Refinishing Kitchen Cabinets = A Lesson in Patience

The cabinet refinishing portion of our home renovation is finally complete!  While it was a MAJOR undertaking, I must say that I am thrilled with the results.  And perhaps, even more importantly, I am intrigued with what I learned about myself in the process of the transformation. 

I am not a very patient person sometimes.  I am often in a rush, striving to get finished with this or that so that I can move on to the next thing, or so that I can just rest without the pressure in the back of my mind of all the things that I need to get done.  Needless to say, the slow and laborious process of refinishing the cabinets was kind of painful for me.  It was fun at first, but by the second weekend of coat after coat after coat, I was getting burnt out.  The kit requires a liquid sandpaper treatment, two coats of the bond coat (or paint), a stain coat, and finally a clear protective finish. 

I breezed right through the cleaning and liquid sandpaper and actually enjoyed applying the bond coats.   All of that was fine and dandy because I was actually making progress.  Then I did the stain coat, which went pretty smoothly as well.  It was tedious and I was getting bored, but at least I was still moving forward.  The trouble came when I applied the protective finish coat to the backs of the doors, then waited 24 hours only to come back and find that it had dripped and oozed onto the fronts of the doors.  This was especially annoying because I had taken EXTRA care to ensure that this very thing did not happen.  Apparently it was not enough.  At this point I had two options:  move ahead despite the drips and let the cabinets look like crap or sand off the drips and start over.  Or just go home and deal with it later, which is what I did.  And then the next day, I called Rustoleum to see what I should do and they recommended that I sand the drips off and then go back over the area with more protective coat.  Of course, when I sanded the drips, I sanded clear through to the wood, and had to go back over them with more bond coat, stain and protective coat.  This whole thing set me back several days, but I finally managed to get everything finished and installed only to find that one of the doors was missing!  I was baffled.  Had someone stolen it?  Had Dan accidentally taken it off with the other trash?  Finally it dawned on me that I had put several boxes over my work surface to create a makeshift table, and when I lifted up the box, sure enough it was there.  So then, I had to go through the entire process again on that last door.

There were several times throughout the process that I felt very frustrated and impatient because I wanted to get finished as soon as possible.  I had to stop myself and ask why I felt the need to rush.  I had plenty of time, no pressing deadline, but it was so thoroughly ingrained in my brain that I should get finished as soon as possible so that I could move on to something else that it was an automatic response. 

 As I became aware of this, I started to notice it in other things that I do as well… I rush through getting ready in the mornings, I rush through doing the dishes and walking the dog, I rush through taking a shower like some kind of mad woman, shaving my legs at dangerous speeds and sudsing my body in fast forward.  Why do I do this?  What is so important that I am speeding through my life trying to achieve?  Down time?  Relaxation?  If I’m so desperate for these things that extra minutes or seconds off of my daily activities are required, then I have a much larger issue at hand.  I may be gaining a few minutes of “free” time each day by rushing this way, but what am I losing in the process?  What am I giving up?  My life, that’s what.  The real issue here is that I am not being mindful and present in my life.  I am rushing through, discounting what is happening now for something better that I imagine will happen in the future.  But it’s not gonna be any different when I get there.  I’ll still be rushing for the next thing, and on and on in an endless cycle.    

 So I have spent the last several weeks trying to sloooooow down.  Trying to really enter into what I am doing, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem.  Like painting cabinets.  Or cooking dinner, or shaving my legs.  It all matters and it is all important, because “How we do anything is how we do everything.”  And I want to be someone who does life with care and passion. 

Here is the final transformation.   It is quite a drastic change, and I absolutely love it! 

Before

Before

After

After

Before

Before

After

After

The final transformation

The final transformation

All of this took about 3 weekends and cost only $75.  We used Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations in Espresso.