Full Disclosure: Our house needs some updating (I watch a bit too much HGTV, I suppose).
Now that the nest is empty (and has been, really, for awhile now) we see the sorry state of the carpet, lament the coming demise of the kitchen appliances, and probably the water heater, AC, and who knows what else, and generally note that some of the decor has passed its prime. WAY, Way, waaaaay passed. Yes, my friends, I am embarrassed to admit it, but admit it I must: My dining room walls are covered in striped wallpaper. Okay, only half-covered. I actually ran a border around the walls’ mid-point as a sort of faux chair rail, with the paper running ’round bottom half of each wall. As an added bonus, the border ALSO graces the space where walls and ceiling meet. In the late ’90s, this was perhaps fashionable. It’s hideous now. No one waved me off wallpaper in the decorating phase of buying a new house and decorating it back in ’97. NO ONE WAVED ME OFF!!!!
I hereby have a bone to pick with my friends of the time, who, mostly are my friends today. Why wasn’t I reminded of the pitfalls and miseries of wallpapering in general, and its removal in particular!??!
I suffer the humiliations anew. I remember, as I labor to remove it, what a bitch it was to hang in the first place. My long-suffering husband, who bore most of the brunt of the paper-hanging, agreed to my decorating scheme (what choice did he have, really?), and did his level best to make the room lovely. I say ‘level’-best, having re-discovered the chalk lines he snapped to assure some precision work. (He’s an engineer, which both helps and hinders home improvements. Helps, because he does great work. Hinders, because for cryin’ out loud, I can’t even hang a picture around here without stud finders, measuring tapes and small calculations to assure geometric precision on a given wall).
Frustration ruled the wall-paper hanging, of course. I know this, because in a recent request for marital advice at a wedding shower (dear friends have a son about to be married), Jeff (engineer extraordinaire and husband of nearly 30 years) offered this sage bit: “If you can’t wallpaper together, don’t.” The wisdom of the ages, right there for all of you. Based on personal experience and a wealth of friends who testify similarly, husbands and wives are wholly incapable of wallpapering together. The process can be survived — we managed to do that — but why in the heck would anyone risk it!?!?!
Which brings me to my point. Friends don’t let friends wallpaper. Because we’ve all been there, and we know the drill, the cost, the fallout, the pain, the arguing and inevitable anger that accompanies it. Worse still, we all know that the cursed stuff has to come down eventually. Oh, sure, some of it sometimes falls on its own, due to faulty application (in itself grounds for a small war). More likely, though, it stays around until you just can’t bear the sight of it one more minute. Our own wallpaper was hung with the understanding that it must withstand nuclear holocaust, apparently, because for the past couple of days I’ve been working on its removal, with limited success I might add, which entitles me to say this: FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS WALLPAPER!!!!!!!!!
My walls are chipped. My fingernails are split. My patience is near its end. I’m scoring the paper (two and three times, for the love!) and slathering on the wallpaper removal solution. I’m trying to keep a positive attitude here, and, get this: I’M DOING IT ALL BY MYSELF! (I am nothing if not willing to play the martyr) I haven’t asked for a bit of help. I haven’t complained out loud where anyone can hear but the dog, who promises to keep my secrets. I’m not even half-way ’round the room. Do I lack skill?!?! I submit, no. What I lack, apparently, is friends who keep me from wallpapering.
So, for those of you out there with friends — do them a favor. NEVER, EVER let them wallpaper. Save a friend. Save a tree. Go out and buy the paint, offer to run the roller, lock them up if you have to — just remember this one thing. Friends don’t let friends wallpaper. And if they do, they at least come over and help take it down!
hint, hint, hint…