How Not to Strip Wallpaper: Part One

A picture is worth 800 words, but I’ll do the words anyway.

Trepidation. Never used a wallpaper-steamer-offer machine. Trek to truly valuable hardware store to rent one. What emerges from the back is incomprehensible and unclean. Sorry. Head to Big Box Chain home store. Rent cleaner machine. Nice guy at paint department finds little tool to “score” wallpaper first. Warns against pushing too hard, resulting in little pinpricks all over wall. Ha, these walls are plaster, no worries.

Haul machine upstairs. You should have filled machine with hose outside on porch first, but that would make machine too heavy to haul. Review instructions. Main point: don’t burn yourself.  Got it.

Attempt to fill machine using round plastic container retained from grocery store soup purchase, to fill machine. Filled floor instead. Move machine from puddle. Wipe up.

Deploy long-nosed watering can to fill machine. After six or eight fills and pours, screw top back on. Tight enough? Do not over tighten? Plug in. Wait. Fill time by “scoring” walls with pinprick thingee.

Twenty minutes. Shouldn’t steam be coming out of the rod in the middle of the plastic rectangle paddle thingee you’re supposed to put against the wallpaper? Examine plastic hose. Identify severe kink. Attempt to unkink. Ow! Hot! DON’T BURN YOURSELF. Obtain small towel from hall closet to use as hot pad. Hose reluctant to unkink and uncurl. Drape portion of hose over door handle to maintain unkink-ness. Observe that to keep reluctant hose over door handle requires hose to wrap around step ladder. Addendum to “don’t burn yourself:” “don’t trip over hose and fall off step ladder.” Got it.

Steam now schvitzing vigorously. Steam one section while scraping another.  Instructions say ten seconds.  First try, not long enough to make paper scrape off easily.  Repeat.  Hold, steam, scrape. Discover optimum time to hold paddle against wall about three-quarters of the way around the room, after realizing that holding it too long causes vinyl patterned part of paper to scrape off easily, while leaving behind a brown mush of paper backing that smears, doesn’t scrape, all over three-quarters of the room.

Hey, suddenly easier? Drywall, covering an inset for a long-removed medicine cabinet. What are those little pinpricks? Oh. Oh, right. Don’t press too hard with pinprick-roller-scoring tool thingee. Got it. Next bathroom, all drywall. Remember to be gentle. Scrape, scrape, scrape.

Hey, stop biting my ankle, bug! Wait, not an insect – hot plastic hose between your feet that you are not to trip on is burning your ankle that you were to remember not to burn. Readjust hose. Steam, scrape. Steam, scrape. Made it all around.

Observe mess.  Scoop up paper and mush. Place in garbage bag you remembered to bring upstairs for that purpose. Clever you! Step back and observe. Hmm.

Decide that remaining bits of mush on the wall will lend the textured, antique ambiance of a Tuscan villa when painted over with ivory color.  Walls need to dry before paint. Lunch break.

Paint. Hard to reach corner. Ivory paint smear, white ceiling. Charm. Mushy paper bits come off when painted.  Leave some anyway. Texture.

Paint must dry. Use time to assemble clever over-toilet standing cabinet, purchased for the express purpose of not having to drill into plaster wall.

Damn, this thing is rickety, how is it ever going to stand on its own over toilet?  Consult instructions. Discover cabinet must be anchored to wall with supplied brackets. GRRRR.  Set assembled cabinet with brackets attached over toilet. Realize that wainscotting and baseboard make it impossible to get cabinet flush to the wall to anchor. Cabinet is also so low to toilet that if repair inside tank is necessary, unit that can’t be screwed to the wall anyway would have to be UNSCREWED FROM THE WALL. WHAT IDIOT DESIGNED THIS THING? DO YOU MEAN TO TELL ME I JUST SPENT FOUR HOURS OF A GORGEOUS AFTERNOON ASSEMBLING THIS RICKETY PIECE OF SHIT AND NOW I WON’T HAVE TIME TO STEAM THE DOWNSTAIRS BATHROOM AND I’LL HAVE TO BUY A DIFFERENT CABINET TO DRILL INTO THE WALL ANYWAY AND PAY TO RENT THE MACHINE A SECOND TIME??? SHIIIIIIIIIT!

