Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lost Post: The Magic of Wallpaper

A while ago, I was talking with a colleague who informed me that she had hired someone to hang her wallpaper. I have to admit, I snickered. After all we've been through at Humphrey House, what with the smashing and sistering and building and installing, the idea of paying someone to do something as simple as decorating my walls with some pretty paper seemed a waste of money to me. When the time came that I decided to try my hand at wallpapering, I was pretty confident it would be no big deal.

The space I wanted to wallpaper was fairly small – just one wall in a hallway, an accent wall if you will. About 18 square feet total. A simple project, one that no doubt I, with my super-amazing-ninja-like home improvement skills, could handle by myself in a Saturday afternoon. Plus, I had a vague memory of assisting my mother when she hung the strawberry vined wallpaper in our dining room when I was six. I was sure to be a natural.

I’m a humbler girl now.

My dad Kenny, my brother Brian and his girlfriend Megan were all visiting for a few days. And anyone who’s spent more than five minutes with Kenny knows that about 5 minutes of inactivity is about all he can handle. So whenever he comes for a visit, we better have a project ready. I figured Dad could give me a few pointers for the wallpaper hanging, and then he and Brian and Jay could work on the porch outside. Meanwhile Megan and I would, naturally, be finished with the wallpaper in record time and spend the rest of the afternoon lounging and eating cookies and watching movies.

Is everyone out there in blogland snickering to themselves yet? You should be.

Over the course of four hours we worked on that wall. And I discovered that, in addition to not being a natural at wallpapering, Megan and I should never be left alone in charge of a project together. While I really like her, probably the most of all the ladies he’s brought to meet me, Megan and I are NOT meant to work together. Unless it’s on a sitcom or horror movie, with a fully staffed cleanup crew to look after us. Within minutes of Kenny leaving us, we had spilled the water from the tray, debated vociferously about the importance of the butterknife’s presence in said tray, gotten paste all over the trimwork and spilled paint on the floor. And that was just the first 10 minutes!

It was, in short, a nightmare. One that Kenny had to rescue us from. He took over the project after coming inside to find us cleaning paint from our feet and the wallpaper literally pasted to the floorboards.

Did I mention the humbler part?

The next time I decide to wallpaper any part of my home, I am hiring a pro. Or changing my mind immediately and heading to the store to buy some nice faux paint. Because while the finished product is lovely and adds a nice accent, I prefer the illusion that my home improvement skills are top-notch, not bottom-rack.