Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wallpaper is the Enemy

When Lenny and I first moved in, as we sipped our celebratory glasses of champagne, we began picking at the horrendous wallpaper on every wall. Most came down easily...until we got to the bedroom. Of course, that and the kitchen were the rooms we had to get in working order before we moved in, so I made the bedroom a priority, while Lenny and his dad worked on remodeling the kitchen.

The bedroom not only had wallpaper WITHOUT sizing on the back, it also had a wallpaper border additionally. Basically, it was hours and hours of picking at little pieces, since none of it came down in chunks.

Once the border and the first major layer was off, we realized the backing of the wallpaper was so stuck on there, it took another few tips around the room, wetting it with fabric softener and water and scraping with a paint scraper to get that off.

As soon as we finished, we realized we had yet another layer to deal with: the glue. Luckily, we had a 24-hour Wal-Mart about 20 minutes away (at this point, it was probably 2 or 3 in the morning). When we got there, we looked for products intended to remove wallpaper glue. We returned home with what was promised to "remove it quickly and effortlessly". Well, after learning many, many times prior that nothing in this house would be quick and effortless, we found the glue remover to be no different.

It was as if the glue was laughing at our attempts.

We called it quits and the next morning, tried again. Basically, I was taking a scraper and getting a few inches of glue removed an hour. Then I began to experiment. Paint thinner, nail polish remover, more fabric softener and water, peanut butter (my husband still doesn't know about that...but I was desperate!). Finally, we moved on to a different project in the house for a few hours.

My husband and I had evolved into energy drink consumers by this stage (we called it Up Juice). He got the bright idea to mix vodka with it that night and brought home our first big handle of vodka for the home. It was a proud moment indeed. When he spilled a little on the table accidentally, I grabbed the wet paper towel from him on a whim and went into the bedroom. Hell, I had tried everything else, why not alcohol?

And, wouldn't you know it, the sucker worked! It loosened the glue enough that it was easier to scrape off.

We called a friend to help us, Lenny went to the store to get handles of cheap, cheap vodka (ahh, memories of college) and three of us went to work spraying the walls with vodka and scraping all night. By the next morning, most of the glue was gone, and I had been up so late, I was scraping bare walls, hallucinating that I was seeing glue we had missed.

Our joke of the night was that we'd always know our walls were "plastered", as we had gone through 2 1/2 handles of cheap vodka.

Now, this would be the time most people would say "why didn't you just buy regular rubbing alcohol"? Well, dear readers, because we knew we'd enjoy telling this story a lot better.

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