“Mom, are you ok?”

“I’m fine, sweetheart. Want to go shopping?”

Retrieve packaging, including box and mass quantities of styrofoam from recycling bins. Pile these and rickety piece of shit debris into Subaru. Proceed to bedroom-bathroom store. Pile all into cart from cart corral and march to returns desk, prepared for battle.

No battle necessary. Nice lady at bedroom bathroom store sees the problem. Refund.

Proceed to other Big Box Home store, to pick up replacement cabinet that will have to be drilled into wall. Note that store is immaculate, even in aisles with bales of hay. Resolve to apply for job here, ASAP.

Composing Part Two of bathroom cabinet saga and heading off to job apply, I remain,

Your getting-sick-of-do-it-yourself-jobs-but-pleased-enough-with-results-to-carry-on,

Ridiculouswoman

How Not To Catch A Chipmunk

An uninvited guest preempts preparations for invited ones

Leave door to garage open too long while unloading groceries from car. During an early afternoon bout of vacuuming in anticipation of guests tomorrow, notice a flash of brown fur along the wall,  vanishing behind desk.

What the hell was that?

Investigate. Observe chipmunk cowering by door to garage, now closed and locked after all groceries in.

Open other kitchen door, that leads to the front patio and butterfly garden.  Hope chipmunk will find his way out. No such luck. Chipmunk proceeds in opposite direction, zipping past door,  straight through kitchen and into living room.

Shreik.

Grab dusting stick, used to get cobwebs out of places not otherwise reachable.  Give chase while also opening door to deck. Swat at chipmunk running along baseboard radiator, thinking he’d seize chance to scoot outside. No such luck. Observe chipmunk zipping past the open door, back through kitchen and into bathroom. See chipmunk hiding behind toilet.

Grab dusting stick again. Hoist self onto vanity counter.  Scooch along until swatting at chipmunk with feet off floor becomes possible. Observe him zipping back out and turning left to scoot back under desk instead of heading out open door RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM. Stupid damn chipmunk!

Give chase. Chipmunk ends up tucked behind breezeway radiator. Curses. Frantic call to brother the B.A. wildlife biologist/Ph.D microbiologist.

Brother suggests humane trap. Sends link with description, and price. That much? Drat, that means a trip to the hardware store. So much for using bro and sister in law’s impending visit tomorrow as motivation for a total house swabdown. Swabdown Interruptus.

Hardware store, trap obtained. On your way home, stop to replenish chocolate supply and collect Friday pizza and wings.

Receipts go in a cubby at the top of desk hutch. Hungry. Stuff receipts in there quickly in order to get on to consuming wings.

Chipmunk leaps out of cubby in desk hutch, lands on desk and vanishes at light speed.

Scream.

Intuit that chipmunk has retreated into bathroom again, under closed door with unusually wide gap at bottom. Discover chipmunk cowering behind toilet, again.

Fail to realize trap could be introduced into bathroom, door closed, and chipmunk captured.  Give chase instead. Open door again, back up on vanity counter again, thwap at chipmunk with dusting stick, again. No luck. Chipmunk exits bathroom at warp speed, turns left, again, instead of going out open door RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM, again. Chipmunk presumably hiding under desk again although he cannot be seen back there.

Improvise barrier to keep chipmunk from running through kitchen again. Barrier constructed of top of late husband Mike’s oak kitchen table, disassembled and brought in from garage. Table was the only thing other than clothes, books and a hurricane lamp  late husband brought with him into marriage. Thanks, hon, still useful. Block off  kitchen, hope little bugger won’t get in there again. Set trap, eat wings, wait.

Not good at waiting, but use it as a chance to sit outside with AD (Angelic Daughter) and try to chill.

An hour later, after three intermittent checks, see that the trap has been sprung. Got him!

Carefully lift trap, take outdoors,  sweet-talking chipmunk to keep him from running from one end of trap to the other, causing trap to heel over like a ship on wavy seas. Close house doors behind. No repeat! Walk to edge of  yard, push lever down to open doors of trap. Don’t see anything. Hear quick rustling of leaf on grass, “thth.” Check trap. Empty. Never saw him run. Fast little dude.

