I was fully intending to get back to Boston by spring in 1978—writing about it, that is. But another intrusion into my writing career had to do with the need to prepare my mother’s home for a summer repair project. Our son Eric and his lovely wife Tina had generously offered Eric’s services for a month this summer to do some much needed upgrades of the place. A bonus is that he is bringing our two granddaughters, Katy, 9 and Grace, 6 to spend the summer with Grandma and Grandpa. They will be staying in Mom’s cottage, which will also be known as “the job site.” Granddaughter Samantha, 7 is flying out from Iowa and will be staying in our newly remodeled guest room. We are pleased that these cousins will be able to meet for the first time.
That was the good news. When I mentioned preparing my mother’s home for the repair project, I didn’t say that a good part of the preparation entailed stripping 25-year-old decorative wallpaper from two bathrooms, a hallway, and an enormous vaulted-ceiling living and dining room. Linda and I researched “best practices” for removing old wallpaper and received a bazillion pieces of advice from Googlers and others, including products they swore by and simple home remedies. We finally decided to buy an inexpensive steamer contraption at Lowe’s after exploring renting a similar but larger one at Home Depot. I was soon to have a great deal of clarity on what all of our Google friends meant when they referred to “swearing by” their various recommended methods.
We had one asset that helped immensely—our Gang. I had also read Tom Sawyer. We enticed Frank, 78, Paul, 65, and Tomi, 67 to a “Beer-Pizza-Wallpaper Party” at Mom’s Place on a Saturday. This gave us a rolling start as Tomi and Linda worked in one bathroom and I in the other while we put Frank and Paul on the steamer in the dining room. We are grateful for friends who can turn work projects into fun. They even volunteered to put in a few extra hours in the week following the party.
Frank suggested that I go back to Home Depot and find out if their rented steamer, which was larger than the one I had purchased for fifty bucks but which rented for thirty dollars for four hours, would make the work go faster. The friendly HD guy just shook his head with the comment “It’s wallpaper, Dude!”
Today after writing class I will finish the last remaining patch of freakin’ flowered wallpaper. Can someone tell me why anyone thought putting paper on walls was a good idea?