Joe and I looked at each other. "Money pit?"
"You know," said the handyman. "Keep throwing money into it, it disappears, requiring you to throw in more money."
"Well...no." said Joe, starting in on his explanation of how the house was actually in pretty good shape, but that we just wanted a couple of big, mostly cosmetic things done before we moved all the furniture in, etcetera etcetera.
I cut in. "It's not a money pit," I told him ominously. "Yet."
We're getting some stuff done on the new house in advance of our move day. We're moving in about a week and a half, and let's be clear, nothing needs to be done. The house is move-in ready. But there are a few things that we'd like to get done, and these things are much easier to do when the house is still empty. Mainly, we wanted to re-carpet the upstairs bedrooms and paint a few walls. But before we could paint, we'd have to take off approximately a mile's worth of full wall mirrors.
The famed homework room, of course. Now, I hesitated to post this up, because inevitably, some subset of you guys are going to start protesting, why did you take off the mirrors, the mirrors looked good, they reflected the light, made the room look bigger, you could turn your living room into a Jazzercise studio, and so on. So let me just say a few things to start.
1.) The mirrors were everywhere. In every room. Full wall mirrors. We're not even taking them all off, just the ones in the more heavily trafficked rooms. Because...
2.) We have two kids. Two young kids. The kids are boys. They like to touch things. I don't want to spend the rest of my life following them around the house with a bottle of Windex. I think it's because I wear glasses that I am particular about this. I'm not an especially finicky housekeeper in general (as anyone who has ever been to our house can clearly attest) but there's something about smudgy glass that I just cannot abide.
3.) It did reflect the light, and probably made the rooms look bigger, because, you know, OPTICS, but the way the mirrors looked (there were beveled frames and whatnot) made the rooms appear incredibly dated. They were put up in the 1980s and they look every year of it.
4.) THEY'RE ALREADY OFF. Nothing I can do about that now! And if I start second guessing this decision now I will probably start getting depressed and no one wants that, right? RIGHT? (Right.)
The thing is, there comes a point in every project where you get a sinking feeling in your gut that, oh shit, I just made things worse. The handyman himself said that there are certain projects that people should not see the middle of, and oh man, this was one of these projects. Because we took a fairly pristine house and turned it into this:
A paradise of gouged drywall, tar-like glue globs, and exposed wiring. Just to get rid of some mirrors. Did I mention that we were trying to make this a more kid-friendly house? How many times did I think to myself today, well, hell, maybe we should have just kept the mirrors? One billion times. Well, one billion and one, now.
But no matter. As of today, the mirrors in the dining room, the stairs, and the homework room are all gone. Onward and upward. Drywall may need to be replaced in the homework room and on the stairs (some damage underneath, and the installers got a little overzealous with the black glue globs--particularly a problem when you need a smooth surface on which to apply chalkboard paint), but we took the plunge, and now for steps 2 through 10. And unlike in the other two areas, the mirror wall in the dining room actually looked pretty decent underneath, and should probably be ready to be painted sooner rather than later, once the drywall is patched and sanded.
Money pit indeed.
<--- Designanted pimp space --->
Hi! Again! Still here? OK, good. So, there's a new event I put on the calendar. I've been invited to take part in a lecture series this May sponsored by the Literary Center at Margaret Mitchell House. (Margaret Mitchell is, of course, the author of "Gone With The Wind," and if you lived in Atlanta YOU'D DEFINITELY KNOW THAT.) The event is going to be held at the Atlanta History Center, which looks like pretty swank digs, so you should come and we'll talk and eat some finger sandwiches and it will be super-fun. Nothing is more fun than finger sandwiches. Made with HUMAN FINGERS.
I will be adding to my events calendar both on this blog and on my book webpage, so check there again if you can't be with us in the ATL May 19th, hopefully I'll have some other events in other cities to add later.