Congratulate self on adding “chipmunk extraction” to list of skills.  Screams turn to smiles. Express pride and  relief. Desk area reopened for business! Sweep up remains of granola used as bait. Little bugger didn’t get much supper, ha.

Swabdown to recommence in the morning, prior to cooking for guests. The invited ones.

Enjoying a chipmunk-free desk area, and hoping to keep it that way, I remain,

Your smug-about-ability-to-manage-intrusive-rodents-and-grateful-for-brother’s-advice-while-creeping-OCD-wonders-if-there’s-another-chipmunk-in-here-somewhere,

Ridiculouswoman

How Not to Paint a Room: Jackson Pollock On the Floor Edition

Note to self: don’t clip fingernails before cleaning paint splattered floor.

Recall famous painter’s technique of splatter painting canvases placed on the floor, accessible from all angles.

Having completed front room walls and removed two inches of frog tape from ceiling and floor, regard floor.

Floor has become canvas.

Jackson Pollock you ain’t.

Sigh.

Contemplate possible cleaning techniques for wood floor.

Recall wood floor cleaning stuff gifted to you from company that refinished floors less than three years ago. AHA!

Now, tool.

Steel wool too scratchy.

Recall odd little green square scrubby thing for dishes.

Hmm.

If it is for dishes, must be reasonably gentle.

Select green scrubby thing as tool.

Starting in far corner, where precious high-boy writing desk hybrid goes, squirt floor cleaning stuff, and scrub.

Hmm. Comes off, but is smudgy.

Note plastic nature of paint splatters.

Imaginary light bulb above head.

Fingernail!

Test fingernail technique on long, skinny paint splatter.

Success!

Immediately regret having trimmed fingernails previous evening. Drat. These little stubs of fingernails combined with green dish scrubby thing will have to do.

Discover in short order that performing scrubbing task with what’s left of fingernails and green scrubby thing whilst (HA!) bending over from the waist is non-optimal. Back hurts.

Assume sitting position.

Discover that performing scrubbing task whilst (!) sitting facing splatters, one or both legs extended to the side, requires a degree of flexibility not yet attained through workouts.

Rotate to sit parallel to splatters, legs straight out in front.

Twist at waist, squirt cleaner, scrub with scrubby thing, pick remainder with stubby little fingernails.

Advance by walking forward one butt-cheek at a time.

Six hours later, gaze with admiration at exceptionally clean floor.

Recall Angelic Daughter’s astonishing patience in the face of need for food.

Arise.

Immediately determine that food will have to be obtained via fast food drive through, if you can make it to the car, that is.

Because it turns out that six solid hours of butt-cheek walking whilst (oh for God’s sake) twisting sideways, legs extended, results in never-before-experienced hip pain.

Deep, sharp hip pain. Walking difficult.

Eh, nothing Dr. Teal (Epsom salts) can’t handle.

Limp to car, sans shower. Drive through, right?

Place order at drive through squawk box thingee.

Advance.

Child at drive through window stares with (bemusement? shock? horror?) mild disgust at sweaty, paint encrusted old lady.

Hands over sandwich and smoothie.

Grip sandwich and smoothie delicately between thumbs and forefingers.

Eh, it’s wrapped up. Food remains pristine.

Drive home, present food to Angelic Daughter.

Attempt to climb stairs. Because, shower.

Discover malfunction in left leg, due to aforementioned (oh aren’t you just little Miss Multi-syllabic today!) hip pain.

Grip stair rail tightly.

Crawl toward tub, Teal, redemption and healing, expecting to walk normally next day.

Next day, limp toward furniture in need of return to appropriate placement in front room. This includes piano, high-boy writing desk hybrid, Grandma’s drop leaf table, Mother’s round bedside table, antique lamp, two other lamps, recliner, Ancestress Chair, couch, very heavy mid-century wooden telescope and tripod cases, with telescopes and tripods inside, several of Angelic daughter’s artworks and rolled up 9 by 12 fancy rug, first thing you bought together twenty years ago, all currently residing under enormous, heavy drop cloth.

Somehow figure out how five feet of you can fold and stow 9 feet by 12 feet of heavy drop cloth.

