Saturday, September 29, 2012

Meanwhile, back at the house . . .

Saturday. Sofa. Coffee.

It's good to be back.  As happens to everyone from time to time, I have had to put much of my normal life aside for several weeks to focus on other things.  It is peaceful to be back on the Saturday morning sofa.  Deer are grazing on the acorns under the huge canopy of the white oak down the hill. A ridiculously bold coyote struck a Rin Tin Tin pose on the hill behind the house.  And a mostly white skunk, with similar hair problems to my own, looking as if he had a pretty rough night, seems perturbed by something as he waddled by the window a couple of times.  I will leave him alone. Even though I suspect he eats my cherry tomatoes. Or perhaps he uses the juice as cologne.

There is much to be done.  I have absolutely ignored house maintenance for a couple of months. This requires a deep clean.  When I moved into this house, there were some things I didn't do.  One of them was removing the layers of old contact paper lining the shelves of the kitchen cabinets.  When I moved in I tore off  small pieces which came off easily, but left the rest.  I was satisfied with just covering it up with rubber mesh liner.  It looked fine.  But every time I opened the cabinet doors to get a glass or a bottle of olive oil, the shelf never seemed clean, even though it looked good. So, last night I decided to go deep. Take everything out of the shelves.  Remove the rubber mesh shelf liner.  Remove the old, nasty, glued on generations of cover-ups. Get it back down to the bare wood shelf. Then I would know it was clean.

The kitchen was a wreck before I started.  But now it qualifies for an EPA Superfund cleanup.  Everything has been removed from the shadows of the cabinets and is stacked on the counters, the floor, and even extending to the few empty spaces on the den coffee and end tables.

I knew the task would be daunting.  The covering that had been in place that long would not give up easily  So last night I perused the shelves of the local building supply for something to make the removal easier.  I bought a bottle of blue goo that made bold claims about easy removal.  It also warned me that it might remove my own skin if I was not careful.

First thing this morning I slapped some of the goo on a portion of the old shelf liner and waited as instructed. With great anticipation I dug my fingernails into the side of the covering and pulled. A micro-sliver of the blue speckled paper ripped away.  I tried again, with a knife.   Another sliver.  And both slivers left another layer of glue and covering underneath.  I tried again, this time scraping. Nothing.  The blue goo was not going to work.

Then I remembered what I forgot.  I had used heat to remove wall paper, so maybe that would work on the shelf liner.  Brandishing the hair dryer like Marshall Matt Dillon on the hunt, I drew down on that crusty old paper. For  a moment I tried to remember if the blue goo had mentioned anything about being flammable, but then I thought, what the hey, the worst that could happen is that the dadgum liner burns off.

Holding my blazing heat gun in one hand, I searched for an edge with my other hand, digging my thumbnail around the edge.  Eureka.  It began to come up.  In large sheets.  I kept applying the heat, sometimes having to linger over the places that the covering hung particularly tough.

Thirty minutes later, the nasty layers of shelf liner were gone, wadded up and tossed at the trash can across the room.  String music.

The shelving wood is completely bare. Now it can really be cleaned  up.

Like the Refiner's Fire or Aroldis Chapman, sometimes the only thing one can do  is bring the heat.

Now to clean up this mess.

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