the sweat equity challenge all started with a hurricane and peeling textured ceiling paint in the guest room.

The textured ceiling paint was not peeling as a result of Hurricane Irene; no, it was gratis the previous harry homeowner, or maybe two harry homeowners ago. who made a number of sloppy sweat equity decisions back in his ownership days. When my brother Nathan (a professional) was here refinishing my downstairs bathroom, he checked out the peeling ceiling for me, reported that it was the result of the person who applied said textured paint without sanding or priming ahead of time.

“Even you can remove it easily,” he assured me.

Since I mostly keep the guest bedroom door closed though, it was really out of sight, out of mind. But then we were stranded in the house without power, and I needed something to do that didn’t involve electricity. Since I love to peel, be it sunburns, beer bottle labels or old wallpaper, a little light bulb went off in my brain. Surely textured ceiling paint would provide the same satisfaction.

Six hours later, I was barely a third of the way done and it was getting dark. A few more hours the next day did not yield much more progress. I have found oddly that letting the ceiling “rest” helps loosen some of the tougher spots. I’m not done yet, but I am determined to finish it soon. By next weekend. Or next month. At least by the next time I have guests.

All this Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor work got me to thinking, why not take on one project a weekend, no matter how small, between now and Thanksgiving. It isn’t like there’s a shortage of work to be done around my old house. This weekend I was ambitious; the ceiling continues to be peeled during my “breaks” from other activities, namely applying a fresh coat of paint (or three) on the backside of the kitchen door and stairwell that leads to the basement. Other jobs on my personal honey do list: painting the exterior backdoor; replacing some ceiling tiles in the basement; converting the playroom into an office-homework station; power-washing the side of the house; and well, I will stop there or my friends will be scared to come over lest I put them to work.

I could hire someone. But let’s be honest, there is plenty of work on that list too. (I don’t do electrical. Or pipes. Or floors.) So why not test my homeowner skills on this easier set of tasks and realize some immediate progress? After all, I at least can meet my own cost estimates and I guarantee myself I will get the job done in the time I have available.

Break’s over. Back to the ceiling.


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