Thursday, July 22, 2010

And then it gave a sneaky little chuckle, I'm sure.

(c) 2010 Ms. Huis Herself at

Once upon a time there was a house. Overall, a very nice house. But he had been abandoned for a while, nearly been demolished (only the determined action of an architect in his family's line protected him!), never been remodeled/renovated (not all a bad thing, oh no) rented out to a piece-of-work family, and sat empty for a couple of years.

So you might understand he had a couple of issues.

And by "a couple", it would be a building's equivalent of "Dear psychiatrist, can I just put you on retainer? Automatically book you every week for forever? With auto-withdrawal from my checking account? "

Now, I know we've blogged about this house's, um, concerns before. Goodness, that was the genesis of my husband's blog. But it's kind of - what's that German word? Schadenfreude? - a bit of schadenfreude to see its quirks fall on somebody else's shoulders for once.

And by "fall on somebody else's shoulders," I mean literally that.

You see, as I'd mentioned just last week (Just last week? My stars and garters, it was!), we'd needed some work done on our dining room ceiling and rather desperately on our guest room. As previously photo-documented, the plasterers came the day after we called (the morning after we worked our tushies off to completely empty out the two rooms). They taped plastic everywhere, covered the floors with big rolls of paper, and sprayed the ceilings and walls pink. That adhesive didn't dry in time to do the first coat of plaster that day, but that was fine. It was only Tuesday.

And our guests (my BIL, SIL & their two girls) weren't coming until Friday night. Plenty of time for the first coat on Wednesday, second on Thursday, and I'd have the whole day on Friday to put the rooms back together. Piece of cake.

But you know that's how it's all actually going to fall out, don't you?

Wednesday morning came; everything looked good. They were in, slapped up the first coat of plaster, and out before naptime. Peachy keen!

Thursday we were gone to swimming lessons before they arrived. We got back, I asked how it was going, and the main plaster guy, who we'll call "Christopher," said, "Not very good."

Dining room ceiling looks great! Plastic sheeting is all taken down! ...Very nice good-quality painters tape (3M orange core, Gramma Yori) has... taken the varnish off the built-in buffet. Ouch. No fun. Frustrating part? We knew better. Gramma Yori had discovered that very problem with the trim varnish. It's just so old that it's very fragile. Had either Mr. Kluges or I thought about it, we would have warned them not to tape ANYTHING onto the buffet, or any other varnished woodwork.

But we didn't. So now the built-in buffet needs refinishing, at least on the top. *sigh*

"But Ms. Huis Herself," I hear you say, "that did not involve anything falling on anybody's shoulders!"

No, but then Christopher took me upstairs where he showed me a lovely pink ceiling in my guest room. The very same sort of look it had sported two day previously. And the floor was covered in little broken plaster chunks.

It seems they came in, took a look at the ceiling to make sure that first coat was good... and found a bubble. Just a small bubble, it was.

But when Christopher took his pointy little plasterers' tool and poked the bubble, he was able to slide the blade way in along the ceiling. He looked at his assistant-son, and said, "Oh no. Watch this." And pulled down a big ol' chunk of that new coat of plaster.

Seems that at some point previously in our house's history, there had been water damage to that room and ceiling. And instead of calling in a real plasterer to fix it, they'd had a painter do it. Who did a painter's trick of using a sheet of special paper (liner paper, I think Christopher called it) on the ceiling like wallpaper, then texturing over it. Once it's in, textured, and painted, you can't tell.

Except that usually, when they spray that pink adhesive up there, the paper bubbles up fairly quickly. Then they can deal with it right away. NOT after the first coat of plaster is already up. But our house? Why would it make it that easy? Well, I'm just glad they discovered it when they did. Not, say, us discovering two days later as it fell upon our guests or something!

So Christopher and his son had to knock down that first plaster coat on the ceiling. Basically undo their work from the last two days, then start over again. Have I mentioned lately that this was Thursday lunchtime by now? And we had guests coming Friday night. Planning to stay in that room? That is now (again) PINK?!

Fortunately, they had discovered the problem right when they got there. They were able to knock/tear down the paper/plaster and re-pink it first thing. What with a big ol' fan drying it out double-time, they were able to put up that first coat of plaster yet before they left on Thursday.

And on Friday, Christopher was back to put up the final coat of plaster. He was done, cleaned up, and out by 2. I reswept & mopped right away, but couldn't move anything back in until Mr. Kluges was home to help rebuild the bed. But Friday night was my 5K, so I left to register for that just after 5pm, and we didn't all get home until after 7:30pm. With our guests scheduled to arrive at 8, we were scrambling!

Luckily for us, they were running a bit behind schedule, and we had the room completely reassembled, except for the overhead light, by the time they arrived. A bit later & we had the two nieces' beds inflated & all was fine. (Because, of course, the guest room mattresses were in the upstairs playroom, which was where we were putting one of them.)

But hey, now the guest room will soon be cured enough to be ready to prime and paint. And it will no longer look quite so tenement-y. I'm already happier. :)

I sure hope the house is, too.

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