Big-Name Border Battle

You know those jobs that you figure will take a couple of hours? Tops? Then you can get on with what you really want to do? Like take a walk, or fish, or binge-watch mermaids or spaceships.

Or, hey! I know!

Write some new words already!!!

One of those jobs where that still, small voice in the back of your head nags you and says it's probably not gonna time out the way you think…?

This is one of those times…

We moved into our current home about ten years ago. We're painting the main living spaces for the first time since moving in. We were happy with what the previous owners had picked, so much so that we purchased from them and left much of the décor they had hanging in our new-to-us "Game Room."

This room was at one point a garage, and those owners converted it into livable square footage and wired it for sound—quite literally. Half of the room held a pool table and later swapped that for a ping pong table. Both tables mostly housed clutter or some ongoing project. You know, like a treadmill often turns into a closet of sorts.

The other half of the Game Room boasted an enormous wall of built-in shelves holding archaic video and sound equipment left as a "housewarming" by the previous owners. Surround sound speakers hung high in all the corners, wired to the main system. We didn't use this equipment, and it mostly housed spiders.

We enjoyed most of the art left on the walls—old-time movie prints and artwork of movie reels and old-fashioned popcorn containers. We added our own Marvel and DC movie-themed items. The ceiling was even painted black to absorb extra light for those all-fun movie nights.

We weren't a fan of the wallpaper border, however. Bette Davis, James Cagney, and Rita Haworth depicted on old movie posters. Fred Astaire and Ginger Roberts also adorned this vintage-ish border. In fact, this border, I said, was the first thing we'd change when we moved in. It just wasn't to my taste.

Ten years later, Rita and her cleavage are still hanging all around that black ceiling.

And now it's time to paint since the Adult-ish Male Child moved out and since the hubs would like to change the name of this room from "Game Room" to "Man Cave."

Currently, the walls are dark hunter green and marred beyond reason.

Time for a refresh.

We (the hubs and the lady cats) spent the better part of one evening removing gallery-style wall art hung with screws, nails, sticky tack and who-knows-what-that-was and puttying the holes closed. The felines would stand on the desk or a shelf and stretch along the walls, picking at nails we missed. They were quite the help (insert huge eye roll here).

I removed all the outlet covers—gobs and gobs of outlets. Amara helped with this task. She'd stick her toe beans into the areas around the exposed wall sockets and scoop out loose drywall. I scatted her away with a broom lest she blow her tail off her fanny.

I unscrewed the brackets holding up the speakers. Took wire cutters, prayed these were truly sound system wires and not live electrical wires, held my breath, and snipped the speakers free. Exhaled, glad these were indeed dead speaker wires and not something fishy running to one of those outlets.

I didn't blow myself off the ladder. My cardiac output seems fine. My right eye is twitching, but I'm calling that one a stress reaction to general life circumstances and not electrocution by stupidity.

Time to remove the wallpaper.

Climb the ladder with the putty knife. Nick a corner free, aaannd… nothing. James Cagney gloats.

Try a little harder with the knife. Aaannd… dug a hole into the drywall. Bette Davis blinks those smokey eyes at me. I ignore her. No big deal. I'll putty it later.

Go to the store. Buy fabric softener and a spray bottle. This is supposed to dissolve the glue.

Now the Game Room smells good. Really good. Enough to give Fred Astaire and Ginger Roberts a new kind of high-step to their dance along the rim of the ceiling.

Wait 15 minutes. Climb the ladder with the putty knife. Nick another corner.

Aaannd… nothing. Yet another hole in the wall to putty closed later and a gleaming smirk from Ginger. Nothing can stop this woman.

I soak another dose and wait another 15 and up the ladder again. This time I applied more muscle, earning me an even larger spot to putty. Rita Hayworth has an iron-clad cleavage. She seems quite proud of herself.

Descend the ladder, leave the house covered in fabric softener, blue paint (from the touch-ups I did in the utility room), and teeny-weeny bits of wallpaper. And lots of sweat.

Sherwin-Williams will help me. And they won't judge me for my disheveled appearance.

I spent some money there on a new tool and a new bottle of wallpaper removal solution.

Drive back home. Back up the ladder. Score the wallpaper with my new tool so the new solution will soak through. Spray the border. Again. Wait 15. Again.

Back up the ladder. Again.


Yup. You guessed it.

To-be-puttied spot #3.

I could've fed a small army of toddlers some excellent Happy Meals for what I spent there. Set them loose in the Game Room and let their shrill shrieks peel the wallpaper off the wall. It would've been more effective.

I gave up. The border wins. I do believe this star-studded cast was adhered to that hunter-green wall with Gorilla Glue tainted by whatever they use to hold rocket ships together.

Congrats Rita and Ginger. Congrats Cagney. You too, Bette and Fred. Have the wall. Have the nooks and crannies around the black ceiling. Dance, sing, and act forevermore.

But, you'll be doing it under a layer of beige paint, Sherwin-Williams CC 19 Curio Gray SW0024 to be exact. Eggshell. Paint and primer even.

And for the final performance, you can walk the red carpet under the hub's new golf club or football field or otherwise Man-Cave-appropriate border.

Because it'd take me a hundred years to remove you guys in all your movie star glory.

Because I know when I've been beaten. (I wonder if the movies depicted on the border had anything to do with this — a kind of forewarning: Hard to Handle, Dark Victory… I'm sensing a gang-up-on-Beth theme, now that I think about it.)

At any rate, I certainly know when I'd be better off writing instead of trying to scrape Academy-Award-winning cleavage from my walls.

Thank you for hanging out for a bit. Check back on Mondays for a new blog or revisit older post on my Archive page. Don't forget to come back on the first Monday of every month for a free fictional short, and be sure to visit my Amazon page.