Wednesday, April 11, 2012

DIY? No Thanks, I'd Rather Not...

I've been scraping, peeling and cursing the invention of wallpaper for the past few days.  An innocent conversation with my sister, and one project has turned into, three.  I forgot about the painting I have to do because of the seriously nasty gash I put in the wall with my putty knife.

My house has been neglected for nearly 20 years--not by me, but by the previous owners.  Unfortunately for me, however, I've inherited many a problem due to that neglect. 

Alan and I did, and we had, tons of work done when we first bought the house, but lately it seems like a nickel-and-dime, endless array of things going haywire: faucets, shower heads, window seals, door knobs...oh, it just goes on and on.  Pick a day, and something will have broken, worn out, or needed mending.  Being a handy creature, most normal DIY stuff I can do myself.  I don't want to, but I can.

The latest project is in the very large master bathroom where there is one of those bizarre hot tub/soaking/spa/whirlpool deals that only a Californian could truly love.  I am not from California.  It works really well for bathing the dogs though.

The window at this tub is a 6-ft square, with a stunning view over the Valley, though to me this space is so wasted it doesn't bear thinking about.  But that's another issue; the point here is that several of the vertical slats on the blinds covering said window fell off.  They've become so brittle over the years in the hot Summer sun and the cold Winter chill, that I guess they just wanted to give up and go horizontal.  They don't make this particular style of hanger tab/vertical slat thing anymore, so I can't do a simple fix by just getting new ones.  Natch.

Okay, no problem.  I'll just take the whole works out, get a rod and some cool curtains, and call it good.  Uh huh.  This is DIY remember.  If you think a project will only take a couple days, it will end up being a couple weeks; sometimes months.  I thought it would take half a day; it's already been five and I'm still not finished.

The window is recessed, about 6".  The rod needs to fit inside the recess where there is drywall as the rest of the area around the tub is tiled.  Believe me when I say: I do not for any reason want to start dinking around with the tiles.  My plan was to buy a spring rod, set it into the recess, find some cool grommet-style curtains and Bob's your uncle.  Sigh.

I found the curtains, but couldn't find the rod.  Went to three places, finally ended up with a rod that had to be precisely measured, then screwed in, not the easy spring rod idea that I wanted.  Eventually I got the pole up, hung the curtains...and the blasted pole sagged in the middle about half an inch.  I had asked the guy at the store about sagging as the pole had to span a 6-ft window.  He scoffed; of course the pole was strong enough.  Right.

I stare at the sag, then take a break, call my sister and we go over the options.  As we're talking, she says one of the worst things about the bathroom is the wallpaper border that runs around the entire room at the top of the wall.  It's about a foot wide, and is elderly-granny-green with large pink flowers. I have wanted to rip it down even before we bought the house.  It's hideous, but I'm leaving that task for someone else; I truly don't want to get involved in removing 20-year-old wallpaper, though I agree with my sis that it would immediately improve the look of the bathroom.

But wait one.  Hmmm.  I notice a small curl in one edge of the paper, in a far corner of the room.  I step up onto the edge of the tub surround and give a little tug.  Suddenly this large--like ten foot--section of paper just falls off the wall.  My sister says, "What was that?"  I say it was the appalling border.  We keep talking as I begin peeling the stuff off the wall with no effort at all.  Two walls down and I'm so happy I can hardly stand it.  Who knew?  This is a miracle, and yes, it is changing the bathroom, how cool!

But then.  The printed part of the paper comes off, leaving behind the backing, which as it turns out, was apparently superglued to the two remaining walls.  It took me two days to get it off.  Toward the end yesterday, as I was hanging off the ladder, with a crick in my neck, scraping, scraping, hot steamy cloth, scraping, trusty putty knife slipped, leaving a 4" gouge in the wall. 

Oh, the humanity.

This morning I go to Home Depot.  Now I'm not only looking for some kind of bracket to stop the pole from sagging, but I need to get a handful of paint chips and try to match the wall color--that I now also have to Spackle--so I don't have to repaint the entire bathroom.

No bracket or hook to be found that will work.  I will have to jerry-rig something.  And I brought home at least 15 color chips--not one shade of white matches the wall.  I still have to hem the curtains, though can't do that until I get the sag out of the pole.  (And there's an image I wasn't expecting...or the smile on my face.  Never mind.  I'm delirious).

I'm going now, to pour myself a very large glass of something mind-numbing.  I'll get this all figured out eventually...just not today.


  1. Is there such a thing as A trip to Home Depot? As in just one? :-) Any time I do anything, there's at LEAST two trips in it for me...


    1. It was the first trip that day and if I'd had the energy, I would have gone back for a second one. I decided to drink instead.