An employee of a small town "liberry" chronicles his quest to remain sane while dealing with patrons who could star in a short-lived David Lynch television series.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Once and Future Assholity

If you're a homeowner, you're more than likely an asshole. Or, you will become an asshole as soon as your home passes into the ownership of someone else.

Let me back up.

The wife and I have more or less finished up the painting project we embarked upon on a whim last week. In fact, we were so happy with the results that the project expanded in scope and we have now extended the color from below the chair rail of the living room, into the foyer and all the way down our main hallway. So now much of the house looks really nice and warm and Autumnal in a way that the coat of white paint that we're pretty sure was slapped on by a team of color-blind rhesus monkeys, hired by one of the previous sets of owners, working in the dark, and applied using only one-quarter monkey-ass-power, did not.

Yes indeedy, we have long since considered the previous owners of this home to be assholes for a variety of good reasons, but seeing the truly incompetent paint job they left behind convinced us of their assholity. It was clearly done very quickly with little attention to detail and an obvious lack of care. It's the kind of thing you expect from a couple of people who know they're only going to be in a home for a limited time--say, a year--and just want to put a good whitewash on the whole thing so some rube might be fooled long enough to buy it. If only they'd also managed to whitewash the horrid shade of salmon they threw up with even less care in the master bath. (I also take deep issue with the vanity top that's nearly an inch too wide for the hall bathroom, which forced some previous asshole owner to sawsall a long slot into the drywall in order to wedge it in anyway, when a lot of time, effort and putty could have been saved had someone first thought to MEASURE THE EFFING ROOM! But I digress...)

The trouble with crying asshole at someone else, though, is that it's very easy to do during the painting job itself, when you are first noticing all the unforgivable flaws in the previous guy's work. Yep, when you're down at the baseboard seeing all the places where previous painters have spilled white paint onto the wood, or allowed thick drips of paint to travel down the length of a wall and dry, or left fragments of painter's tape behind, it's real easy to cry "asshole." It is also very easy to continue crying asshole during the cleanup process, when noticing the white paint splotches that appear beneath your own painters tape, which you'll have to scrape off, etc.

When it becomes a problem to cry asshole is that after putting in an entire weekend to paint a coat of pumpkinish colored paint across much of your interior wall surface, you look around at the kind of flaws in the previous painters' work and realize how closely they resemble the left over flaws in your own, such as the splotches of pumpkin on the white hall ceiling. Magnifying this realization is the fact that the flaws in your work are not limited to the current painting project, but to all painting projects past, such as those forest green splotches accidentally rollered onto the white ceiling of the bedroom that you fully intended to paint over with a bit of primer back in April.

That's when you realize that there's a real long half-life to not only most home-improvement accidents, but also to the good intentions people have at fixing them. After so many days, weeks and months go by, you look around and realize that no one has died because you never went back and touched up your mistakes and furthermore no one has noticed. In fact, you'd really have be looking for mistakes before you'd notice most of it. And who does that?

Now that I've realized I'm the asshole, it's become my resolution of the week to repair my future reputation with our home's future owners, and go around and fix all my crappy work.

And I'm gonna use my whole ass, this time.