Begin dragging, pulling, swearing at and pleading with heavy 9 by 12 rug. Manage to wrestle it into position atop rug pad.

Crooked.

Swear, plead, pull, grunt, reposition rug.

No pad showing. Slight bit off by the fireplace, but who’ll notice? Good enough.

Commence shoving piano back into place.

Delicately walk step-Grandmother’s high-boy writing desk hybrid back to its corner.

Couch, recliner, Ancestress Chair, tables, lamps, artworks, telescopes.

Miraculously, nothing breaks.

Four hours later, crawl upstairs on hands and knees. Because, shower, tub, Teal, healing, tomorrow.

Four days later, work up strength to obtain and hang replacement curtains. Looks nice.

Observe again that two inches of frog tape on ceiling is apparently not enough to prevent ivory wall paint from marring white ceiling.

Decide that smudges and lines of ivory on white ceiling contribute to the rustic charm of 1948 Cape Cod. Isn’t that adorable! They did it themselves!

Real estate ladies everywhere recoil.

Mentally remind real estate ladies everywhere that you intend to stay in this house until removed feet first. Colorful smudges and charm in home decor will be exclusively their problem, then.

Smile. Expect Hope to enjoy several more decades (knock wood, don’t tempt fate) of eccentric color scheme, ceiling smudges and imperfect wall-ceiling intersections in charming home.

Because it’s a shitty paint job, but it’s my paint job.

With dining room and two bathrooms yet to come, I remain,

Your not-Jackson-Pollock sloppy do-it-yourself painter, suffering the consequences of her determination to do it herself (because, no money to pay someone),

Ridiculouswoman

How Not to Paint A Room: Front Room Walls

Weigh Jackson-Pollock style painting already on floor as a result of painting ceiling against “no two coats this time dammit” determination to soak and roll.

Select soak and roll. Horse, barn, ship, sailed, water, dam.

Proceed.

Tape perimeter of newly painted ceiling. This may be a soak and roll job, but you WILL NOT mar newly painted ceiling.

Decide you don’t need to remove curtains. You can be careful painting that 8 inch space between the ceiling and the curtain rod, no worries.

Next, tape dividing line between breakfast area and front room. What a designer you are! Defining subspaces within the same space by using different colored paint! SO clever. Thus avoid paying for framing a wall.

Next, start on the easiest wall, no furniture to move.

Soak, roll, slather.

Quick work! You’re getting even better at this!

Turn to dividing line. Breathe. Enter the unknown. Will this work?

Soak, roll, slather.

Now paint eight inch space above very large picture window and curtains.

Up on the stepstool.

Immediately drip paint on curtains you failed to remove.

Eh, they were cheap, they’re ten years old, and they don’t go as well with this new paint color as you thought. Determine to spend a delightful evening shopping on line for those perfect sheers you saw in some big box store. Which store? Eh, you’ll remember.

Proceed.

Paint trim around huge window, previously taped. So smart.

Immediately drip paint on glass.

Eh, it’ll scrape off when dry.

Proceed.

Two out of four walls, done.

Now, the wall behind most of the furniture, including the piano.

Determine that piano can be rolled from one end of room to other, according to which part you are painting. Table, lamp, CD cabinet all inch away fairly easily. Nothing breaks.

Move beloved writing desk-highboy combo that had belonged to step-grandmother an inch at a time away from wall. This one gets covered with plastic. Must not drip on that. Or break anything.

Miraculously, nothing inside highboy display cabinet breaks. My, you have the touch!

Proceed with soak and roll.

Wait, is that dust? I thought I got all that!

Oh well. Decide that cobweb-dust-encased-in-paint-now-affixed-to-wall provides the textured, antique appearance of a Tuscan villa to a 1948 Cape Cod.

Proceed.

Oops, forgot to spackle over chipped places.

Spackle.

Forget that spackle needs some time to dry.

Paint over wet spackle, creating smudgieness.

Sigh.  “Textured, antique appearance of a Tuscan villa.”

Time to move the piano.

Manage to shove piano from one end of wall to the other without gouging fresh paint.

Wonderwoman, that’s who you are!

Complete corner behind beloved writing desk/highboy combo. Finish front wall.

