Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wallpaper

Yesterday I took the Commuter Rail to Worcester to see my mother. She was working from home that day, and I had promised that if I had no interviews and no temp assignment that I would come and help her take down the wallpaper in her front room.

Returning to my former home is usually a strange experience for me. The house has changed so much since I last lived there that I often feel that I'm visiting strangers. Certainly the house is nicer; my parents have had several rooms redone, and the whole place is a lot brighter than before. But it's odd to think of my old bedroom as "the junk room" filled with piles of boxes, a rowing machine, and my parents' collection of Rev War re-enacting gear.

The wallpaper I took down was something from the '70s, pale gold with a pseudo-colonial floral in mauve. It wasn't the worst wallpaper in the house, that had been in my bedroom, taken down when I was in high school. I was pleasantly surprised to find the wall underneath had been painted a marvelous slate blue. I smiled, thinking of how when I had taken down the eye-sore green wreaths in my bedroom, I was horrified to discover the wall underneath was a sickly yellow, which I'm sure Carol Brady would have loved. I couldn't wait to paint over it, even though it took multiple coats of Antique White to cover the eerie glow of it.

The best part of yesterday was not the encounter of nostalgia for the way the house had been, but the satisfaction of doing a concrete project, and doing it well. I really love home improvement projects, because, like other hobbies of mine, it has a beginning, a middle, and an end, and the result is a practical, useful thing. I did one wall yesterday, and when my mother has another work-at-home day, I'll be back to do the next one.

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