When I was young I was a huge fan of Looney Tunes. Every Saturday morning I would sneak downstairs just before 8:00 in the morning, turn on the kitchen black-and-white, and watch Bugs, Elmer, and the gang cause mayhem and mischief while making timely jokes that went way over my head for many years to come. One of my favorite sketches was the one with Michigan J. Frog, the singing toad that drove an unnamed stranger to insanity. In the end, the man buried the frog in the foundation of a skyscraper under construction just to get the blasted creature out of his life. In the final scene, it's the year 2056, and a laborer from ACME Building Disintegrators is using a ray gun to completely eradicate the building when he stumbles upon a box containing our hero, the singing frog.
Forget iPads. Forget 3D television. What this society needs is one of those building disintegrators. Think of the deteriorated urban landscapes we could clean up. We could eliminate landfills. Imagine setting it to its lowest setting, "wallpaper removal", and making this home renovation chore an absolute breeze. No more scraping. No more gooey mess. Just point and shoot.
See? ya like how I slid the subject of a home renovation project in without you even noticing? Yeah, it's time again (still). After spending the last few weeks building cabinets for my neighbor, she offered (well, she accepted the deal) to paint our dining room. That turned into painting both the dining room AND the adjacent home office, since they will both be the same color. So naturally, this led me to realize that now is the perfect time to completely remodel both rooms. In my spare time.
Anyone who's been to our house knows what we're dealing with. puke-beige carpeting that's been in the house about 5 years too long, "lovely" rose-patterned pink wallpaper on which a former resident with a Laura Ashley fetish spent way too much money, and curtains that saw their prime years ago in a mid-eighties walkup in the Bronx. Well, we're switching out the carpet for Pergo that I rescued from another area of the house (more on that another day), and the curtains and wallpaper are to be replaced with something from the Sherwin-Williams Arts & Crafts pallet. This will lead me down the road of new baseboard and crown moulding (Arts & Crafts as well, new lighting, and yes...built-in office furniture. All in all, the project should keep me squirreled away in the workshop until my older one gets past the training bra phase.
Unfortunately, it all starts with removing the wallpaper. I hate wallpaper. I hate putting it up. I hate taking it down. Whomever invented wallpaper didn't really plan out the exit strategy very well. As tacky as it is, I understand why some less anal retentive folks actually consider painting over wallpaper. Not that I'd ever do that, but I feel for the poor bastards.
The offspring were of little help to me on this project, of course. Despite my desperate attempts to make them my slaves, they have quickly learned that the best way to avoid work is to get into fights with each other about it. Sure, they loved the first step of the wallpaper removal process, which was to peel off the top layer in sheets, leaving the shreds on the floor. But when it came time for the spray-and-scrape process to remove the glue from the wall, it was nothing but "Hey, I wanted to use that scraper! That scraper's special to me! Fine! I won't help then! Sissy, stop throwing at me! I wish I was an only child! I hope an asteroid crashes into this planet and squashes you like that centipede daddy found in the dryer! I hate you!" I realized when they were fighting with each other about who did the better job of tearing up the pieces on the floor into smaller pieces, that their fighting was a coordinated effort to get out of helping their dad. Very sneaky.
In the end, I came up with a rhythm. Spray the wallpaper remover. Stop to make coffee. Yell at the kids for fighting with each other. Scrape the walls. Repeat. It was a very productive day.