When Alan started work in Detroit and I was back in Fort Wayne getting us ready to move, I became enamored of a show called “Sell This House,” in which a reliable supply of clueless would-be home sellers learn — yes, learn — that before you put a house on the market it’s a good idea to remove your 500-piece teddy-bear collection from the dining room and maybe dust a bit. The usual professionals with mystifying job titles (“staging expert”) give them tips on how to do quick-n-dirty spruce-ups that will get their house sold.
Alan came home for weekends that month, and I tried to get him interested. He found it unbearable. He has bottomless contempt for quick-n-dirty, at least when it comes to home improvements. “They’re PAINTING WALLPAPER?” he moaned, five minutes into the first episode, just before stalking out of the room. I’m sure he’d support a bill that would sentence wallpaper-painters to lengthy prison terms.
So this week we’re working on my office, formerly the baby’s room. Yesterday the peaceable-kingdom wallpaper border bit the dust, and yes, as per our luck in all wallpaper matters, it was seemingly affixed with superglue. Then he set to work on the outlets, which had never, ever been removed for painting, at least not in the last 15 years. You want to see what drives Alan up the wall? Look at this specimen, clotted with layer after layer of very un-Alan-like workmanship. His lip curls with contempt. There’s just no substitute for doing it right the first time, is there?
P.S. When he dismantled the existing shelving system in the garage and found that, paradoxically, he was actually able to store more stuff without shelves than he was with them, he said, “I suspect this was the work of a General Motors engineer.” No idea, so no comment.