Tuesday, July 16, 2013

House Crashers

When we bought our house, my granddaddy told me, "Now that you own a house, you will never be bored again." That was his nice way of saying that owning a home is a constant chore. If you own a home, believe me that as I speak, there are multiple things that need attention. And when you finish those, a few more things will have accumulated. Our house was built in 1973, which makes it older than myself, and heaven knows I need maintenance on an ongoing basis. So it makes sense that the house would need a certain amount of attention to keep it looking its most fetching.

We have also come to learn that household projects are a lot like pulling a thread on a sweater...and then watching a large hole unravel. Like the day we moved in, when we took down the bathroom mirror and discovered it was covering a gaping hole in the wall with electrical wiring hanging out. Welcome to the joys of home ownership.

Much to my chagrin, my husband is a big believer in DIY (or, in my opinion most of the time, DIWhy?!?). We have painted every room in this casa, plus all the trim work, hung wallpaper, removed wallpaper, painted ceilings, plus several other projects that are really "he" and not "we" so they will go unmentioned. Side note: never hang wallpaper yourself. This is clearly a product manufactured by Satan and his minions, designed to drive you insane. Let a paid professional exorcise those demons. I have spent plenty of weekends with paint in my hair, my upper lip sweating (this is your body's way of telling you that what you are doing is absolutely miserable and should be stopped ASAP), and my project manager crew chief foreman husband and I bickering over each beloved project.  There is definite sweat equity in this home, that much I can tell you.

I was thrilled when we decided to have the outside of the house painted and were finally going to hire someone to make that happen. At long last--we could just sit back, relax, and have the work done for us with no effort on my part. What a naïve, sweet, home owning fool I was.

Let me preface this by telling you that it has rained in the city of Charlotte three and a half of the last four weeks. I am starting to feel like Noah, and I never realized that my red Hunter rain boots would become such a practical purchase. The painting should have been done two weeks ago and would be but a distant memory, except for the fact that the entire city is a giant fish pond at this juncture.

We were told that last Monday, the crew would come and pressure wash the house to get ready to paint. Progress! Only they never showed. Tuesday was the same story, and again on Wednesday. The guy at the painting company assured us that they would, in fact, come and that there was no need to even be home while the pressure washing was being performed. Right. And I actually believed that.

They finally started work on Thursday. Imagine my surprise when the doorbell rang not once, not twice, but five times throughout the day and I was flooded with a bevy of questions. Did I want the storm windows off? When did I want them off, before or after the pressure washing? Which boards needed replacing? What kind of paint? Um, aren't professionals supposed to know these things?

The day went a lot like this: doorbell rings, dog goes berserk, I stop what I'm doing, try to answer questions that I hired these people to know, repeat. I can also tell you there was somewhat of a language barrier going on; Southern belle was clearly not this gentleman's first language. At one point, I jerked open the front door in all my P90X glory to answer yet another inquiry. (The guy looked a little scared at that point. I am certain it was my rippling muscles and not the state of my appearance that caused his anxiety.)

Do you know what happens when someone removes storm windows, then pressure washes? Why, I can tell you from experience that all the dirt, debris, and filthy water runs in the window, onto the inside window sill, blinds, walls and floors. It was super convenient and luxurious when the hired workers created this little chore and I got to go window to window and clean it all up. I looked like Cinderella being forced to clean by her evil stepsisters, on my hands and knees wiping muddy water off the walls and the floor. Yep, this little venture is paying off in spades.

I opened my bedroom window the next morning and came face to face with a rather large man with a caulking gun. Hello, sunshine! No need to ring that doorbell that you loved so much yesterday to maybe tell me you were here and working around my home. Just let me find that out for myself while I am still wearing my retainer and fuzzy pink slippers. During this latest home improvement project, I have quickly realized that nothing makes you more aware of how often you walk around your house in your underwear than having men on ladders outside every fricking window, peering in all day long.

We are now entering day five of this beautification. I keep telling myself (over the lively mariachi music playing outside) that this is an adventure which will soon be over. All the banging, hammering, sawing, spraying, and messiness goes with this crew when they move on to their next job (and they will move on, right? Right?). And then my 19 pound watch dog can stop growling and let down his guard, I can move freely about the cabin without these extra "roommates," and things will get back as normal as they ever are at this palace of pandemonium we call home. And that paints a beautiful picture.

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