Saturday, November 9, 2013

Saturday Arvo chez moi.

Restoring a panelled timber door looked so easy on the YouTube video I watched. (Haven't worked out how to link to it when I'm typing on the iPad, sorry.) These two American blokes donned their latex gloves, grabbed a swatch of fine grade steel wool each and rub-a-dub-dubbed with the grain, et voila: new door. They were rubbing with de-natured alcohol. Had to Google that one. Turns out it's simply what we Aussies call metho - methylated spirit.

So I've got my timber door lying on my outdoor table under my back veranda. Gloves on, steel wool in hand, liberal splashes of metho and lots of elbow grease. But it wasn't so easy. See, those American guys didn't have to deal with the P-factor. That's Pete, my son, the territory marker. During one of his mindless adolescent rages he graffed his name with red and blue spray paint all over the door. That's the side of the door that faces into the wood panelled hall in my lovely Californian bungalow. We've lived with that horror for about ten years now. And the various stickers that he decided to plaster on top of the scrawl.

Worse though, he kicked in a couple of timber panels. So I've spent a couple of headachey hours on my well-ventilated back veranda - ie. outside - inhaling metho, sweating into my latex gloves and once again dealing with the inner monologue. 'You dirty dick,' it's saying. 'What were you thinking? Well, clearly you weren't. Pity you probably won't have kids of your own so you can see how it feels.' And then I'm thinking I'm insane for having these stupid conversations with Pete in my head. Meanwhile, I couldn't quite get all that livid spray off my door but it's faded some. Will have to apply a stain.

Al came out to offer advice when I started filling huge cracks with wood filler. As if he's ever used any. Seems the job I did around the woodwork in Pete's old room looks pretty good so I told him to mind his beeswax. I think Al wanted to play with the wood filler cos it looked like fun, and it was. I'm now doing what my dad did while I was growing up: hogging the fun jobs around the house. I was 27 before I was allowed to lay some ceramic tiles on the toilet floor at our newly built holiday house down at Airey's Inlet, the original house having burned down in the 1983 Ash Wednesday bush fires. It was immensely satisfying laying those tiles and grouting. Dad had to concede that I'd probably done a better job than he would have. Suppose the new owners will be ripping them up quick smart.

We've just sold our holiday house, by the way. Not that it was a holiday house any more. My parents retired down there nearly twenty years ago. We had to sell the house to pay the exorbitant bond required for mum to live in her aged care facility. To say it's been a fraught process is an understatement. If you've ever had to clear out your parents home, you'll know what I mean. Lots of tears.

However, my daughter came over today and we unpacked a crate of some of mum's stuff. Oddly, it felt like Christmas, yet when we'd wrapped and packed it a few weeks ago I felt like setting a match to the house to save us all the trauma.

I've just cooked a pot of rice in mum's Sunbeam rice cooker. I've never felt inclined to buy one, given we don't eat that much rice and it cooks up easily enough on the stove top. But now it seems I can't live without it. Thanks mum.

Meanwhile, the wood-filler is drying on the door. Hope my restoration job works. Even if it doesn't, it really was fun playing with that tube of gunk.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Back up the ladder.

Seems I'm not past it at all.

Was really fretting about being unable to paint a room in my house, as my previous post will attest. I did actually call a painter who was happy to drop around and quote on finishing the job I'd started. Got lucky with Greg, local painter & decorator. He didn't turn up. Reminded me why I've generally detested having to engage tradies, barring a few who've done jobs for a reasonable price. 

So I had to figure out how to complete the job myself. I solved everything by blaming my tools - my wobbly plank suspended on two heavy ladders - & buying a stable, light aluminium ladder for $129.

Hey presto. I could get up and down that ladder with ease; could brace my knees against its top step whilst dealing with my 3 meter ceiling.

Having given my OCD free rein - or is it reign? Either works - I've now almost completed the room, which is glowing with some ethereal light, probably because I've painted over the brown trim I'd so 'fashionably' chosen circa 1995. I've replaced it with a neutral shell for the walls and ceiling, a shade deeper on the ceiling rose, cornice - btw, fuck painting a cornice!! - and woodwork.

And btw too, fuck rolling around on polished floorboards trying to get a straight edge along the skirting board. Suppose my behind got a good workout as I walked backwards, wet paintbrush in one hand, on my bum cheeks. And that was just the primer. Still have two coats to go. (Is this what the pros do?)

Have been mightily satisfied by my first 'poly-filler' experience. Pete's gouged out window now looks almost new. Can't blame Pete for that bit of vandalism. The damage to the underside was caused by a crowbar, or whatever, when we were broken into in the late 80s. It's only taken 20 or so years for me to get around to fixing it. 

Where's Al in all this? When he's not bragging to his mates in the pub about the benefits of having a wife with OCD who likes a project, he's in the kitchen making my hard-earned dinner.