The Neverending Story

I neglected to mention that I’m in the middle of a stupendous home improvement project.

The word “stupendous” sounds a lot like “stupid”. That’s precisely why I used it.

This project was totally unplanned. I mean, I knew, somewhere in the back of my mind, that I would like to paint my office someday. I knew I would eventually pull up the carpet and let the beautiful oak flooring out from under its dark shroud of synthetic fibers. At some point, we planned to replace the ineffective recessed light with an efficient ceiling fan and light fixture. All of these tasks, however, would take place at some nebulous future date, heretofore un-pin-pointed.

If I were to make a list of the home projects we have thought about doing, and then put them in descending order of priority and likelihood of actually doing them, remodeling my office would not be at the top. It would be further down, well after “fix the kitchen ceiling where the water leaked in” and “make the laundry room more functional by moving the gas line and adding a second electrical outlet”. In fact, it would also be well behind “finish the patio we started months ago” and “weed the garden, dummy, or you won’t have any tomatoes”.

Alas, the best-laid (or never-laid) plans, as they say. I’m neck-deep in this office remodeling project now.

It started out as a cleaning gig. See, my computer was long-overdue for its biannual Blasting (backing up all important files and wiping the hard drive) when, suddenly, the network card quit working. This prompted me to take the whole shebang apart and move it to DH’s office, where we have all of our install disks (and miniature screwdrivers). With the computer gone, my desk looked like it could use a good blasting, too. I cleared it off and ran the sweeper underneath. This led to disconnecting the telephone and unplugging all the desk appliances and lights. I’m sure you can see where this is going.

With the desk totally cleared, it seemed only natural to remove it from the office and clean everything. And this seemed like the perfect opportunity to just paint the whole joint. Now, my office used to have a hunter green upper wall, and white painted beadboard on the lower wall. A white chair rail separated the upper and lower sections. I really didn’t care for the beadboard or the chair rail, so we ripped them all out. That led to much plastering and patching of large nail holes. And then there was the painting. Lots and lots of painting. Three coats of tinted primer and a coat of Pottery Clay paint later, I have a lovely, monochromatic room.

As the painting progressed, it seemed obvious that we should pull up the carpet. We have delicious oak parquet floors in our house, and I love them. I wanted more of them. This was my chance. We peeked under a corner of the carpet and, lo, there was a good-looking bit of oak. We bit our lips and yanked the rug. Fortunately, it was a good call. The floor is in great shape, and will just need a bit of scraping here and there.

As the carpet came out, though, we had to figure out what to do with the baseboards. The old ones weren’t thick enough with the carpet gone, and they needed painted, anyway. It seemed easier to just install new ones. We went with real hardwood, 5 1/2″ high, in oak (of course). Those were a bit expensive, but they look great. The old registers, however, did not look great. They looked stupid (and not stupendous) with the new woodwork. So we got new ones. We also replaced the outlets and outlet covers. Might as well go all the way, right?

So the end is in sight. Honestly. I’ve left no stone unturned (or object un-replaced) in my office, so all that’s left now is to stain the baseboards and cut them. And install them. And then move the furniture back in.

Maybe I should start shopping for a new desk while I’m at it. And maybe an area rug, and a lamp, and some new curtains….


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