Home improvement, chapter 1

I go back and forth between thinking I’m “pretty handy” and thinking I’m completely inept.  A call from a good friend tonight has me sliding toward one end of this scale.  See if you can guess which one…

My friend “E” needed to replace the cover over a patio.  Doing so required him to tie the replacement structure into the roof of the house.  When he pulled back the roofing material, he found composition on top of old wood shingles.  He tore off both layers of the old roof and realized there was no plywood sheathing underneath.  E took care of all that, and by the time he’d put on the new roof, reports that he “more or less” knew what he was doing.  (Because he’s that kind of a guy, E also cut (from his tree farm) and milled the timbers that he used to make posts and beams for the new patio cover.)

Finding himself in the middle of a classic while-we’re-at-it scenario, E decided he “might as well” put in more energy efficient windows and get the tax credit for doing so.  Naturally that also involved putting on some new siding, which has him thinking about painting the exterior a different color…

Now change the scene to our house, “The Center for Casual Living.”  The kids long ago stopped riding tricycles and other vehicles in the entry and the skylight hallway, and we’ve needed to repaint the walls.  Hundreds of dings and dents needed spackling, and I glopped on the first layer.  It took about a year and a half before I got around to sanding and applying another coat.  Just want to make sure it’s dry, right?  By that time Susan’s “honeydew” list had become a “you’d better get this done or you’re moving out” list.

I’m pleased to report that in the last couple of weeks, the walls in our entry hall have been sanded, respackled, sanded again, primed, and painted.  We selected a color that makes us want to lick the walls or drink a cup of really rich hot cocoa.  I even repainted the ceiling, and the space looks beautiful.

Not to take anything away from this magnificent accomplishment, but our entry hall is about 6 feet wide and 8 feet long, and there’s a built-in shoe bench, a coat closet, a door, and two windows in it.  A year and a half?  E did all of his projects this summer, and he’s working full time.  And you’ll note that I painted the entry hall, not the skylight hallway, which is about eight times bigger.

Thankfully, the little entry is providing enough inspiration to keep me from slipping into a “completely inept” frame of mind.  It may even offer enough grace to move the skylight hallway back onto the honeydew list.  That’d be good, as I’d like to get it finished soon.  And I’d really like to keep living here.


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