Paper Tale

I wasn’t a bit worried when my friend, Jane and I discussed stripping the wallpaper from her living room walls. Until she mentioned it had been there for nigh on 40 years. Jeepers. Who knows what types of glue they were using 40 years ago. Plus, the house (gorgeous!) is over 100 years old and we KNOW they weren’t drywalling back then. So it was with great trepidation that I climbed climbed the ladder to see if the paper and wall were married till death do they part. HA! Apparently they were ready to divorce.

The bottom paper must have been ready for same a few years back, as it practically jumped off the walls. Jane’s husband, Mark sort of grabbed one corner and, as I recall, marched off around the room with large strips of it in hand.

Jane and her trusty Conair steamer. As an side benefit, we figure the steam removed a few of our facial wrinkles. OK. Maybe not. But the moisture felt good in dead center of a Wisconsin winter.
There are few things as satisfying as slowly pealing wallpaper away from the wall.

We had this other steamer, but it has a trigger, that forces you to use both hands. It works fine, but you can’t use the scraper and steamer at the same time, so a little less efficient.

Contrary to rumors, Mark did not stand around drinking coffee all day. He helped. A lot. Abby the dog however, did not. Her excuse: she doesn’t have opposable thumbs

The whole project took two days. Weeeelllll. We’re not exactly teenagers, so our “days” aren’t 12 hours long. So, two sixty-something days.

Next: painting. But I think Jane and Mark are going to leave that to a professional.

now that winter. . .

HA! has at last reared its gorgeous white head and we all feel a bit more wintery, I decided to delve into recent history to document my sojourn in this rather amazing space. When I moved in I had a crippled cat, the walls were pink and the carpet was brown. Those issues have all been remedied now.

Brown carpet, though unforgivable, is understandable. Most dirt is from the Browntone Family, so it doesn’t show itself readily on brown flooring, which is probably a landlord’s aim. But Brown. If I never had to see this absurd color again, I would be happy. I am eternally grateful that snow is not brown. Neither is spring.

The walls? I think the intention was to paint them taupe, but taupe is a tricky one. It can easily lean in many directions from orange to purple to, in this case, pink. Every wall was painted this pathetic pink. Had it been rose or petal pink, I’d have willingly paired my reds, maroons, blacks and rusts with it. But it was so mournful. It was sorry to even exist. Poor Pink, mistaken for taupe.

But it’s better than Pickled.

Pickled. Not quite wood. Not quite paint. Kind of can’t make up its 65-year-old mind.
Walls and woodwork painted off-white.

The woodwork was pickled. The pickled wood fashion has come and gone several times during the 70-odd years this building has existed. I didn’t like it any of those times. It’s when you take the warmth of wood and wash it out with some white stuff that makes it look like it’s been in a pickle jar for eons. I’m not a fan,

Then there was the carpet. Every time I walked from the living room into the hall leading to bedrooms and bath, I could feel a tiny transition in the floor under the carpet and pad. Yes, I have Princess Toes. They could feel a pea under a carpet, apparently. I knew that this transition probably held a secret stash of hardwood flooring.

Now, I’m all about cozy and hygge, but for some reason the flooring industry is lagging in its pursuit of innovative materials for contact with the bottoms of our feet. No one seems capable or willing to invent something that’s cleanable(!), removable, attractive and durable.

Carpet? Under which there’s a room-sized sponge soaking up every dust particle, microscopic critter and drop of liquid, including bodily fluids, that ever come in contact with the floor from now until tear-out. What ARE you thinking? Let’s save ALL the disgusting spills for the next 25 years so we can smell them while they decompose. I guess that’s why Glade was invented.

So, in the winter of 2016 starting cautiously with a tiny corner in the hallway between the bedrooms, I tore out all the carpet and its accompanying sponge. Out! Out! Damn sponge. I took pictures but the )*A&)#(*$ camera I was using bit the dust and its pictures went with it. I checked all of the numerous (50?) SD cards I could find in both houses and my vehicle and nothing turned up. Alas, my colorful descriptions will have to suffice.

Utility knife. Check. Pry bar. Check. LARGE garbage bags. Check. Off we go, cutting the carpet, woven in an endless loop which comes apart like one long ramen noodle and refuses to be cut by even the sharpest of utility knives. Annoying. But still fun. Along the walls are nail strips that pop off with the pry bar. But THEN the nightmare staples.

Dear Flooring Guys,
Do you honestly think that the weird speckled foam stuff that you put under carpet is going to grow Lit-Tle Foam Feet and run away from home? Do you think that three staples per inch are necessary to hold it in place? Did you expect that Jave Baez would be practicing base sliding throughout this apartment?

Staplesstaplesstaplesstaples. All over. Stuck into the beautiful oak floors. I have no idea what Ann and Kory downstairs thought I was doing, but eventually, I removed every stitch of carpet and threw it onto the balcony outside. It eventually found a home in the dumpster out back. Yay.

The staple holes add character.

The Living Room floor however, was made of plywood.

So I painted it.

White. Nice contrast to the black of the cat, don’t you think?

A notable lack of brown. Ahhhhh.

Apartment Therapy

In fall of 2012 massive upheavals took place in my life and I moved into this apartment building. That’s Ella reigning over the lawn this past fall while she was staying with me during her parents’ (Kent and Brenda) visit to Oklahoma. I realized I’d never taken a photo of the outside of the building so snapped a quick one.

Kent & Ansel at the apartment. This is December 25, but there’s no snow. . . yet.

At Christmas, Ansel drove up with his dog, Maebe. We all met at my apartment and celebrated. Short but very sweet visit. A house fulla dogs.

It’s a solid old building with its share of quirks, but I have become very fond of it. My space is on the south side, so has windows facing east, south and west. Very sunny. THAT is the therapy part.

Mr. Rogers

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Ha! Mr. Rogers’s mom was a wise woman. Google Doodle today was about Mr. Rogers, the TV personality who died in 2003. Above is one of his quotes. I guess news has been scary for a long time.