Getting Through the Layers

One of the positive aspects of moving out of our family home and into this caregiving situation, which I’ve opined about (possibly too much) in past blog posts…. is that we are able to do much-needed repair work with the house empty.

There was a time we thought our best bet would be to demolish it and build anew.  I’m glad we didn’t.

What I’m not glad about is the fear that held me back.  There was so much I dreamt of doing to that house.

For example, since the core of the house is probably close to 120 years old, it doesn’t have modern building materials.  Duh…. you probably figured that out already.

A couple of the rooms have walls of lathe and plaster.  A couple have sheet rock over top something weird.  And a couple are this……

Wood.  Thick, solid planks of wood.  This was an outside wall originally.  Somewhere around the 1930’s an addition was built on the other side which gave us a bathroom, a bedroom and above the bedroom an attic space.

All the years we lived here this wooden wall was covered with ugly, thick paper.  I slapped paint on it a few times.  I dabbled with a vine stencil trying to hide the cracks in the paper.  The roof leaked on it ( a lot).  Eventually the paper sagged and looked hideous-er and hideous-er.

My grandkids were afraid to go upstairs.  So was I.

It’s almost all gone now.  With my trusty box cutter and superific ripping power, I just pulled till it came down.

Ancient dirt dropped in my hair.  It coated my glasses.  I coughed and sneezed for an hour.  And it was so worth it!  (I know… should have worn a mask)

As I got towards the bottom the paper came off in layers.  It was interesting to see what had been hanging around all these years… a thin layer of cloth… almost like cheesecloth, hundreds of tacks holding that in place and then a layer of victorian-ish wall paper.  And then a second layer of wall paper added a decade or two later.  I’m sure the various ladies of the house thought it looked mighty fine at the time.

All these years I was afraid of what we would find.  I was afraid we would create a huge mess and not know how to fix it.  Or maybe… I was just looking for an excuse to be lazy.

All I know is every layer we pull off this house, I uncover another one or two of me.  Like impatience. I’ve battled it my whole life.

And fear.  Paralyzing fear.

So when you’re impatient to move ahead yet paralyzed with fear, what does that get you?  A mess.  Kind of like the one I pulled off the walls.

I just wonder why personal discoveries can’t be something easy like a benign layer of old wall paper?  Anyway……….

This process is painful.  But painful teaches.  If you let it.

This process is scary.  But good scary.

It’s certainly restorative for the house.  And, I pray, for me too.

At any rate, I’m glad we’re down to solid wood.  One son thinks we ought to leave as is.  He says some people like that “rustic” look.  But I’m thinking of those gillions of tacks that would need to be pulled.  The husband thinks it needs to be sheet rocked.  He loves sheet rock.  He thinks everything in the world should be sheet rocked.  He’s a sheet rock maniac.

I’m thinking some nice beadboard would look good… sensitive to the period of the house and easy to install.  I’m all about being sensitive… and when appropriate, easy.

I just hope when we get to the last layer of me it’s solid like that wood.

2 thoughts on “Getting Through the Layers

  1. A great analogy… we must keep peeling away at the layers of junk and bad habits we have accumulated.. like peeling an onion… or in your case wallpaper.. I hope you will uncover the precious gem that is the “you” that you have been all along… just cleaned of the junk.


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