Monday, October 10, 2005
DIY pre-marriage test
Finally, after three months of hard labour, our living room is redecorated, although “restoration” is probably a more accurate definition. It all started with the simple observation that the wall-to-wall carpet in our rented apartment was looking a bit worn out, after some three to four decades of faithful service. The half a dozen or so clean spots really messed up its general, deep rooted filthy appearance. So it had to go. And instead of laying new carpet, why not simply cleaning up the nice, vintage wooden floor hiding underneath?
Well, a good reason might have been that it is a bloody awfully difficult tediously slow weekend-absorbing job from hell, but little did we know at that time. That’s not completely true; I did have some previous experience with a similar DIY job in the hallway. But hey, it was just before summer, we both found great new jobs and optimism was soaring to dangerously high levels. A week of hard labour, my girlfriend estimated, to which I quietly added another full week plus two to three weekends.
Three months later, three months of uninterrupted hard toil, in which we spent every ‘free’ moment of every evening and every weekend, it’s finally come to an end. I must say, the result looks good. We now have a nice vintage wooden floor, walls without suspicious bulges, cables that are neatly tucked away in cable gutters and electrical installations that are less of a fire hazard than before. Three walls were coated with yellow-salmon-orange-y wall paper and one has a Bordeaux colour for contrast, which looks quite sophisticated, in contrast to the people and animals occupying the place. So far, the cats haven’t done any permanent damage to the walls or to the floor, so it still looks shiny and new.
I’m extremely proud of the job I did on the mantelpiece. It was built with yellow bricks and it must have been designed by a colour-blind sadist seeking revenge on society in general. To make things worse, previous attempts to ‘improve’ it failed miserably. One part was clad with a single coat of white paint that didn’t cover well, and for the rest the cement in between was painted with a thick black marker. So I covered it under a layer of plaster. An extremely smooth layer of plaster. In fact, it looks as if a professional with 30+ years behind him has tried to make the masterpiece of his life. Should they decide to fire me on the spot, I shall laugh in their faces, knowing that a glorious career as master-plaster lies before me. Unfortunately, the three couples that already saw my beautiful work immediately remarked that they too had an ugly object that could do well with some five-stars plastering. One of them just bought a house.
For me though, the most satisfying bit is that I now know my relationship can withstand any storm. Seriously, if you’re about to marry (like we are) nothing will give you insight into the strength of your love like three consecutive months of DIY. Either you will have the guarantee that your love will hold up to the grave and beyond, or one of you will be in the grave and the other one in jail for slaughtering his/her partner in a particularly vicious manner with a paint brush, a piece of sanding paper and a bucket of wallpaper glue.