Friday, April 01, 2016

Project days

The elephant has labored, once more, to produce a mouse.

With my state and federal income tax returns in hand, I can now do some things around the house and yard I've been putting off for way, way, WAY too long. I mean, years, sometimes decades.

I think I'm a weird person in that I don't really pay much attention to my surroundings. I have never "got" the need to have my house look like a catalogue or TV ad. But I think I've carried it a bit too far...

We bought this house in 1993. We remodeled the kitchen, and re-papered and re-tiled half of the bathroom, and pulled the weird carpeting out of the bathroom, kitchen, and two upstairs bedrooms (this house has hardwood floors all through), but aside from that, we've done nothing. Oh, we re-painted one of the bedrooms to make a library/den for Bob. So what I'm saying is that the dining room and living room still have the same wall colors and paper, carpeting - and window "dressings." I'm thinking next year my tax refunds will pay to have the rest of the carpeting yanked out of this place, and the floors refinished. We'll see. But the windows downstairs - Oy.

Sometime about 2000 I think, we had hefty 2" venetian blinds put in the two windows on either side of the front door. So those are worth keeping - I just spent $53.50 to have one of them re-strung! But the other windows - they were looking more and more like some derelict lived here. So I went out and got simple (& inexpensive) nickel-colored drapery rods, a bunch of Levelor roller shades (hey, by the way, if you get them at Lowe's, Lowe's will trim them to size for you for free! A nicety no one bothered to mention to me when I bought SEVEN of them the other day. It is mentioned on the ha, ha so-called "instruction sheet," buried amidst a bunch of other printed matter in various languages. Thought I'd pass that along, since no one at Lowe's or Levelor's can bother to), and I decided I'm so sick of those heavy, dark, rough, wheat-colored drapes, that I wanted sheer and light for a change. So I got two sky blue sheers and two pure white sheers for each window. Er, to be clear, there are two pairs of windows, one in the dining room and one in the living room  (the venetians are enough for their windows), then one single window on the one-step landing to the upstairs. There's another window on the top landing I'm treating the same as the others. The 7th shade is to replace the mini-blind in the bathroom that the cats ruined.

Now, Sunday night when I went to bed, I told myself that by bedtime Monday night I'd have all new windows. It made me feel very good and helped me sleep. And it was a total ridiculous con! Why do I keep on doing this to myself? Projects I dream up NEVER entail mistakes on ANYONE'S part; oversights or sheer stupidity on anyone's part; or clumsiness or ignorance on anyone's part. (For the purposes of this post, "anyone" means "me.") They only ever take an afternoon or morning, in my head. Simple!

It's Friday evening. On the dining room table are every hammer I own (a 16-oz., a ball peen, a rubber mallet and a tack hammer); a hacksaw; three sizes each of Phillips and straight screwdrivers; four different kinds of tape; the cordless drill and all the boxes of drill bits and screwdriver inserts that go with it; a needlenose plier, a regular plier, a box of razor blades and a box cutter. I have made TWO trips to Lowe's and one to Ace Hardware (oh yeah, that's the other thing no one bothers to mention: they no longer provide the hardware in the package with your roller blinds, you have to buy those separately. Bastards), and two trips clear the hell & gone to southwest Omaha to drop off and pick up that venetian blind. I'm sore from climbing up and down ladders and holding the power drill above my shoulders, my knuckles are scraped and my ego is bruised.

It's taken me two full days and god knows how much mileage on the car, and the sum total of what I've accomplished is: I finally got the venetian blind re-installed after much sweating, puffing, cursing and slicing of fingers, and I got the lower stairway window completely redone. As I lifted the rod, full of the gauzy drapes, up to its hooks over the window, I realized: It looks a lot like Disney's Cinderella's ball gown.

I stared at it for a minute, then thought, screw it, I can live with this for 23 years.

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