Tuesday, January 09, 2007

my mom is the bomb

Do moms go to Awesome School to learn how to be so amazing? How do they know how to do absolutely everything, from stocking their purses with every conceivable item a child might need to installing ceramic tile? My mom can do anything. Here she is with a scraper removing evil paint from my bathroom.

My mom innocently agreed to come spend Saturday at my house helping me repaint the bathroom. She is a whiz with paint and loves home decorating and fixing-upping, so we thought it would be a fun afternoon together. Little did we suspect, the bathroom walls were some tough customers who were not to be underestimated.

The problem:
Brand new paint job (by previous owner) peeling off the walls. More paint comes off every time we take a shower. We eventually figured out that they had painted flat latex paint onto a shiny plaster wall covered in oil-based paint without preparing the surface properly.

The solutions (there were many tried and discarded):
  1. Scraping it all off with scrapers. Discarded after we realized it might take the rest of our lives.
  2. Sanding it off with a power sander. Discarded from within a fog of toxic dust.
  3. Steaming it off with a wallpaper steamer. Yes! More paint had been peeling off with every shower taken - clearly moisure is not this paint's friend.

First we experimented with my compact portable steamer (heretofore used only for blocking) and found that the paint came off like goopy, stringy, icky globs of wallpaper, revealing a smoooth, shiny painted plaster wall beaneath. So we raced out to the rental store (again) and rented a great big wallpaper steamer. Then we spent the rest of the day steaming, scraping, sweating, cursing, steaming and scraping some more.

mom (left) is even stylish while scraping paint. i look like a ragamuffin, but i'm having a good time.

Then we went out for Thai food. I had the Green Curry Vegetable Tofu.

My mom is not one to walk out in the middle of a project. She is not even one to go home when it's bedtime if there's still work to be done. People, the woman slept on the futon at our house and got up early to help me scrub all the goopy, stringy, icky globs of paint out of the bathroom, and then prime the walls. She really did.

one tiny corner of a tremendously goopy, stringy, icky mess.

Then she really needed to see how the paint was going to look, so she stuck around after lunch and helped me get the first coat of paint onto the wall. Satisfied with the results, she finally headed home late Sunday afternoon after giving her entire weekend and a wealth of home-improvement expertise to my bathroom walls. She is incredible.

The job is just about done; I caulked the tub tile this morning and we'll finally be able to shower again in our own home tomorrow. Once the place is back in order I'll post an "after" picture. Til then, here's a "before" shot of my peely bathroom wall with a wide selection of paint chips tacked up for comparison:



  1. Sooooo, what color did you choose?

  2. Moms are a wonderful thing and yours is truly a glorious thing!
    And I think that the previous owners decided to sell after they finished painting in the bathroom and realized what they had done.

  3. I like the red and the greenish gray chips best.

  4. hi there,
    de-lurking to say hello and i am so enjoying your blog...
    and your mom sounds fabulous! the bathroom looks like it is going to rock in the end.

  5. wow
    your mom

    nothing like
    having to redo
    previous owner's
    to get you
    in the mood
    for homeowning.

    my brother's
    got some stories
    for you...
    can you say

  6. mom is way cool! my mom is like that too. (i shamefully whine, and she comes to my rescue)


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