Yesterday, I managed to go twenty-four hours without internet. By the end of the day my hands were shaking and I needed a drink, a strong drink. Each day this week the painting crew arrived at 7:30 am and took over the house. On day one they did the guest room, a spare bedroom, and two bathrooms. They also prepped the next day of work; the sun room, our master bedroom-bathroom, and my office. On day 2 they painted those rooms, and began the great room prep. Day 3 began with five men taking over the largest area of the house, the great room, and prep for the kitchen. Preparation means taping woodwork, spreading drop cloths, moving furniture, covering furniture with plastic, and scrapping bumps and loose paint from gnarly areas of the walls. Split drywall joints are dug out, new tape is applied, and covered with mud. When the drywall plaster is dried the painting begins. To speed things up the army installs several huge fans around the house to blow high-speed air at the moist plaster and pre-painted spots.
The five men, Jose, Carlos, Francisco, Miguel, and Julio work as a team without instruction nor any hint of dissension or animosity toward one another. The age of the army ranges from twenty-two to forty. Most of the men have worked for Mike’s Painting and Decorating from five to twelve years. One thing they have in common is Spanish as a language. The entire crew is Mexican. At least three of them came to America when they were toddlers or grammar school kids. I watched one man mixing mud for the joints. He saw me watching him, so I teased him “I want to learn your job so I can take it.” He smiled heartily, and said, “I teach to you.”
All of them are extremely polite and conscious of the effect they have on the customer. What effect could they possibly have? Try watching your castle being taken over, and trashed with ugly drop cloths, plastic sheeting, paint buckets, sanding blocks, green tape, blue tape, white tape, masking tape, splotches of plaster, trails of fine white dust, rollers, brushes, poles, and tool boxes with more of the same.
I am glad we took on this adventure, but now that Peg and I have been through it I will never do it again. It has been one week of total life style interruption, and seniors like everything to stay on a smooth path. Little things like where is my pill-box? How will we make lunch? The stove, microwave, and refrigerator are swathed in plastic. Which bathroom is available? I don’t want to know how many years of bad luck I will have after walking under ladders because it was the only free path from A to B.
The house looks great. It is even better than I expected. The colors I chose work well with our floors, carpets, tile, and furniture. The accents are subtle and when I look at the walls I ask myself if the walls are truly different in color. Lighting makes a big difference on what colors I see.
The biggest disappointment happened when we discovered the dry-rotted sill plate and rafters next to the living room window. That room remains unfinished until I have the structural damage repaired, the wood treated with a fungiicide, and the drywall replaced. Thankfully, the damage is the same as a dented fender on a car, and not damage from a head on collision with a semi.
The next big job is cleaning the entire house, then replacing the pictures and mementos that I scattered throughout the basement and the spare bedrooms.
I need a drink. Peg and I will enjoy a simple supper at a restaurant tonight, and I might even imbibe a martini.
And then there is this. . . .