The Money Pit. Part 4. Miguel.

*This is an ongoing post. To read it from the beginning read The Money Pit Parts 1-3.

With the flooring guys finally out of my house and the toilet and sink safely tucked away in the garage, I decided to take cranky Warren’s advice and get the horrendous gold and burgundy striped, elephant decorated wallpaper off my bathroom walls. I just couldn’t look at it one more day. I kind of felt guilty being so happy about it as the previous owner told me this was one of her favorite rooms in the house and left us the elephant trash can and matching tissue holder.

I went to Lowes and got all the items needed. Wallpaper stripper. Which is a gooey blue substance which I’m pretty sure is toxic and is most likely highly flammable. Which considering I like to play with fire is just asking for trouble. I also got a wallpaper scraper and hole maker. Yes, I’m pretty sure these are the technical terms for these items. The hole maker you use first. You lay it flat on the wall and put your hand on top of a round head. Under the head is a bunch of tiny points on circular type wheels. You place the wheel side on the wall and roll it across the paper. Okay done. Now spray goo. Check. Then comes the scraper. The scraper has a flat metal edge on one side and a large blue handle on the other. You place the metal edge on the wall and in theory the wallpaper should come right up. In theory…

As usual I had not fully disclosed my intentions to Poptart. Sometimes I think it’s just better for his heart if he’s not privy to exactly everything I’m up to. Not to mention, I like to surprise him with things. It keeps the relationship fresh.

So into the bathroom I go. I lay my tarp on the floor so as not to touch my new perfect floors. I made the holes, sprayed the goo and scraped the walls. Well it worked! For the first layer of wall paper that is. What the hell is this? Another layer of wallpaper? Why? Who are these people? This layer of wallpaper is almost as ugly as the last layer. Fine. Holes, goo, scrapper. And….it’s not really coming off. It’s coming off in some places, but it’s like my birthday in the bathroom, and the gifts keep coming. “Is that another layer of wallpaper?” I yell at the walls. “Nooo! Please tell me this is not really happening!” This was supposed to be an easy job. Home improvement was supposed to be fun. This sucked. I was covered in sweat and goo and now I had to go get Mini-me from school. I looked at the bathroom and said, “I’m so not done with you,” gave it a dirty looked and went to get my daughter.

My husband came home later that night, saw what I had done to the bathroom and shut the bathroom door. He then just walked into the bedroom to change out of his work clothes, grabbed a beer, sat down on the couch and proceeded to watch TV. “Did you see what I’m doing to the bathroom? It’s going to look so good!” I told him.
“Whatever you think is good, babe,” he said.

Another day came and I went back into the bathroom of doom more determined than ever. This shit is coming down if it kills me. Holes, goo, scrape, holes, goo, scrape. HOLES, GOO, SCRAPE! I can’t take it anymore!! Under the three layers of wallpaper is drywall. Not only am I not making progress with the bottom two layers of wallpaper, but I’m ripping off drywall as well. I am messing this bathroom up so bad. I would like to say that I could do this myself but I had to come to the realization that if I kept going I was going to do some serious damage to the walls. Admitting defeat, something I hate to do, I went online to a site that matches you with a contractor. It’s kind of like an online dating site for homeowners. I put in my stats. Stacy: 39 years old. 5’10, with long red hair. Likes naps, reading, and long walks on the beach. Dislikes: Wallpaper. Please help.

It didn’t take long before I got one response. One? That’s it? I didn’t get pics or anything. No options, just one guy. Miguel. Okay, so Miguel it is. I call Miguel and he comes over and checks out the bathroom. “I’ll do it for $350,” he said.
“Done,” I said. $350 was totally worth it at this point. Warren the plumber had been calling me and needed to put the toilet and sink back in or he couldn’t get paid. Warren needed his money and I no longer wanted to be covered in goo. Miguel was our only hope.

Miguel started the next day. He came in, laid paper down on the hardwoods and taped it down. He went into that bathroom and bitch-slapped it! By the end of the day Miguel had gotten all the wallpaper down. All 17 layers. I don’t know how he did it but I think there was witchcraft and some sort of animal sacrifice involved. I’ve been missing a cat ever since. Fine with me. I never really liked that cat anyway.

Miguel and I had become buddies like the flooring guys and I had. He had me pick out the paint. I chose a light mustard yellow. He put on the first coat, and then I made him lunch and we watched baseball together (I hate baseball) while the first coat dried. He then went back in for the second coat.

While the second coat was drying I took Miguel into the dining room to give me an estimate to de-paper that room. The dining room wallpaper made the bathroom wallpaper look good. It’s almost black with gold painted pears and grapes on it. It’s hideous. Our first day in the house, Poptart had sent me over to wait for the cable guy while he helped the movers load the truck. I was here for hours with nothing to do and boredom is never a good thing as far as I’m concerned. It didn’t take very long before I started picking at the wallpaper in the dining room and just like the bathroom the first couple of strips came down easy. Then I ran into some snags. Now it looks like interpretive art has taken over the dining room. The paper is ripped off in places and it looks like some psychotic woman went crazy and…wait, no, that’s not how the story goes. It looks like a beautiful princess came in and tried to free the walls from the evil wallpaper that was holding it captive. Yeah, I like that story much better. So Miguel looked at the half torn up wallpaper in the dining room and gave me a quote of $1,500. Whoa Miguel! That’s quite a price increase. I thought we were homies! I told him that at that price, the dining room was going to have to wait.

The second layer of paint was almost dry in the bathroom, and all that was left was to put the light fixture back in and we were ready to part ways. I hated the light fixture that was in the bathroom before. It was a gold monstrosity. Good lord, who decorated this house? Everything is gold! Everywhere you look gold, gold, and more gold. Looks like Liberace and Donald Trump put on blindfolds and just went for it. So I had gone to Lowes and had gotten a new bronze light fixture. Miguel went back into the bathroom, installed the light fixture, collected his check and was on his way.

I stood at the door a minute and reminisced about my time with Miguel. I was going to miss him. I went into the bathroom to look at my beautiful new room, and that’s when I noticed that Miguel had installed my light fixture upside down. I called Miguel but he told me he couldn’t fix it until the paint was dry. He suggested that he fix it when he came to do the dining room. Nice try. I asked him if he could come back the next day and he said he would try but he had another job to do and he would get back to me.

I went back into my new bathroom and then noticed that Miguel had left some spots on the wall that needed to be touched up. Great. Since I can’t get Miguel to commit, I’ll do it myself. So where’s my paint? Miguel! I called him again and he let it go to voice mail. I left him a message, “Miguel, you took the paint. I’ll make you a deal. If you come back and give me my paint and put my light fixture in the right way I’ll give you another $20. In cash.” He immediately called me back, “I’ll be there.”

He was. Miguel was gracious enough to return the next day with the paint that I had bought, and he re-installed the light fixture that he had screwed up in the first place. Miguel, if you are reading this, you are a dumbass. We have a TON of work that needs to be done around here, and we would have gladly hired you to do it. But you stole my paint. You screwed up my lights. And you took the $20.00. I officially hate you. And I want my sandwich back.

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