When I was eighteen, I worked at the local AM radio station. When the general manager went on vacation, me and Keith Kaiser (now a local TV morning show personality) did a promo where we pretended to have him locked in a closet. Then we broke out all the laughably awful novelty songs we could find. Classics like The Statler Brothers “You Can’t Have Your Kate and Edith, Too” and Roy Rogers “Ride, Concrete Cowboy, Ride.”
But the absolute best moment was when I played “I’m Gonna Hire a Wino (to Decorate Our Home)” and a woman called in to thank me for playing her and her husband’s song.
I think this reveals much about not just their relationship, but the community where I live. But I digress.
I was thinking about that song for two reasons. First, because I heard it on the radio – an even rarer occurrence now than it was in 1991. Second, because Chris and I are embarking on a home improvement project. I’m not hiring a “wino” as an interior decorator. But after a few days of prep work and demo, I might be tempted to hit the bottle myself. Moving large furniture pieces and pulling up heavy-duty vinyl flooring is no joke, people.
When we bought the Grey Cottage fifteen years ago, the living room, kitchen and hall floors were covered in gross industrial carpet. We pulled it up in the kitchen and hall, and put down “temporary fixes” over the years – including vinyl planks, which we also used to cover the living room carpet.
Now, there are some soft spots in the kitchen floor. Like, “we walk around them so as to not fall through” soft. We figured it might be time to finally deal with the crappy floors. Our kitchen cabinets are cheap pressed wood built to last about 10 years, which have been in the house about 40 years. It’s unlikely they’ll survive major kitchen floor surgery. To be honest, they’re also gross. Doors don’t shut, and drawers fall out on the regular.
So we’re fixing the sub-floor, putting down new bamboo flooring in the kitchen, living room and hall, and installing new kitchen cabinets. When I say “we,” I mean “Chris and I will be doing demo, and someone who can be trusted with power tools will be doing the repairs and installation.” This person, for obvious reasons, will not be a wino. It’s probably going to be a friend from church who does handyman work.
I’m kind of excited about this project, and also kind of exhausted. We’ve been breaking the work into smaller, more manageable chunks. Like moving as much furniture as possible out of the living room and kitchen was one day’s work. Pulling up the vinyl in the living room was one day, wherein we discovered the carpet beneath smelled like sweaty gym socks. The hall was another day, wherein we discovered roll vinyl from the 70s. Purging the fridge and cabinets has been a couple of days. Right now, the house is a disaster, and probably will be for a month.
But – at the end of it, the main living areas of the house will be really nice. It will go a long way towards making our home somewhere we all enjoy being.
Which is, weirdly, also the theme of the song. We’re just doing it without installing neon and a beer tap. 😉 What about you? What’s a project you’re tackling (or thinking of tackling) that makes you both excited and exhausted?