Next, paint trim of three remaining windows. Cool! Monotone! Trendy!

Forgot baseboard trim.

Slather baseboard trim with soaked brush. Tape’s still there, and so is Jackson-Pollack painting.

Return piano to center of wall.

Notice paint drops on piano.

Eh, never should have paid for a rebuilt one. So stupid. So many people willing to get rid of theirs for free.

Adopt Scarlett O’Hara outlook: “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

Done! The biggest room in the house, done!

Wait, wha?

Easiest wall looks, um, not done enough.

Approach.

Realize that despite soak and roll technique, subtle texture of old plaster wall still shows dappled white spots, un-soaked with new ivory color.

Curses.

Two coats.

Soak, PRESS HARD, roll.

Sweating. Yay, workout.

Repeat exhausting HIGH PRESSURE soak and roll around room.

Notice that when pressed hard, soaked paint roller emits tiny spray of paint droplets, which coat your glasses, face and hair.

But at least you kept your mouth closed this time! HA!

Now, DONE, dammit.

Yes, but you still have to remove tape on ceiling and floor, clean floor, and replace furniture.

Think about that tomorrow.

Angelic daughter has waited all day for your attention.

Eh, who needs a shower just to go get some take out?

Use app to order. Drive over to pick up.

See diners recoil.

Eh, I didn’t get anywhere near your food, don’t sweat it.

Deliver Angelic Daughter’s food, pristine in its styrofoam within its paper bag.

Realize you forgot to eat.

Smile. The Paint-A-Room-And-Forget-To-Eat diet!

Genius!

Shower time. Find paint in impossible places.

Scrub, rub, lather, rinse, repeat.

Sit back and contemplate methods for scrubbing Jackson Pollock painting off wood floor.

Which you will do.

Tomorrow.

Actually getting ready to start the next room, just behind on the storytelling, I remain,

Your “I really thought I got all the paint out of my hair, and what’s that on the side of my ankle?”

Ridiculouswoman

PS I figured out how to add a little more realistic heft to my bitmoji, who is flinging a can of paint up there; if my 5 a week barbell workouts start to have any appreciable effect, you may see her begin to slim.

How Not To Paint A Room: Front Room Ceiling

Soak and roll. No two coats, not this time. Oops, ….

Wisdom of experience. Prepare carefully. Aren’t you smart.

Move furniture away from walls. Pack tchokes and photos from mantlepiece into big plastic box.

Roll up large rug. Favorite thing. First thing we bought together, when we first moved in and had some money. Must not drip on that.

Place Angelic Daughter’s sculptures on or next to couch, along with The Ancestress Chair.

Cover all with huge drop cloth. Smile. So smart to invest in that.

Remove Angelic Daughter’s paintings, and all other framed stuff, from walls. Place in next room.

Next, tape floor. Wisdom of experience. Floor protected with two inches of frog tape against base of wall.

Tape perimeter of windows, anticipating painting trim. Smile. Exceptional forethought. Pat yourself on the back. You’re getting really good at this.

Place six feet of three-foot wide plastic along floor below first section of ceiling to be painted.

Do the edges first, all around, three inch roller.

Excellent forethought once again. Do all the up-on-the-stepstool stuff first, while fresh.

Place can of ceiling paint left over from last time on plastic. Open.

Rust falls into paint. How did that new can rust so fast? Eh.  Stir it around, find it, pick it out.

Place ladder on top of plastic.

Hmm. Slips a little. Resolve to go slowly and be careful.

Soak three inch roller in ceiling paint until it drips. Ha! No two coats this time!

Discover that safely ascending stepstool whilst (HA! “whilst!”) carrying small paint tray and roller is a feat of derring-do. Remind self, “don’t fall,  don’t fall.”

You don’t fall. Yay you.

Raise paint-soaked roller to position at edge of ceiling. Roll, baby, roll.

Smile. This no-two-coats-paint-soaked-roller thing is working well! Remind self to use same method with long pole attachment for remainder of ceiling in this, the largest room in the house.

Section by section, move plastic around perimeter of room. Soak, roll.

Complete perimeter of ceiling.

Step back.

