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garage2013Way, way back in early February 2012, Super Bowl Sunday to be exact, L (my guy BFF) and I started scraping away at the thickly painted over popcorn ceiling that permeates my entire townhouse save for the bathrooms and kitchen.  Little did we know how overwhelmed we would get with the work, and how our schedules would start drifting further apart, making it hard to lock down times to keep a-scrapin’ away.  That shit comes down like wet, crumbly paper mache, so floor-to-ceiling taping, draping and making sure you wear shoes where you won’t mind stepping in it (because you inevitably will), and consciously remembering to take said shoes off before trotting around outside the work area are all absolute musts. Oh, you can imagine the nightmare of vacuuming up accidentally tracked ceiling goo in my stairway and into my living room and dining room.  Whoops!

Later in the year when our progress had ground to a barely started halt (while my upstairs remained noisy with oddly rearranged clutter everywhere, from books, nighstands, knickknacks and a large, disassembled bookcase) my longtime plumber, R, came to the rescue.  He was here with a guy from his crew replacing my garbage disposal (a hole had rusted through it), and I was making idle chitchat that I had this big, unfinished ceiling scraping project that was driving me nuts.  He lit up and said wow, can I come take a look at the progress?  I learned he’s taken down many popcorn ceilings, and knows exactly how to do the mudding and texture after the scraping is done to get it looking finished, not just scraped.

Fast forward a few months (and the security of job income for the next few months), R and R finished up one of my bedrooms this past week!  Their idea was to just focus on one room at a time to get it completely done.  That way I would be able to move clutter from my other rooms into the finished room, plus other stuff when it came time to empty out another room.  A big, slow-moving shell game.

This week, the small 3rd bedroom at the top of my stairway got completely finished, complete with a great-looking caulking job along the edges of the ceiling.  This will make painting so much easier!  Eventually the room will be a guest room; it’s too small to hold a queen-sized bed comfortably, but a full-sized Murphy style bed would be ideal, so the floor space wouldn’t be constantly gobbled up.

Never in my LIFE have I squealed with delight over a freakin’ CEILING!  Wooohooooo!!  It looks ten bajillion times better, and those old-school 8-foot ceilings look even taller now.  I’ll be writing some big checks over the next few months as we get more rooms cleaned up, but this will pay itself back many times over.  R does great work and I’m blessed to have his help with so many fix-it projects!

And now…Exhibit B:  my garage!  Maybe it’s my extra X chromosome or I don’t know what, but I really never gave two shakes about my garage.  Sure, it’s considered oversized compared to many townhomes these days and easily holds two cars, but I never really focused any attention on it when I moved in…in 2002.  And the clutter started piling up…on the concrete floors.  I knew I needed shelving and some storage solutions, but either got overwhelmed with the choices, or just shifted my focus to the main living areas, choosing new window treatments and painting.  My hockey gear bag would sit on the floor, opened to keep it aired out (thank goodness for the garage as hockey gear reeks), and other clutter like paint cans, painting equipment, planter boxes, cleaning supplies, boxes of old college textbooks and you name it just sat around on the floor in there for years.

Maybe I was too embarrassed to ask for help.  Yes, I think at times I was.  Water started seeping through small cracks in the far concrete wall…and in a warped way I was embarrassed about that!  And maybe a little freaked out at what that would mean – is my foundation getting damaged as a result?  Where are the drainage problems coming from?  Who do I turn to for help?  Why am I having these problems…I don’t have time for this!  Ugh, sometimes I hate home ownership!  Anytime I had a repair guy down in my garage working on the furnace I’d always apologize for how messy the garage looked.  Most of the time they would say something like “Ma’am, you have no idea…yours is immaculate compared to what we see.”  I guess I turned a blind eye to the mess and just got used to how it looked.

Thanks to J’s heroic help, all of this is changing…for the better!!  Over the past few weeks he’s been hauling away crap I don’t need anymore.  What a great feeling!  And last night we went to Home Depot to look for shelving, large plastic storage bins, a new furnace filter and some concrete patching mix.  Home Depot on a Saturday night is a fun experience.  I personally like it because it’s not nearly as crowded as a Saturday afternoon, but sometimes it can be harder to find someone to help.  J knows his way around a Home Depot and isn’t shy about speaking up and asking for help finding something or asking how to do something.  It’s an extremely comforting feeling being with someone who knows the right questions to ask.

When we got back to my place we started clearing away more clutter, changed my furnace filter, and assembled the new steel shelving unit that gloriously gets so much of my stuff off the garage floor and organized!  Yahoo!  J even painted the alcove where we put the shelving a bright white (much better than the yellow-ish unfinished sheet rock), and we’re going to get some lighting installed in there too.

By the time we were finished, it was after midnight!  And I’d rediscovered so much crap that had been sitting in bins, boxes or – gasp – loose all over my garage floor.  High school yearbooks.  Gardening equipment.  Cleaning supplies and unused scrub brushes.  Plastic deck chairs that needed hosing down.  And…my Grandmother’s wedding china (from 1940)!  It’s been all boxed up and tucked away down there for years.  And it’s a beautiful pink floral pattern…while it might be fun to get it displayed in my living room somehow, it’s just not my style.  Honestly, I will probably sell it.

J was most thrilled by discovering that I actually DO have a barbecue…a small, portable Weber that had been buried under God Knows What.  We were all up for doing a spontaneous midnight barbecue on my back deck, but the deck is uncovered and it was raining.  Oh well, we’ll do that next time.  Instead, we toasted our progress with a couple of beers and went to bed.  J made us a great egg scramble for breakfast with bacon, scallions, mushrooms and garlic. I rarely have let others take the lead in my kitchen to be honest, but J knows his way around and cooks like I do, making minimal mess.

This rainy weekend was quite a contrast from the gorgeous sunny weather last week, but it sure was just as happy and fulfilling!