Last week I decided I was going to start a house project “on my own”. Our upstairs bathroom – which has been on the re-do docket for years now, but always gets shelved because of more pressing projects – has had wallpaper peeling off for years, and a serious mold issue caused by lack of ventilation, but made worse by the wallpaper. So, I decided that I would remove the wallpaper and paint.
Tim is in the middle of his own project of redoing a bedroom, but I wanted to find some way to be productive and I convinced myself that this wouldn’t be too bad. I insisted to him that I could do it all by myself – that since the wallpaper was literally falling off the walls, that must mean that it would be a breeze. He remained skeptical (with good reason), but I pushed forward in my uncharacteristic optimism. My willingness to stupidly ignore the fact that, in this house, wallpaper was always used to cover problems is something I will chalk up to the fact that this is the first window of time I’ve had this pregnancy when I’ve felt capable of accomplishing something beyond life’s everyday priorities and I didn’t want to squander it.
But I was dumb.
For some reason, the areas where the wallpaper had peeled off already only had one layer of wallpaper, but the walls I had left to do had three layers…layers that did not want to peel off. I also discovered, when I took off the gross white laminated board that was covering the lower half of the wall, that not only was the plaster underneath cracked and bowed, but someone along the way had cut out a chunk of the plaster and lath to put in a two by four to hold the wall-mounted sink. Plus the wall was slathered with thick brown adhesive that did not respond well to my scraping. I felt like a fool.
So, Tim stepped in to rescue me. With his far superior upper body strength, as well as the inspiration to try a razor-blade scraper on the wall instead of the putty knives and vinegar-water solution I had been using with limited success, he managed to take wallpaper and brown crud off with ease. I insisted, though, that I could manage now that I saw that the razor worked. Knowing that I was definitely going to need his help with repairing the plaster (his preference over just covering it over with wainscoting and calling it a day), I didn’t want him to take any more of his time to work on this project that I had quite vehemently claimed I could do myself.
So the next day, I set about scraping. And I got most of it done…with just the high edges of the wall, and some stubborn sections that seemed like they would come off more easily with sanding. But that night, my elbow…which I had injured almost two years ago, but hasn’t bothered me in months…hurt so much that I couldn’t sleep. So much for doing any more scraping…or sanding…or anything else that might require me to exert force with my right arm. Ugh.
Actually, I did try to sand with my left arm today, briefly. Until Tim interrupted me and basically said that it was just pointless for me to do with my left arm that which he could accomplish with an orbital sander in a fraction of the time (I wasn’t going to attempt the orbital sander myself because, well, I’m very non-ambidextrous, and my right arm would be too strained by it…really, I feel pathetic even writing that). I did argue with Tim for a minute…but finally just asked if there was something I could take off his plate to compensate.
So now, I’ll be helping with taxes.