. It was all white laminate and kind of ugly but I needed a bookshelf.

Since the neighbors were outside, I actually asked them before trying to run off with it, which I normally wouldn’t do. Before you think I’m a chronic shelf-thief, my not asking has much more to do with my anxiety rather than deviant hobbies. Normally I would’ve waited to see if it was still out there a day later or I’d wait too long and it would be gone. I don’t know what made me ball-up for this particular engagement but…whatever. I’m one bookshelf richer now so who cares.

The neighbors being out there to ask was a good thing, too, because it’s heavier than it looks. And, as it always is with me, if I’d try to just take it, I’d end up pinned underneath it while they demanded why I would steal their furniture, that they were just cleaning, off their driveway. And only to have to see them every day afterwards…next door.

Not to mention the already flabbergasted disbelief from my boyfriend wondering what swath of Hell I’m wreaking through his neighborhood. Again.

All was legit, though, and the neighbor and I managed to get the way-too-heavy shelf onto our driveway. After dude left for work, I’m left to wonder how I’m going to get the shelf inside on my own. Or what I’m going to do with the overwhelmingly determined obsession I now have to paint it.

And just like every good youtube video probably begins, someone said, “Ah, fuck it.”


Cheerily, I grabbed the dolly and, in my flip-flops, tried to right the shelf onto the dolly. It went as well as you would assume. About as well as trying to wheel it through the backyard gate, to which it got stuck, fell half-off and mostly onto the sharp foot part of the dolly, blowing a huge, slashy-type hole through the back of it. It didn’t land on the rocks, though, which was good for it but not so much for the bottom of my feet when my flip-flops came off from trying to walk backwards in them. I’m 44 years old, people. Grew up in Southern California AND HAWAII and I’m still trying to walk backwards in flip-flops thinking there’s nothing wrong with that plan.

Of course, I’m trying to take this shelf into the backyard to modify it somehow without one single plan so the shoe thing is not a big surprise. Or my biggest worry had I thought about it.

So I grabbed my trusty spray paint, taped off the shelf with a design that I totally forgot midway through, and just started spraying…without sanding it or priming it or whatever the hell you do to things before you paint them. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never bothered to look it up. Not once.

Halfway through, I started running out of one color…and then another color…and then….um.

Being laminate, the paint just dripped, anyway. At this point, I was just impressed I put something underneath it before I started spraying first. Seriously. That is a rare bit of preparation that has not been implemented in my activities in a long time. It’s usually a whole lot of, “OH shit! Fuck, fuck, fuck. Please Lord, let me be able to get this cleaned up before he gets home. Oh SHIT! He’s gonna be so…Oh My God….” until I’m able to scrape whatever it is off, remove all evidence, hide any damage, before the poor guy comes home to the house that he owns.

After patting myself on the back for this drop-cloth triumph, and a little drunk from the fumes (and the half bottle of wine) and no longer caring, I smeared the paint around. I sort of let it dry for a while, by way of forgetting it was out there.

By then it was dark outside. I could see that my taping skills sucked and I’d made huge streaks where the paint leaked under. The only thing I could think to do was to sand it now, after the fact, ‘cause, why the fuck not at this point.

Guess what?

Lo and behold, it came out awesome. It looks like distressed, shabby-chic, someone-did-this-on-purpose-type bookshelf. I’m as shocked as you are. I’ve always been impressed with people who can breathe new life into old things. Or see potential in things I couldn’t imagine. I admire the ability. I have fun trying. Granted, I’m no Erin Hedrick Interior Designer-type but, hey, considering I had no training, the wrong shoes, too much wine, no planning…oh wait, that’s why I’m not her.

I’m proud, though…of how the shelf came out. The method, I don’t recommend it.


At least not without better shoes.

-Mo at the NTZ