A New Coat of Paint

The past few days have been devoted to a much-needed renovation of the home office, and the effort has left us too exhausted for our routine thorough examination of the news or to work up our usual right-wing rant.

This renovation mostly involved putting a new coat of paint on the ceiling and walls, and if that doesn’t strike you as a particularly daunting task then you haven’t painted a room recently. Although the actual application of the paint to the surface isn’t very tiring or time-consuming, even with the trim work required for eight windows and a baseboard, the rest of the task is downright Herculean.

In this case it began with the removal of an especially ugly wallpaper border that had been affixed to the top of the walls by the previous occupant. We’d love to share a quick and easy way to remove these monstrosities, we truly would, but after many hours of applying water, various wallpaper removal products, steam, and copious amounts of elbow grease, our best advice is to learn to love whatever is there.

The next step is a trip to a local hardware store to buy the paint as well as the drop cloth, rollers, pans, brushes and other devices required for painting. We made quick work of choosing a color called “Brown Sugar,” which we assume is meant in the confectionery sense rather than the more lascivious Rolling Stones sense, but it seems that no trip to a hardware store is possible without a lengthy discourse on home improvement from the customer standing next in line at the check-out counter. On this occasion the lecturer was a rather elderly woman who had worked for many years as a real estate agent, just one of many uninteresting facts about her that we learned while waiting for the paint to be mixed, and we learned how various projects would affect our re-sale value. We patiently explained that the information was of little use to us because we intend to grow old and die in this property, a prospect that became more and more appealing with each passing anecdote, but the advice kept coming until the Brown Sugar had been mixed and paid for.

Then there was the major matter of moving the furniture, which naturally revealed dust bunnies, cobwebs, cat toys, and various other surprises which required extensive vacuuming and scrubbing, which in turn led to a rash decision to conduct a thorough cleaning of the premises. This entailed disposing of numerous grocery sacks worth of outdated papers, including the phone numbers of some long-deceased friends notes from freelance assignments completed several years ago, and the owners manuals for computers that were consigned to the basement several technological generations ago, as well as the scrubbing of items that had somehow accumulated sufficient dust and grime to cover a large desert.

It’s almost done, though, and we must say that the office is looking quite nice. The Brown Sugar is soothing yet masculine, and everything looks much better without all the soot. We should be back to the right wing rants by tomorrow.

— Bud Norman