July 11, 2007

What a Surprise

The good Deacon has succeeded in his campaign to redo the living room. His business card reads "Interior Decorating." Don't be fooled. Decorating means you tell him what needs to be painted, tiled, etc. Loosely translated, he has a handyman business. May he never lose Mike as an assistant.

They arrived with a third man, Sean, whom I'd not met before. Immediately, Mike assesses the room and tells the Deacon that the wallpaper is going to chip and flake once paint is applied. A change of plans; the wallpaper has to be stripped before they can hang my paper. Yes, boys and girls, I brought wallpaper from DC and they think I have "just enough" to cover three walls. The wall with the fireplace will be painted. I've got plenty of border for the trim.

I had purchased a wallpaper steamer before moving in and it works. I had removed some of the paper while my brother was here. Needed a taller ladder, though, so that project went on hold. This team scoffs at the idea. Out comes their tools of the trade and down goes the wallpaper, swish, swish, swish. Short work. Now to the ceiling.

Major surprises. The wallpaper is backed by fabric, perhaps buckram. Either extremely expensive or extremely old. Were you expecting plaster? I was and so were they. What we got was a bead board ceiling. Tongue-and-groove strips, snugged together and nailed in place, one after the other. A beautiful, blond wood with no damage. We were stunned.

The Deacon wants to install ceiling tile. Not. If he'd said drywall, that might have been a possibility. But I like the wooden ceiling. In retrospect, the wood should have been stained but I had given directions for paint. Oh, well. Mike came up with a concoction to hide the nail holes which worked very well: mud, aka joint compound, and paint. I'll keep that in mind for future projects. He has so much knowledge. Should be his company. A skim coat is applied. Looking good.

Mike starts to hang the paper. Instructions are flying. "I need a brush with just a little water." "Hold it straight." "I don't have time to talk, the glue is drying." Need I say that the fact that the paper was prepasted was of little interest to them? Actually, I had a hell of a time getting the paper to stick in DC and wound up using paste as well. Hanging wallpaper is a messy job. Glad they are doing it and not me. The deacon is relegated to making sure the strips are cut to the measurements Mike provides. He is concerned because the paper needs to be cut nine inches to match the pattern. I point out to him that: 1)cutting that much will require additional paper which we don't have; 2) Ordering additional paper will take several weeks. I don't think they want to hang around until then; 3) the pattern is very faint and not matching will not be noticed. If someone pays that close attention to the paper, they need to stay home; and 4) I like the way it looks, which is all that counts. "Miss Gwen, we do a quantity job." No, that is not a typo.

When Mike is not using Sean to assist with the paper, Sean is painting trim and doing clean up. I feel sorry for them because it is hot and they can't use the fan. It dries the glue too quickly. Everybody is dripping water. In my little cubbyhole, my glasses have fogged because of the heat.

I slip outside to mow the lawn. My first time using the lawnmower. The day is perfect. We're experiencing a "cool front." The temperatures are in the 80's. Guess all the heat went to DC and beyond. All I can say is we were due a break. It is overcast and cool. I can't figure out how to start the lawnmower. Pull the cord. Hold the bar; pull the cord. Thought my brother said this was going to be easy to start. NOT. Back inside; call SF to find out how to start the damned thing. He hasn't used it and is on the golf course. Some folks have all the luck. He can't tell me. You and I both know that I AM NOT going to ask the men inside. Give them something else to laugh at about the city girl? NOT. Finally break down and call my brother. A starter button? Press it 3 times, then pull the cord? Get out of here. Starts up. In my defense, I have not mowed grass in about 10 years and this is a spiffier model. The spit of ground I had in DC was mulch and flowers. The back was paved. Give me a little sympathy, please.

While I'm getting instructions on how to start this machine, it starts to rain. Not hard and my head is already nappy so it really shouldn't matter but I delay the lawn chore. Here comes Bob, the handyman. Well, where has he been? Took him on a tour to see the changes since his last visit. He's impressed. Or seems to be. He is off to the wilds of northwestern PA for 2 weeks; family reunion and all that. Wish him a safe journey. Rain over. Back to the yard.

Get it started and feeling good. Going to do the back because it is ratty. The front is low enough to pass for a day or two. Who is this and where did she come from? A little, white-haired lady is standing in the middle of the yard. Popped up like one of those damned groundhogs, out of no where. She has met me before; do I remember? Vaguely. More importantly, what do you want? The lawnmower is running. Nothing to do but turn it off. She has two grandsons, either of whom will be happy to mow the lawn. Thank you but I want to try it myself, first. Well, she'll check back with me. You do that. Back to the lawnmower. Now it won't start. Period. Push the button, yank the cord. Push the button, yank the cord. It is not turning over. Now what? Here comes Mike. He checks the oil. There is a scintilla of oil but plenty of gas. He figures I need to add oil or the newer models won't start. Silly city girl. Nothing to do but put it away and think dirty thoughts about the little white-haired lady.

The Deacon has come up with additional materials to be purchased. I give him the last of what I have stashed. Still waiting for some checks that are forever in arriving. He spends almost all of it. Drywall tape? I have this. Kilz? I have at least 2 gallons. I told you flat paint; this is semi-gloss. Before the day is over, he has returned some items and purchased more. Working sista-girl's nerves. Drove 2 trucks over. One is left behind. Why? Did you ask me? This is NOT a parking lot. Give me a break. Glad to see the end of the day.

No comments: