My last post was an attempt to be upbeat about a very grim subject. That was Sept. 6, and on Sept. 13, Gil died. I did go right down to the water and help push the boat off. I said to him, “I’m sorry to see you go, but many people love you, and God is with you.” Gil’s right eyelid twitched and I saw just a little eye. Minutes later, Gil’s boat had pushed off to the next dimension. Later that day, I remembered how, when Gil would do something just a little more outrageous than usual, he would catch you looking at him. Then his eyes would literally twinkle—how I loved that twinkle in his eye—and he would say, “Well, I’m a Gemini, and you’re just seeing a little bit of that hidden side of me!” I think I still saw a little of that twinkle in his eye the last time we communicated on this earth.
Death is a non sequitur, why should this blog be any different? So now I am going to talk about geriatric rehab, continuing my imitation of Tim Allen in his golden years from my blog, Of Course It’s Boring, Idiot, under the category Home Improvement. We’ve been getting ready for a major bathroom upgrade here. The contractor starts ripping everything that leaks (the bathtub, the shower, the sink, the toilet) on Sept. 28. Not a lot of time is left to rearrange things so that we can still function (heh) while banned from the only full bath on the premises for well over a month.
One of the many things I have been occupying myself with lately is how to convert the 2nd floor laundry room into a temporary (and totally inadequate) substitute for the bathroom. One idea I had was to move the old vanity into the laundry room and connect up the sink: voila, temporary water on the second floor. So now, wandering off into the non sequiturus topic for this entry, this old (1895) house was rehabbed by people with some very peculiar taste. One of their very favorite colors was rotting salmon puke. It was in almost every room of the house, and was what led me, earlier this year, to completely repaint, recarpet, and redrape the 2nd floor rec room. Angels sang in heaven when those curtains came down and the new paint went up.
Another favorite decorating device of our former owners was to glue fabric to the walls. Usually they chose very, very large flowers. Pink and blue was a commonly recurring color scheme. Here, look at the picture, you can see that the thickly scattered mums in the picture are of that nature. I’ll give you a moment to regain your composure. . . . Now bear in mind that the entire walls of this small laundry room have been covered with these showy, overbearing, what other words, let’s see, garish, hideous, flowers. You may be wondering why we have lived here for the last 10 plus years without redecorating the laundry room.
Well, the answer is simple. Two old guys in a 2800 square feet house over a hundred years old. There are quite a few projects that can occupy one’s time. However—and HERE is one of the two topics, even morals, of this blog entry—these tidbits of tastelessness were left untouched because I STUPIDLY ASSUMED THEY WOULD BE EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO REMOVE. And, actually, perhaps it wasn’t so stupid to assume that, because when I did take the hideous polynesian wallpaper off of the rec room walls a few months ago, I worked like the devil for days. I had to scrub every square inch of that wall hard to remove the paste.
However, yesterday, when I was inspecting the cabinet in the laundry room, I happened to notice that an edge of the fabric had started to come up at one of the seams, and when I pulled on it, more came up fairly easily. I thought to myself, perhaps this is not going to be as hard to remove as the stuff in the rec room. Today, I had a pleasant surprise waiting for me. Not only was the fabric easier to pull up, it just pulled right off with very little effort. It didn’t even tear, or tear off the surface of the wallboard. I got out the ladder, and stripped a whole wall off in less than 20 minutes. Of course, I had to take the electric plates off, and that slowed me down a bit. Well, here, take a look. The wall you are looking at in the top picture—here is what it looked like less than two minutes later.
And here is what the wall looked like after another minute. What I thought was going to be a painful, backbreaking job taking days of work was accomplished in half an hour. I didn’t even break a sweat. (But I did treat Stephen and me to a Ted Drewes in the middle of the afternoon.) So we have been reminded once again of a good lesson. Some rehab jobs are hard, some are not so easy, and some, well, like water off a duck’s back. It’s also worth remembering this. I had considered adding this job to my contractor’s list. I didn’t, but one time a contractor charged me $300 for spreading some rocks under my deck. As I later found out, HE subcontracted to an old guy for $75 and pocketed the other $225. Whaaa!! Never again. I hope.
And what of Gil? Gil sure kept things on a lighter note, other than the fact that notes were almost his whole life. No one loved opera more than Gil, and he gave over 40 years of his life to a career in music teaching. But in his life, Gil was light. He liked having fun, and when things turned sour, he wasted no time in moving on. All during his sickness this year, whenever he got a phone call in the hospital, and people asked him how he was doing, he ALWAYS said, “I’m fine.” Even said it in a matter of fact tone of voice. He really trusted the med folks to give him the very best treatment, and by and large, they did. And when he finally knew that life was ending for him, he got busy and moved on.
I love you, Gil, hopefully, forever. And now, I’m moving on.