Notice that two inches of frog tape is not, apparently, enough width to protect floor from  drips when raising paint-soaked roller.

Eh. Came off easily last time. Continue.

Attach long pole extension to 6 inch roller. Drag plastic to center of room, next to drop cloth. Pour paint into large tray with liner.

Wide river of paint runs down can when replaced on plastic, creating small puddle.

Don’t step in that.

Immediately step in that whilst (!) wrangling roller on long pole into tray to soak in paint.

Notice this only when returning to plastic to re-soak roller after completing first section of ceiling interior.

Footprints, tracking across expensively sanded, refinished floors.

Sigh.

Eh, came off easily last time. Resolve to get this sucker done without regard to drips. Horse has left barn. Ship has sailed.

Because, no two damn coats, not this time.

Proceed.

Whilst (!) circumnavigating room with long pole topped by paint-soaked roller, around  treasures that must not be dripped on under huge drop cloth, kick hidden base of Angelic Daughter’s largest sculpture.

Cracked.

Rats.

Resolve to repair already once-repaired masterpiece, when paint job is over.

Notice that hoisting paint-soaked roller on long stick and applying force while rolling back and forth is great exercise! Sweating! This counts as workout!

Breathing hard! Yay you!

When paint from soaked roller drips onto lips rather than into open, breathing-hard mouth, resolve to react with gratitude. Didn’t go into mouth. Also grateful for reminder that you are not a mouth breather, dammit (except when singing.)

Close mouth. Don’t sing.

Complete interior of huge ceiling.

Step back (into another paint splatter). Regard ceiling.

Hmm.

One-coat job gives new meaning to the words, “missed a spot.”

Sigh.

Re-soak roller, now stiffening with semi-dried paint.

Re-apply to missed spots.

Paint goes on lavender, dries white.

Decide that missed spots are just not-dry-yet spots.

Lunchtime! Angelic Daughter has waited patiently all morning, in the next room, when the front room is the one she likes to sit in best.

Anticipating need for further touch ups, drive to grocery salad bar in paint clothes.

See shoppers recoil.

Don’t worry, Angelic Daughter serves up her own soup and salad.

Pay. Return home. Check that all paint has been removed from lips.

Eat lunch with Angelic Daughter, who deserves much more of your time.

Look up.

Ceiling dried, missed spots remedied.

Shower time.

Brings new meaning to, “cleans up easily with soap and water.”

Scrub, rub, lather, rinse, repeat.

Exhaustion.

Smile. Ceiling and workout, done. Two birds.

Observe floor of front room.

Footprints. Splatter. Streaks.

Sigh. Came off easily last time.

But last time was an eighth this size, and “cleans up easily with soap and water.” Not water. Wood floor cleaner.

Eh. Do walls tomorrow and worry about floor later. Don’t worry today about worries you can worry about tomorrow.

Until then, I remain,

Your sore-in-places-I-never-imagined-there-were-muscles-to-get-sore,

Ridiculouswoman

 

How Not To Assemble A Chair

If you can cover it up with black electrical tape, it’s not a mistake. Right?

Feeling virtuous after dropping a Subaru-full of styrofoam packing and cardboard at recycling center, regard parts list. All present and accounted for.

Hmm, two different lengths of bolts. Odd. Shrug and rely on vast experience assembling cheap furniture ordered online.

Allen wrenches. Smile, contemplating adding six more, all the same size, to collection, as thoughtful manufacturer includes one for every chair, even when chairs come boxed in sets of two.

Hmm, diagrammatic instructions. Yeah, yeah, bolt, spring washer, flat washer. Got it.

Attach seat frame to chair back with bolts.

Seems tight. Shouldn’t be so hard to screw in, with handy Allen wrench.

Take firmer grip on seat frame.

Feel bolts coming through the other side.

Recall two sizes of bolts.

Commence swearing. Those bastards! They didn’t say which bolts go where!

Uh, no, wait.

They did.

Accept failure to sufficiently review diagrammatic instructions. Realize used bolt 4’s where bolt 3’s were supposed to go.

Remove too-long bolts.

Examine seat frame back, now exuding small, but potentially injurious, spiky shards of wood-that-was-forced-out-with-too-long-bolts. Whack with rubber handle of screwdriver.

