Home Improvement

The room my ex vacated is, one day soon, going to be my bedroom. Making it livable presented an immediate challenge in the form of my complete lack of skills in the realm of doing stuff with tools. So it’s been slow going, but here’s my progress report.

1. I took the dust-encrusted 20-year-old curtains down and discovered that the lining sported an array of discolorations and holes. Hmm. Not wanting to spend the bucks to replace them, I marched into the dry cleaning establishment and handed them over. The proprietor told me, in broken but perfectly understandable English, that they might not survive the process, and if they didn’t, it would not be her fault and I would still have to pay. I agreed and put the curtains out of my mind for several weeks.

2. The painting took a long time and some help from a handy friend to get started. I did just as crappy a job as you would expect from someone like me, but it’s done and I did it so I’m still proud of myself.

3. I went to the Home Depot and got white cover plates to replace the beige ones. I forgot until I got home that the last time I did this I also had the ex replace the actual outlets and switches because they were not white, but beige. I’m not going to do that, so now I have beige outlets and switches with white cover plates. Hmm. If it bothers me I may just switch them back since they were 28 cents apiece and easy to put on/take off.

4. I also bought myself a staple gun with which to secure the phone cable to the baseboard. (You might be wondering why I even have a landline, because who uses landlines anymore? If I were starting afresh in a new place I probably wouldn’t bother, but it’s there and I’m old and I’m keeping it. If only I had a rotary phone!)

Anyway, you might think a staple gun could be dangerous in my hands, but I managed just fine. It was getting the damn thing out of the impenetrable package that made me bleed.

5. I rented a Rug Doctor from the local discount store and cleaned the carpet. This is what I learned: If you want a job where you really stand out as a genius, go work as a customer service clerk at the local discount store. You will look like a mental giant, guaranteed!

The cleaning-the-carpet part was annoying because I had to refill the tank about eight times while cleaning that 12 X 12 room, but it did suck a satisfying amount of dirt out of the 20-year-old carpet.

6. Here’s where I got stuck. I tried to rehang a full-length mirror on the wall, with the same screws, in the same holes. The screws are really long and I could not get them all the way in. They only went so far and then I couldn’t budge them. The ex must have used a drill to do it the first time, but I don’t have one and I thought since the holes were already there I could do it with a plain old screwdriver. Nope. Mirror is not up.

7. Oh, the curtains. The lining on one of the two panels is shredded, the other one survived. Now what? I hung them back up, because I need curtains. They look fine from the inside, because only the lining on the back is damaged. From outside the house they look…shredded. Sorry, neighbors. Not dealing with it right now.

8. Now need to buy a cheap bedroom set and some art. And maybe some glue to attach the damn mirror to the wall.

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3 thoughts on “Home Improvement

  1. ew curtains; I think you do NOT need curtains. I think you can install blinds really cheap and easy from Home Depot. They will lighten up your whole room, no matter the color. Also, in re: switches and outlets, SUPER EASY to replace yourself, also at Home Depot, just don’t forget to flip the breaker before you do anything with the switches. I’ve done a dimmer switch. It’s not hard. They have instructions right in the little packets. Finally, to install mirrors and blinds and other things, you need a drill. They’re not expensive or hard to use. They are very very intuitive. Any person who can use WordPress can use a hand drill. I don’t like cordless drills because I prefer my electronic items securely plugged into walls, like phones. But cordless or not, you can easily get a lightweight drill to use around the house. EASILY. Also, it’s worth learning how to install a wall anchor. Very very easy. And very useful.

    Righty tighty, lefty loosey, and don’t work on electricity without flipping the breakers to OFF. That’s all you need to know to do pretty much anything. Ask Tim.

    • I considered blinds but there are reasons why curtains work better, like the fact that there’s no air conditioning so sometimes a window fan is necessary and curtains can be arranged so that they cover most of the window but not the fan and blinds cannot. In any case, now they are clean and good enough so I’m moving on to other things.

      Maybe I will be brave enough to change out the outlets and switches. We’ll see. For sure I will get a little drill because clearly I’m going to need one.

  2. Take the lining off the curtains. You probably don’t need it, and it will certainly look better from outside. Also, the room will be lighter and brighter without it.

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