Home improvement tales

Published Apr 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm (Updated Apr 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm)

Maybe it was the never ending winter. Maybe it was the age-old tradition of spring cleaning. Then again, it could have been temporary insanity. Whatever the motivation, I recently decided it was time to tackle some home improvement projects.

High on the list was painting the living room and hall. Five or six years ago, I started thinking of painting the aforementioned rooms, going so far as to buy sample jars of paint. But life happened, and the paint samples were forgotten on the workbench. Earlier this winter, we re-discovered the samples, testing the colors by painting swaths under some of our paintings, which gave us time – months to be exact – to decide on our favorite.

Thanks to modern technology, we were still able to purchase the color we wanted, as well as a can of aqua paint to freshen up the bathroom. Like most projects, this one was starting to take on a life of its own. Paint and painting supplies in hand, I was ready to get to work.

Because it had been quite a while since I last painted, I decided to tackle the bathroom first. It’s a smaller room with less trim, and since the weather was still cold, the exhaust fan would be put to good use. After removing and cleaning all the fixtures, it was time to start. The ceiling was quickly painted, and I felt pretty good about what I had done so far.

But, as usual, pride goes before a fall. While trimming out the room, I spilled the small container of paint on me, not once, but twice. Each spill involved cleaning the floor, my clothes, and myself. I finally finished trimming, and moved on to rolling, which took no time at all. All that was left was painting the baseboards, a project for the following day.

The next morning I was up early, ready to tackle phase two of the bathroom project, when I was joined by my Bassett hound, Annabelle. She positioned herself between me and the baseboard and no amount of coaxing or treats could persuade her to leave. Praying the entire time that she wouldn’t stand up, I decided to use her as an arm rest, which worked rather well. She did get a little paint on the tip of her tail and one ear, but it didn’t seem to bother either her or the baseboards.

Remember that weekend at the beginning of April, where the sun was out and the temperatures had warmed up? Neither do I, but trust me, it happened, as that was the weekend we painted the living room and halls. My husband was home this weekend, so we tackled the project together.

Our first step was the ceiling. After hours of reaching overhead and countless trips up and down the ladder, I had a crick in my neck and my thighs were crying. Deciding it was time to call it a day, I went to the laundry room to clean our equipment while my husband went to pick up dinner. Little did I know that lurking in my laundry tubs was a hairy spider of epic proportions. Moving carefully, I turned on the water full force, flushing my creepy nemesis down the drain.

The next morning, after coffee and ibuprofen, it was back to work. Breaking out our trusty Purdy brushes, we started edging. And edging. And edging. It’s a big room. Eventually, we finished and got to the quick part, rolling. Easy job, right? For the most part, except for the five or six times I bumped the ceiling with the roller. Back downstairs to get the ceiling paint for touchups. Carefully, I covered up the spots, with all going well until I sneezed! It was back to the wall color again.

A few days after we had everything in order in the living room, spring finally decided to pay an extended visit to Pittsburgh. Seeing signs of green under the leaves and detritus left over from winter, it was time for a few outdoor chores.

Grabbing my rake, clippers, and cart, I started cutting off the dead growth from last year and raking away the leaves. I was making good progress until I raked a big pile of leaves from under the deck, which generated a loud shrieking sound – first from something in the ground, followed a split second later by a shriek from me.

While I don’t remember moving, by this time I was a good 10-15 feet away from where I was originally standing, with a small black critter coming toward me. As someone who detests rodents of all types, this was not a good thing. I kept backing away, but it still kept coming. Gathering what little courage I had, I decided to move toward it, vowing that if it had a long tail, I was going to trap it with my rake.

Getting closer, I was relieved to see just a stub of a tail. Then I noted that its ears seemed rather long for its body and realized I had uncovered a rabbit’s nest. Since the uncovered rabbits were still squealing, the first order of business was to rake a pile of leaves back over them.

But what should I do with my adventurous friend? He was still following me, so I tried to gently “shoo” him back toward the nest with my rake. Once he started moving in the right direction, I backed away and hoped he would make it there safely.

Checking later in the evening, the nest seemed to be intact, but a few days later it was empty. Since there were no signs of foul play, I’m hoping mama rabbit heard about the latest school rankings and moved her babies to Mt. Lebanon!

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