Bird and I spent the long weekend renovating the master bedroom. The project is a huge undertaking and will not be completed until this coming weekend, but man has it been worth it! Not only are we thrilled with our fresh space, I have learned a ton about home improvement and am left feeling powerful, and a little stiff in the joints.
Usually during home improvement projects I assist Bird by handing a tool, holding a board in place or painting. I’m not particularly handy and after a lifetime of being cautioned about the risk of impalement, slicing ones finger off or whacking your hand with a hammer I’m less than inclined to wield a tool. This time, though, Bird had a ton of math to attend to. The deal was that he would help with things I physically could not do easily (such as paint a ceiling – why should I balance on a ladder when he can stand on the ground and just reach up?) and I would do everything else. Feeling particularly powerful after my past few months I agreed.
During one of our six or so trips to the home improvement store Bird picked up a $14 tool and announced, “I’m going to get this, too.”
“Bird, we are on a budget. And you have a million tools at home. This $4 tool will do just as good of a job.”
“But I don’t have this tool and it is all about having the right tool for the project.”
“Honestly, I just don’t buy that. I think it is kind of like when I say the right shoes really make an outfit. Chances are my other black pumps would do just as good a job. All it boils down to is that I WANT another pair.”
Bird scoffed knowingly and added the tool to our pile saying that I would change my mind once I met this particular tool. I agreed and we shook on it.
Repairing the ceiling, patching the walls and painting both was accomplished with little fanfare on Day One. Bird and I tackled the project together and actually had a tremendously fun time. He took care of the high stuff, I did the low stuff and we would meet in the middle. To celebrate we dined at our favorite dive bar, Al’s, and each had a burger, split a basket of onion rings and sweet potato fries and washed it all down with a few stout brews from the tap. Ah, a successful day and a successful date night.
On Day Two Bird took about 30 minutes to set me up for carpet removal. I got all suited up in knee pads, a respirator, safety goggles and special gloves as the carpet was not just disgusting looking, it was FULL of dust, dirt and other irritants that could have landed me back in the hospital with an asthma attack, or worse with a nail stuck in my knee (fulfilling my mother’s prophecy from so many years ago). Bird took the first corner out, showing me how it was done and explaining how to use the tools. Then I tackled the rest.
Rip carpet piece up; hack at carpet with a knife; roll and duck tape piece into a small section the garbage men could manage; remove and roll disgusting carpet pad; pull up the zillion staples that secured the pad; pry off and dispose of the tack strips; and repeat. It was EXHAUSTING work. I was fueled, however, by a new sense of strength and power every time another nasty piece of carpet was cut loose, another staple pinged up or another tack strip was whammied off my new wood floor.
Midway into the job I sheepishly crept into Bird’s office and announced in a voice that was greatly muffled by the respirator, “I love this tool.” Turns out the $14 tool he purchased to pry off the tack strips and remove stubborn nails and staples was truly the perfect tool. It made my work easier, faster and more satisfying. Had Small Belle been wielding a full-sized crow bar the entire event could have been unpleasant. This little tool made the entire job better.
“This,” I said, “Really is the perfect tool. You win.”
Bird beamed like I would expect a proud parent to beam when their child is accepted to an ivy league school. “You remember that next time I buy a tool!”
Photos of the completed project along with more notes on our adventures in home improvement will follow after the finishing touches are completed this weekend.