A girl’s best friend is her contractor

We just had half a dozen windows replaced in our home, not with replacement windows where all they have to do is pop out the sash, but with new construction windows. Some of the sills were rotting so we had no choice. As long as we were at it, we decided to add a window where there never had been one before, to get a cross breeze upstairs.

The work was well along when I said something to Bob, the master carpenter, about spackling and painting the inside trim. He looked at me like I was bit dim and said, “I don’t do that.” Really, I thought, then who does? Apparently the homeowner, that’s who. Andrew shrugged and allowed as how we probably should do it ourselves. I interpreted we to mean him. Little did I know that we would turn out to mean me. (I’m not suggesting that Andrew deliberately planned a work trip so that I would be left dealing with the contractors and the questions, and the spackling and the painting, I’m just saying…)

The contractors came and went for two weeks. Other jobs would interrupt ours; it rained, making outside work difficult; there was a crisis at Bob’s own house that needed addressing. Meanwhile, the inside of my house was a mess; furniture pulled into the middle of the room, artwork leaning on walls instead of hanging on them, tape on the windows, beach towels hanging where blinds used to be. I wanted my house back, so I went to work.

When Bob showed up, I’d report with pride what I’d accomplished the day (or night) before. “Look Bob, I spackled under that window where there were big holes in the wallboard.” He gave me a thumb’s up.

Another day, “I primed the sills, but they look kind of streaky.”

“Not a problem with primer,” he said, “but watch it with the finish coat.”

I pulled the tape off a window, it pulled off some paint. I confessed that to Bob and he said, “You left it on too long. You know you’re not supposed to do that.” How was I supposed to know that? Does everyone know that? Who told them? He said, “Here, let me show you a trick.” He ripped off a long piece of tape, pressed the sticky side against his sweatshirt, and pulled it off again. “There,” he said. “Now this tape is ready to use. It’ll hold, but it won’t pull off paint.” I had so much to learn.

When I finally waved good-bye to the trailer that had been parked in my driveway, I felt sad. There’s something addictive about having work done on the house. Maybe that’s because the crew kept pointing out things that weren’t quite right, that might be trouble spots in the future, but whatever the reason, I’m going to miss having them around. Andrew has been talking about moving the door in the family room. I thought that was crazy talk, but now I’m not sure. And I have plenty of spackle left.


8 responses to “A girl’s best friend is her contractor

  1. Next thing, you’ll have your own show on HGTV!

  2. Well, I learned something useful–the tape-on-the-sweatshirt-trick. Never thought of that one. Actually, I always remove the masking tape immediately after painting. That way you find out right away where the paint seeped through and you can clean up the mess.
    Where do you learn this stuff? By chatting up folks who know, for one. And by trial-and-error (often messy), and by reading books on the subject, amazingly enough. I have a great book on furniture refinishing that I still refer to, even though it’s a bit out of date.

  3. Sorry Andrew abandoned you to the spackling, but it was lovely to see him last night in Berkeley! Hurrah for companies with offices in the San Francisco Bay Area! I get to see so many old friends!

  4. A back-up career possibility if the novel takes longer than planned. You could be an indentured servant in my furniture business.

  5. Can’t wait to hear about you putting up a ceiling or laying a tile floor! Go Judy workerman!

  6. I never knew that about putting the tape on your sweatshirt before on the window. Thank you for that tip. We are just about to venture into the window replacement realm.

    Popped over from Theresa’s Halloween Haunting. Delighted to make your acquaintance.

  7. Hey! Found you from Theresa’s haunting. I painted all of the trim in our old house before we moved. Never did the tape on the sweatshirt, but I did learn EXACTLY when to remove the tape so it wouldn’t stick to the paint. It is addictive to have your house worked on. I love it! =D

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