Road to Remodeling Hell paved with good intentions
I’m not saying renovating a house is mentally taxing, but studies show that 78 percent of all suicides are committed by people in the middle of a home fix-up project, with that figure reaching 94 percent if there’s wallpaper removal.
I’d try a suicide attempt myself, if I had the energy or time. As it stands now, I’m on a tight leash in my project, under the direct supervision of my father-in-law and dad — non-stop, hard-working, old-school types who feel a break is only necessary when someone has lost a limb, and even then it’s only 10 minutes.
I’m worn out and beat. If you don’t think an 82-year-old man can kick your butt, try texturing a ceiling with my father-in-law.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, because before the texturing, there’s the removal of the popcorn ceiling, and before that there’s the knocking down of a wall.
“We could knock this wall down,” you say to your wife when first looking at the home. And she nods, and you glow, and your Realtor smiles, and birds chirp while squirrels sing and you’re in sync and everyone is happy that this wall is coming down.
And this feeling lasts right up until the moment you actually start tearing down the wall, because there are electric wires in the wall — they must be dealt with — and now the ceiling doesn’t match, and there’s a new flooring hole, and a host of other ancillary issues, not the least of which is: What do you do with the wall? Because the remains of a living room wall do NOT fit inside the confines of a city of Grand Junction trash can. Trust me on this one. All of which is why the phrase: “We could” is the most dangerous one spoken by a homeowner. It’s like socialism, skating or sewing — words that sound so harmless, yet which cause so much pain.
“We could tear up the carpet,” you say. We could. Sounds easy enough, simple. Until you find yourself inside, on a perfectly nice beautiful western Colorado day, hunched over on achy knees, using a crowbar to remove what surely must be 50,000 feet of tack strips.
“This is what Hell must be like,” you tell yourself. But you really don’t know what Hell is like, because you haven’t tried to remove a popcorn ceiling yet.
“We could remove the popcorn ceiling,” your wife said. We could do that. We could also get kicked in the groin by a goat, which is far more enjoyable.
“Then we could texture the walls and ceilings.” I never really noticed textured ceilings before. Now having spent three days texturing a house I know that villagers in Africa don’t live in straw huts because they are poor; they just hate to texture.
Which brings us back to ceilings. I’ve been thinking a lot about popcorn ceilings lately. And about the guy who invented them. And what I’d do if I ever met him. And how I’d arrange the torture chamber.
“Wonderful invention you created, sir,” I’d start off, while holding the dental drill. “Society has many unfulfilled needs that require inventions: a cure for cancer, a commercially viable solar-powered vehicle. And you chose to focus your intellectual skills on trying to get a ceiling to resemble a movie theater snack?” (SOUND OF DRILL STARTING)
I blame Home Depot for my predicament. “Let’s Build Something!” goes their ads. But by “Let’s” I think they mean “You” because at no point during my arduous project did I ever see someone clad in an orange apron grace my doorway, offering to help.
Yet thanks to my workaholic family members, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Plus it’s a texture-smothered, wall-free, freshly painted tunnel. The final product is turning out OK.
But we could build a deck ...