Monday, March 13, 2006

"Welcome to Home Ownership"

"Welcome to home ownership."

I hear that ... a LOT. I tell people about some minor adventure, and that's their response. I'm starting to see a trend.

The battle to turn this house we bought into our home is being fought on many fronts. The first one worth talking about is the paint job. The entire house was relatively unpainted. The main living areas were white, with clear markings of aborted paint attempts of years gone by. The bedrooms were a mix of white and this really pale blue, which looked like it had been unintentionally left on the walls. The previous paint job had been a less-than-enthusiastic affair, evidently, as you could easily see where it hadn't been completed: a giant unpainted area that was likely hidden behind a headboard in the bedroom, for example.

We couldn't decide how to proceed, but we started looking at colors anyway. And then an answer fell in our laps. Jess's parents knew someone who could help us out, and we'd be helping someone out in the meantime. This guy was someone her Dad knew through his church work, a Vietnam vet on disability after a lifetime of tough times. He was getting his life back together, had been sober for a while, and was a painter in need of work. For a reasonable price, he would bring his expertise into our home.

It worked out great. We bought the paint and the supplies, he showed up and just worked his ass off all day. Over the next few weeks, our house was transformed one room at a time, with the living room left for last.

And then he stopped showing up. We called, left messages at his group home, but never heard from him. Jess's Dad called around, and nobody had seen the guy in days. Where was he?

We still don't know. The working theory is that he fell off the wagon when his motorcycling buddy returned to the area, but we don't know.

So, thanks to my wife's initiative, we did it ourselves. She went to the store, bought some brushes, picked up some tips on things to do, and Thursday after work we painted our living room. Friday she put the finishing touches on it, including a couple coats of paint on the trim. Saturday we put our furniture back and packed up all the painter's stuff into one corner of the basement.

We still owe him a few hundred dollars, whenever he returns. And we'll gladly pay it. He earned every dollar of it. And in a weird way, I'm glad we got to paint one room. It gives us a huge sense of pride to sit in our living room and know that we did it. We transformed it. We made it ours.

And then, this weekend, we started working outside. We've got a lot of fighting left to do....

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