Recall existence of wood glue, supplied.

Apply wood glue, replace spiky pieces of seat frame back damaged by too-long bolts.  Whack with screwdriver again.

Sigh.

That’ll have to do, for now.

Use shorter bolts to attach seat frame. Realize longer bolts go in corners of same.

Done.

Proceed with assembly.

Chair legs, on.

Now side stretchers.

Wait, wha?

Those bastards! Holes facing wrong direction! Can’t insert side stretcher!

Oh, wait.

In view of short-bolt-long-bolt mishap, consider possibility of erroneous chair leg installation.

Remove chair leg bolts.

Switch sides.

Observe side-stretcher holes now in correct orientation.

Well, it was sorta their fault! They put “R” for right and “L” for left – was it so wrong to assume that this meant right and left from the chair’s point of view?

Breathe.

Magnanimously accept this as a learning experience. Anticipate smooth assembly of five other chairs.

Proceed.

Dollop of glue, side stretcher inserted, requiring only mild force. Secure with screws.

Repeat dollop of glue on other side

Wait, wha?

Those bastards! They cut the side stretcher too long! No way can it be forced into that now-correctly-oriented hole!

Oh, wait.

Consider that tightening screws on other side before inserting both side stretchers restricted ability to force remaining side stretcher into holes.

Loosen screws.

Smile indulgently, appreciating ability to observe, analyze and solve side stretcher problem. Force in side stretcher.

Tighten, both sides.

On to the chair seat.

Hmm, no pre-drilled holes.

Whatever.

Smugly select correct wood screws, and marvel at softness of chair seat wood. Screws go in easily, even with small, mildly arthritic hands.

Voila! Chair!

Oh, wait.  Shouldn’t the seat be flush against the back?

Ah. Notice chair-back shaped notches.

Sigh.

Remove wood screws.

Re-orient seat to fit back into very obvious notches.

Acknowledge failure of attention to detail.

Smile proudly at zen-like attitude of calm self-acceptance.

Tighten wood screws, satisfied that no one will notice extra holes in underside of chair seat.

Now, voila. Chair.

Check glue on damaged part of back of seat frame.

Dry enough.

Eureka. Idea. Genius, actually.

Where’s that black electrical tape?

Not in the storage box marked, “tape?”

Sigh.

Shopping excursion.

Obtain black electrical tape at grocery store, along with lunch for Angelic Daughter, and a bunch of frozen dinners just because of coupon. Smile, knowing frozen dinners will come in handy sometime between Monday night and never. Smart shopping.

Eat leftovers while Angelic Daughter eats healthy salad selected from choices offered of 1) healthy salad from grocery store or 3) healthy salad and cup of soup from grocery store (because, electrical tape).

Lunch consumed, experience flash of inspiration – take before and after pictures of ingenious black electrical tape self-help remedy (a/k/a patchy fix for lack of attention to detail that caused damage to new chair) for blog post!

“Before” picture taken. Apply black electrical tape.

Realize can’t tear this kind of tape. Need scissors. But box cutter within reach. That’ll do.

Cut tape with “safety” box cutter, leaving lumpy ball of tape all stuck to itself.

Sigh.

Retrieve scissors from kitchen. Trim tape.

IMG_20190504_144038032.jpg

Admire results. No one will notice while also not noticing extra screw holes on bottom of  seat. Take “after picture.”

Test chair.  Sturdy. Reasonably comfortable. Looks great. Smile with satisfaction at prescient design sense deployed via cheap furniture purchased online.

Elapsed time of first chair assembly (before electrical tape lunch excursion): one hour, forty- five minutes.

Elapsed time of second chair assembly: ten minutes.

Indulge in a moment of smug self-satisfaction at ability to learn from mistakes.

And to disguise them with black electrical tape.

Flagrantly avoiding pending-interview-induced wardrobe-crisis (those bastards! Whaddya mean no in store pick-up available today? AUGH!), I remain

Your confident-four-more-chairs-can-now-be-assembled-in-less-than-an-hour-and-sale-rack-scavenging-skills-will-resolve-wardrobe-crisis-in-less-than-two-days,

Ridiculouswoman

How Not to Fix A Router; or, How Many Expletives Does It Take to Connect?

