Friday, March 5, 2010

Train Wreck Number 2

Or the Part Where Karin Mistakenly Believes That Every Wallpapered Bathroom Cannot Possibly Be a Nightmare.

My mother-in-law moved into a new condo a few weeks ago. Hm, let me rephrase that. My mother-in-law moved into a new-to-her condo a few weeks ago. It's on the seventh floor of a huge complex dedicated for the housing of the elderly. It was built in the 80's.
Ah, yes, the 80's. The decade of Duran, Duran, Tears for Fears, The Bangles and Wham! Where women teased and sprayed their bangs into a bouffant so high and mighty that every poodle in America bowed their heads in shame. When children wore cotton MC Hammer pants with elastic at the waist and the ankles topped with a t-shirt that bore a photo of ALF, and television brought us shows like The Greatest American Hero, Pee Wee's Playhouse, Saved by the Bell and Live Aid.
It was also the decade where country decorating made a comeback. Teddy bears were tucked on benches, geese danced along the ceiling line wearing bright blue bows about their necks and every shelf had a little wooden "sitter" in the form of a cat, a goose or a little girl or boy in overalls and a straw hat. Each one was lovingly painted by the owner, complete with that little triangle of dots made with their new dotting tool. Egads.
Paper Twist was de regeur. It could be found everywhere from the wreath hanging on your front door to the basket on your kitchen table. You know, the one you cleverly made with a brown paper grocery bag and the unfurled paper ribbon that took hours to undo and weave into something useful. Yep.
It was also the decade of this, now to be known as The Bane of My Existence:

It looks harmless enough with its perky country blue, mauve and white tulips lined up on a tan background. Do not allow its charm to suck you in. This wallpaper is of the devil. And the fact that it was topped with an equally evil paper of pale blue-green fronds interspersed with pale pink flowers on a white pearlized background makes it even more despicable. It hid like my little brother behind the living room chair listening to every word that my first boyfriend and I said to each other and then jumping out and yelling, "Have you two gotten queer yet?" (and consequently running for his life.) The purpose was only to torment and torment it did.
After successfully removing the first layer of paper on three of the walls, I moved to the back wall- the one that faces you as you walk in the bathroom. I began at the top. That was a mistake. Apparently that is the place where all of the heat and steam collected, forming a bond between layer number 1 and layer number 2 so strong it was as though it had been applied with super glue. It is also where I discovered that layer number 1 had been applied directly to the sheet rock below it. Long, strips of paper came off the wall together, complete with the top paper layer of the sheet rock below it.
Did the troll who installed the BOME even think or care that someone (me) would have to remove that paper twenty-five years later? Probably not. He just wanted to get the job done. Preparation? I don't think he knew the meaning of the word.
So, after eight hours of spraying, stripping, scraping, muttering under my breath and repairing the back wall with copious amounts of joint compound, I conquered the BOME. You can just imagine my delight as I crammed every last scrap of it into a Hefty bag.
I have to go back tomorrow to sand, prime and paint and then this whole ordeal will be over. But wait! I still have my own to finish! Ack.
I'm pretty sure that if I go to He.. (well, you know where), my hand basket is going to be filled with wallpaper. From the 80's.
Oh, joy. Oh, rapture.


Diva Kreszl said...

thanks for sharing the humor and horror in this story, we all have had wallpaper nightmares, haven't we?

Angie said...

I think I disliked the 80's most of all, all that big hair and New Romanticism, all that Laura Ashley matching wallpaper and curtains - you could even dress your kids to match the wallpaper if you wanted. How would you ever know where they were?

Thimbleanna said...

Well. I guess that answers my question of whether or not you finished the MIL's bathroom LOL! Sounds just like the bathroom nightmare that I had. I hope the finishing goes better for you!

Bill and Maggie said...

LOL - this really entertained me. Until I remembered that BOTH of my bathrooms are covered in wallpaper. The master bath isn't so awful but the other bathroom is ugly. And I want to get rid of it. (Or do I?) I'll call you when I'm ready. *Ducks*

science + skeleton said...

i often say that the best thing to come out of the 80s is me.

Whimsey Creations said...

My sympathies - bathrooms are awful to do ANYTHING to walls and removing wallpaper in there is the worst! But very entertaining story LOL

Jenn said...

Wall paper is detrimental to our health - mental health, that is.
Fun post & good luck!