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Wow.  Nothing like a messy home improvement project to test my patience, humor, tolerance and blood pressure.  Yeah, yeah, last week’s post was about Celebrating a Decade in the Townhouse.  This past weekend it felt more like Fuck this Shitty Mess of a Popcorn Ceiling Already.

Seriously, I totally get now why people move out of their homes during renovations and remodeling.  Or leave the house during those room makeover shows on HGTV and all.  Sometimes it’s best to not hear or see what goes on.  Kinda like sausage:  it tastes good when it’s done but the process to make it is not for the faint of heart.  Ha.  Moving out temporarily isn’t really feasible for me, so a lot of room ventilation and a great shop vac are esssential.  That and a buttload of drop cloths and prep work.  More on that later.

L and I finished spraying and scraping the rest of the popcorn ceiling off my large master bedroom and vanity area.  We’ve got a hallway and two more – much smaller – bedrooms to do before we’re done with the upstairs.  I bet they are going to seem like nothing compared to the size of this first room we did!  Check out the (only?) shot in this post – a look at the work ahead that I snapped on Saturday morning before we got back to it. [I’m still trying to figure out photo uploading in WordPress Land so please bear with me.  Got a few older posts ported over from blogspot which need picture help too.]

Anyway, now L and I are getting better at the process, plus he didn’t have to remove horrific, old light fixtures this time around beforehand.  We just prepped, sprayed and scraped that goddamn ceiling (which is covered with a thick layer of flat, white paint to boot).  We’re out of the “we don’t know what we don’t know” mode and were a lot more productive on Saturday.

I gotta admit I felt supremely bitchy as we got started.  I’m not a super duper neat freak, but when I make a mess it’s in my own way if that makes sense.  When someone else makes a mess in my house it’s on a whole other level and not cool.  And now that I know how stupendously messy this scraping project is, I get bitchy.

Once L and I got the room prepped and draped with what seemed like a million plastic drop cloths we got underway with minimal problems.  But it was not pretty getting ready.  We had to tape the drop cloths flush with the ceiling all along each of the walls ahead of time to avoid a lot of the dust and debris sticking to the walls and/or landing on the carpet.  And when we ran out of drop cloths about halfway through I had to make a quick trip up to Home Depot to grab more.  A little frustrating, but thankfully there’s one not too far from my house.

Seriously, when we’re done with this we are going to be experts on Scraping Best Practices.  For example, tape the hell out of the plastic drop cloths along the top edge of the walls. Nice and tight.  Because once you start gently spraying the ceiling, things get damp and guess what?  Down come the drop cloths, as a flimsy tape job won’t hold them up.  Keep the cloths loose along the edge along the floor so you don’t accidentally yank them down with your foot or a stepstool.

And as you scrape along the ceiling with a wide putty knife, down comes the popcorn.  Just like crumbly, wet paper mache, so a hat, safety glasses, ventilator mask and clothes you don’t care about are essential.  You’ll be covered in white dust and ceiling particles.  Seriously, whoever the hell invented this ceiling treatment should be shot if they’re not dead already.  OK that was mean but whatever.  This project really brings out the worst in me and I have to be careful not to bitch too much to L.  For he’s being absolutely wonderful and diligent.

He even brought his friend’s dog to hang out with us too.  The sweetest, most loving dog of all time.  But this pushed my anxiety level up again further – thankfully for just a short time.  I was worried she would want to be in the room where we were working and get exposed to the dust and debris (hmmm, do they make doggy masks?) or end up tracking the mess elsewhere in the house.  But she was smart and hung out in another bedroom. 

After a few hours and a couple of large garbage bags stuffed with popcorn crap and the drop cloths, it was time for a couple of hot showers, laundry and cracking open some beers to watch hockey.  Yesterday was Hockey Day in Canada so there were ten bajillion things to watch.  I made us dinner too – chicken with Thai chile and spicy peanut sauce which is out of this world. I served it over linguine instead of rice for a fun Asian-Italian fusion twist. Not bad! See my Well Hello, Food Processor post for the recipe.

L slept on the couch downstairs with the dog and I made us breakfast this morning while he helped me with a couple of other small fix-it projects and made a coffee run as my coffee grinder apparently decided to die after ten years.  (Now, now, settle down…he and I are friends and nothing more.)

We’re taking next weekend off from this project and will get started again in a couple weeks.  As adventurous as this has been, I’m looking forward to a more normal weekend of sorts, and will be reconnecting with a co-worker from around 15 years ago – can’t wait to see her! 

Plus the next rooms that need the ceiling scraped are loaded up with crap.  It’s going to take me awhile to clear them out but it will feel good to clean and purge a few things for the dump or Goodwill.

Meanwhile, I have two gorgeous cans of paint just aching for the bedroom walls.  But that’s aways down the road.  After we finish scraping the ceilings, we have to sand, prime and paint them.  First things first – all in good time. 

So says my patient self to the impatient bitch within.