Maybe if I had just changed the name of my network in the first place….

Late Monday night, after choir practice, I was looking forward to settling in with my new binge-watching obsession, “Mozart in the Jungle” (how did I miss this one before? – blog post on it coming soon). I turned on the Roku and found it was disconnected from its network.

Thus began a three-day saga of unplugging, plugging back in, disconnecting, reconnecting, losing my network, finding my network, connecting to my network, getting no internet on my network, followed by phone calls to Linksys and Comcast (and good the support from both – yes, you read that right,I got good support from Comcast – pigs were flying and hell was freezing over, but yes, I got good service) that didn’t solve the problem.

Through trial and error (“maybe if I unplug this or shut that device off or switch to that network and then back to this one”) I got the high-throughput network that feeds my Roku stick back, so I could watch the ongoing story of Rodrigo and Hai-lai (Hayley never corrects him, I think that’s sweet) without calling support, but I couldn’t get my regular network back.

It’s times like these that make me long for a much larger repertoire of expletives.

The modem was fine. The router was working. I could connect to the internet on one of my networks, but not the other. WTF?

Something the Linksys guy said, that neighbor networks could be causing interference, caught my attention. There are a ridiculous number of networks in range around me. (Don’t people know that other people can see the names of their networks, whether or not they are secured? I have neighbors who don’t change the name of their networks from whatever their provider called it, and some who don’t even secure theirs. I have  other neighbors who named their networks something cutesy. Or weird. Or scary. Don’t look through the list of available networks when you connect at home. You will discover things about your neighbors you don’t want to know.)

Back to the old router: based on that idea of interference from nearby networks, I Googled around and found that 2.4ghz is the frequency most commonly used by everything from garage door openers to microwaves to all my neighbor’s networks, but I could change the channel I used to try to minimize interference.

Didn’t work.

Drat.

Expletives.

Surrender.

Go to Best Buy. Purchase new router.

Set it up.

Re-establish my networks with the same names and passwords I had before. That way, I thought, I wouldn’t have to tour the house redoing all the networks and passwords on all the devices (a ridiculous number of devices for only two people. “What an amazing modern age we live in.”) Brilliant!

Didn’t work. Devices could connect to one network, but not the other.

We’re a good 12 hours into all this now.

Oh fuck it. Rename the networks, deploy new passwords.

Success!

Which is when I realized maybe I could have saved more than $100 by just changing the name of my network in the first place.

Expletives.

Oops, forgot the signal booster. Need to reconfigure that.

Can’t I find its signal.

Reset.

Wrong button.

Oh, there it is.

Reset.

Move closer to new router.

SSID appears!

Configure signal booster.

Success! I am genius, dahlink! (in fake Russian accent, a la Natasha. You know, Boris and Natasha? Rocky and Bullwinkle? If you don’t know, you led a deprived (and much more recent) childhood.

Smugly settle in to check email.

Oh, I should print that document I’ve been sent.

Oops, forgot wireless printer.

Configure. Printer says “connected” but laptop can’t find printer.

Call Brother support.

Refrain from swearing when they told me to redo everything I had already done.

But, discover I connected the printer to the range extender, not the underlying network.

Redo.

New error message:  “Print unable.”

Run through troubleshooting protocol three more times.

New error message: “Clean unable.”

Call by-the-book Brother support people again.

Repeat everything I had already done, three more times.

Swallow expletives and go with it.

“Clean unable.”

“Requires maintenance.”

Oh, fuck it. That will cost as much as a new printer.

So, this network genius gets to go spend MORE money (did I say money? I meant credit) at Best Buy on a new wireless printer.

And bonus, while angelic daughter (who endured, with spectacular equanimity, my full day and a half of expletive riddled fury, running up and downstairs to modem and router and back to devices  “not mad at you, sweets, just venting frustration, I’ll be done soon!”) is out at her dance-exercise class, I get to spend my free evening configuring a new wireless printer.

Something tells me my vocabulary is about to expand.

Marveling at technology and while simultaneously cursing it, I remain,

Your digitized, encrypted, dual-networked, wireless and nearly broke,

Ridiculouswoman