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  Texas : Features : Columns : "The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"

Giiiii-Cher Popcorn

by Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal

Well, I have decided that all my present woes and worries can be attributed to one thing. Television. Specifically, all those stupid, stupid decorating shows. I am done with them. Done, I tell you. First off, I blame the current difficulties many of us have had selling our homes on the D.S. (Decorating Shows) phenom. We were lucky and our house sold quickly. But oh my goodness, you should have heard the after the open house critiques Ė no master suite, no deck, no bedrooms on the first floor, small bathrooms, no spa, neighbors too close, school across the street.

After the first open house and the first round of comments I felt like putting notes up. "This house was built in 1937. They thought a bath and a half was fancy enough. They never heard of spa tubs." "You want a deck, build one." "The neighbors are nice. Itís okay that theyíre close." "Whatís the matter? Do you hate children? What else do you hate? America? God?" "The bed does not go with the house. Get off of it!"

Our real estate agent thought my note idea was . . . not necessary. And he said I couldnít hang around and pretend to be a prospective buyer either. Not me and not my sister. He couldnít stop me from parking the car in the school parking lot across the street and critiquing the potential buyers Ė if he knew I was doing it, he didnít mention it. But that phase of our life is over. The house, Our House, is sold and there are strangers living in it now. They are probably busy painting the woodwork and feeding the koi Fritos. But I donít care. Iím over it. Completely.

The next reason I hate the D.S. is because every episode they show happy, healthy, apparently well adjusted people hemming curtains, whipping up day bed covers from cloth they wove by hand and blithely and tirelessly painting room after room after room a glorious spectrum of colors. Tra-la-la! They make it look quick, easy and effortless.

In the week that we have been here at the new house I have personally toted one million and three pounds of books, packed and unpacked and re-packed and bagged and stored and donated. My hands are permanently gray from the newsprint which has permeated the poor pores of my paws (tee-hee). And I have painted. Exactly two rooms. I was supposed to do room number three today but I just could not bear the idea. It is not the walls that are my problem, not the thing which has nearly crippled me. It is the "popcorn ceilings." Do they ever mention that on those shows? Except to say to take it off.

I decided not to take it off because I have almost more mess than I can deal with right now. If someone so much as drops a Kleenex I will go screaming right over the edge. The first room I painted and painted and painted. There are two gallons of paint on that ceiling and a great deal of it was applied with a brush in little bitty gentle daubs, which was the only way I could figure out how to do it without losing great swaths of sticky wet popcorn.

I went to work the next day and, of course, whined and whined and whined about the terrible time I had with the first ceiling. After eleven and a half hours one of my patientsí visitors said, "For heavenís sake! Shut up! You have to paint it in one direction! Now go away!"

I finished up my work days and by the time my next day off rolled around I was once again able to raise my arms above my shoulders and felt ready to tackle the next room. But tell me, have any of you tried to paint going in one direction? Itís awful. Itís not natural. It is analogous to a grizzly bear walking on itís hind legs. In stilettos. And it doesnít actually mean that the popcorn wonít come off. Evidently.

So, today I took the day off from painting. I have another day off this weekend and maybe by then I will be ready to go on. The whole house you see, every single room, has popcorn ceilings. Miles and miles of them. Why donít I just buy a sprayer? Because buying a sprayer, at this point, would be just like giving up. And THAT I wonít do.


© Elizabeth Bussey Sowdal
"The Girl Detective's Theory of Everything"
January 28, 2008 Column

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