|My parents are coming. Yay!...My parents are coming. OH GOD
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
One consequence of my parents’ imminent arrival in the UK after six years of not visiting me is that it lit a fire under our asses to fix up the spare room. Yes, we’ve now been in this house for over a year. Yes, the only other room that’s been fixed up is the living room. Yes, the reason why we haven’t fixed up the other rooms is that we spend all our time sitting in our nicely finished living room on the comfortable sofas. Cut us some slack, hey? We both work full time and I have to commute to London daily. You try that and see if you want to sand walls or stand in Homebase and argue about paint colours when you get home at 7 PM.
Anyhow, we’ve been forcing ourselves to deal with the disaster that was the spare room. It was lined with cheap MDF bookshelves and it had been painted marigold in places and left stripped of wallpaper in others. It was, in short, hideous.
Our first step was to divest the place of the bookshelves. This involved a lot of hammering and smashing, which was fun, but also a whole stack of them crashing off the wall without warning and landing on the bloke’s toe, which was not fun. He’s normally the master of the stiff upper lip. That incident turned the air around him blue.
Once we had removed the bookshelves, we turned to the fireplace. Originally we’d planned to keep it. However, the spare room will function both as a bedroom and a study for the bloke, so we needed the corner it occupied for a dresser. The fireplace simply took up space. So the bloke got out a crowbar, and with much glee he and his father yanked it off the wall. We Freecycled it. It was claimed by a neighbour eight doors down whose fireplace had been removed by the previous occupants, leaving them with a gaping hole in the wall.
We boarded up our gaping hole in the wall and began the business of plastering all the holes left by the bookshelves and a huge random crumbly section. This proceeded largely without incident, although father-out-law presided over our endeavours with a critical eye. To his credit, he largely refrained from uttering the words, “You missed a bit.”
As we proceeded through the painting, I discovered a thing called “liquid sander”. I’d never heard of such a thing before, having always resorted to the old classic sandpaper. However all of our rooms feature picture rails. If you’ve never seen a picture rail, look at the following photo.
Notice all the lovely curves and edges that give it a fetching shape. Notice also how said lovely curves and edges make it a total bitch to sand. I was anxious, therefore, to try this magical “liquid sander”. So I picked up the bottle and read the instructions. Here is what the first instruction said.
“Shake well before use.”
So far, so good. But wait! The second instruction read, “Remove loose or flaking paint by smoothing down with abrasive paper.”
Abrasive paper, huh? You know what that sounds like? Yeah, that sounds like FECKING SANDPAPER, you bastards.
It was at that point I decided to stop reading the instructions. I applied the liquid sander with a brush and a good dose of grouchy dubiousness. I wiped it off with a cloth. Lo and behold, it worked beautifully.
The lesson here is clear: RTFM is a load of dingo’s kidneys.
Stage 1: Removal of shelves and fireplace
Stage 2: Base coat goes on, ceiling is re-papered, plaster is applied
Stage 3: Painting begins
Stage 4: Painting continues (second coat). Please note that paint is still drying in these photos and that is why it looks scabrous.
All we have left now is to finish the gloss work on the picture rails and skirting boards this weekend, and then air the place out like mad so it doesn’t stink when my parents arrive next Wednesday. It’s tedious work, but makes that subtle difference between almost and definitely finished. I CAN’T WAIT.