Evil amongst Us ?
« on: 2011-01-28 11:19:05 »
Life presents it's challenges; I had to document this romp with reality I had.
But it Will Look So Pretty
I once felt that evil was a silly notion of zealots trying to enslave the great unwashed.
Then I had a life changing experience.
Somehow I had managed to avoid the expression of this evil for most of my adult life.
Then like so many seemly benign endeavours it began with an innocuous request.
A friend had purchased a house and asked if I could undecorate it before they moved in.
I've rejuvenated many houses for myself and helped others over the years, putting up new drywall, taped and mudding, and painting.
The tedious job of stripping painted wood to reveal amazing old wood work, I've taken head on without flinching.
So "of course" I said "sure".
I got my first tour of the project and noted the brightly flowered walls with swirls of purple and pink and red and yellow and greens alternating with shades of blues and oranges harkening back to the heady fashions of the 70's.
Now I did have a funny feeling in my gut, but remained undaunted uttering "No Problem" and "Done in a Week".
As I headed to the hardware store, by way of the 'Rent All Centre', a faint voice in the back of my head was desperately trying to be heard, but I was on a mission and ignored it.
With paint rollers and primers and gallons of gentle new colours and a few scrapers and a wallpaper steamer, I arrived at the house with a kind expectant morning sun and crisp pure white snow covering the landscape. It was going to be a good day.
I filled the steamer with water and plugged it in. Took another sip of my coffee, grabbed my shiny new scraper and started the task of peeling off the colourful reflective surface that is the hallmark of easy strip wallpaper usually revealing the paper backing that yields easily to the penetrating steam and scraper.
I loosened a corner and the other corner and started a gentle even tug that started at the top of the wall and usually ended at the bottom with a large piece of coloured film that can be stuffed into a garbage bag ready for the dump.
Tug snap, tug snap, try again, scrape tug, scrape tug SNAP, TUG SNAP, SNAP TUG SCRAPE GOUGE , SNAP SCRAPE GOUGE,
.. the little voice in the back of my head finally made itself hear
. "plastic and vinyl covered wallpaper is a bad idea, and as plastic ages it gets brittle".
Off in the distance I heard the steamer announce it was ready to rock
. I swung around secure in the knowledge that I had superior technology: "no problem".
With the steamer in hand I confidently placed it on the bright swirls of purple and red and the steam forced its power against the wall and then ran down the wall to form a wet puddle on the hardwood flooring and soaking the baseboard. The purple and reds now glowed with new vibrance with the years of smoke and dirt removed ready to stay put for another 25 years.
I realized that most likely a fellow human being pure of heart was sitting here years ago and looked at the the walls and a force so evil and malicious in intent simply placed the thought
" some pretty colours realized with wallpaper would make this house so nice and your partner so grateful"
. the dark evil force began its reign of evil.
"This is easy strip wallpaper sir, you just peel back the vinyl film and a little water you take down the backing". The evil force listen and smirked, if you do it within the first 4 years.
"And sir, the wall covering will make all the imperfections in the wall disappear no need to plaster and repair those little mishaps." The evil force shone with pride.
I had cleaned up the water spill and unplugged and put away the steamer and was SCRAPING and TUGGING little pieces at a time
. SNAP ,and another little piece of the vinyl covering off
.. the process left my hands crippled but by day's end it was done.
I used a spritzer and dampened the backing and within an hour it was off, I cleaned up the mess. It was now dark outside and in the dim light from the bare light bulb hanging from the centre of the room I looked about, sighed and headed home ready to sleep, but still the little voice in my head was unsettled.
Another cool bright winter morning and with coffee in hand I arrived at the work site eager to get beyond the anguish of the day before. The sun beamed in the curtain-less windows lighting up the newly stripped room with an intensity that revealed the person that did the finishing work on the dry wall years ago had arms and legs shorter than each other and was severally visually impaired and clearly felt not using paper on the seams under the plaster was going to spare any baby bushes from having to be clubbed to death ensuring not a single tree be cut for the paper tape needed to do the drywall properly.
Back to the hardware store, drywall tape, drywall compound, some fibre glass mesh tape (just in case), new trowels and a corner troll and oh yes some new MDF baseboard to replace the section the water from the steamer saturated and that swelled to a cancerous glob. "They no longer make that baseboard shape ? "
. "well I'll need 10 ft + 15 ft plus 25 ft plus 10 ft"
. " $200.00 sigh
By the end of day 2, 2 coats of drywall compound applied and taped and sanded between coats. There was hope for these walls that had been so badly abused. I did note the pencil lines that the person who applied the wall paper scored on the walls to align the various sheets and headed out for the evening to a well deserved sleep.
I opened reluctantly one eye and then had to pry open the other eye which was cemented together with drywall dust from the previous day's work.
It was dark this morning, somewhat ominous, with a heaviness that usually ushers in a great deluge of snow. I arrived at the house and switched on the lonely light bulb dangling tentatively from the ceiling and with a grunt it came to life providing less than an admirable glow.
A quick final sanding, and the first gallon of primer was pried open, paint rollers and extension handles were engaged and the final assault could begin, but the little voice in my head broke through the confidence and announced that the lines and the wall should be proven to be pencil to avoid the dreaded and unyielding ink bleed through. So with pencil eraser in hand I test the numerous lines, the wallpaper installer had in fact been thoughtful and had used pencil.
The painting began: corners and door frames and window frames were cut and the rolling took most of the morning; I installed the new baseboards and got a fresh coat of the finishing paint on by 3:00 pm and headed home in the gloomy light, snow had covering the world in a thick velvet blanket.
The next day was bright and sunny again begging to be engaged. Off I went to cleanup and feeling smug in the knowledge I had beaten the evil force that had possessed that poor soul so many years earlier and coerce them into putting on not just wall paper, but wallpaper that would bitterly resist its removal.
Again I was greeted with sun light streaming into the freshly painted room revealing satin smooth walls now testaments to my plastering and sanding. I gather up all the tools and rolled up the tarps, loaded up the truck, quick vacuum and stood back to admire my work, and there.
There, near the corner right where the last sheet of the hideous wallpaper was mostly likely hung, there it was. I could hear the resident evil clearly now cackling and smirking with glee and satisfaction. I understood what it had done. The poor hapless wallpaper was finishing and drawing the last pencil line, when the evil with ever so subtle a nudge, broke the pencil lead tip. There in the top pocket was a pen, last used on the crossword puzzle at breakfast and evil prevailed, the pen was unsheathed and a dark sinister ink scare that now glowed through the soft creamy paint was impaled on the unsuspecting wall.
It was then that I knew with certainty evil does exist among men.