In Over My Head? I’m Not Too Proud To Beg!


My guest room was ugly, and I am now into week two of wallpaper stripping — a project for which I had innocently allotted three days.

Well, actually, removing the dark green wallpaper only took a week. And the pink wallpaper underneath it had been almost completely removed at some other point in time. Getting that stuff down was a monumental task.

And, between me and whoever had worked on these walls before me, there are now quite a few gouges in the drywall that was underneath. The whole room needs to be skimmed with drywall “mud” to fill them in.

Oh, and the dated popcorn finish should really be removed from the ceiling. And now that I’ve spent some time in there, that squeaking floor is starting to get to me. I really need to rip up the carpet and see what’s going on.

“Wow, Debbie,” you say. “We didn’t realize you were so darn handy around the house!”

Yeah, well, I’m not.

But I did have the foresight to marry a guy in construction. My big talent lies in cajoling this guy out of the garage, where he has been hiding ever since this miserable task began. He knew from the get-go that it would take forever to get that wallpaper off, that the walls would need “mudding,” that the popcorn should be removed and that the floorboards needed to be screwed in more tightly. He just didn’t tell me.

So I gathered up my courage and opened the garage door a crack. He felt a draft and his spine stiffened.

“Hi, Sweetie,” I timidly began. “Whatcha doin’?”

“Oh, hi,” he cautiously responded. “Just cleaning up my workbench.”

“I thought you cleaned that last week.”

“Um, yeah, well, it was more of a mess than I thought,” he said. I look around the pristine surface and Mark quickly knocked over a jar of nails. “See?”

“Uh-huh. Well, I was wondering if you had any spare time to help me in the guest room.”

A pause. “Did you get in over your head?”

“Oh, no. I’m sure I could finish. It’s just that it has been two weeks now, and I was thinking it might be nice to take a break and bake a cake.”

“A cake?”

“And some cookies, a pan of biscuits and those cheesy things that you like.”

Mark considered this, then heaved a sigh. His shoulders slumped, but he gathered up his tool bucket, the pump sprayer, a sanding pole, five gallons of drywall mud, his screw gun and a ladder.

In what is to be the final round of negotiations, he added, “I had actually just been thinking about your apple pie.”

“…and a pie. Of course. I meant to say pie.”

His footsteps heading toward the guest room were music to my ears. I gathered up my wooden spoon, rolling pin, measuring cups and flour sifter and headed for the pantry.

With him in there and me in the kitchen, I now have high hopes for that room.