Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Ding-dong, the mural's dead

When we bought our home in January of 2004, we faced some rather unusual repainting issues. Granted, we were sick of living in white-walled apartments, as we'd done for the previous four or so years, but our inclination to paint our new home in bold colors -- an inclination borne largely from our addiction to watching DIY programs on BBC America -- became something of a necessity thanks to the preverse painting proclivities of the property's previous owners.

For instance, one might say that the front room of the house had something of an Egyptian theme going on, if one had no real knowledge of Egypt save having watched that episode of One Step Beyond with the reincarnated pharaoh on a UHF channel many years ago. The walls were a creamy yellow color, and there were what appeared to be pyramids sponge-painted in gold in two corners of the room, except that they looked like something that would have been painted before the discovery of two-point perspective. Where there weren't pyramids, there was more gold sponge-painting for what the people who did it no doubt thought was some sort of texturing effect.

It took a coat of primer and three coats of paint to get rid of the damn things.

Much of the rest of the house featured similarly awful painting -- bizarrely flat and lifeless colors combined with inartful attempts at effects, our job was not helped by the previous owners' apparent inability to spackle holes, remove nails and hooks from walls, or use painters' tape. There's no need to detail them all; suffice it to say that we covered most of them before we moved in, and are making slow but steady progress on what little is left.

Today, for instance, I painted over the Wizard of Oz mural in the basement.

You read that right: Wizard. Oz. Mural. Basement.

One corner of the basement -- the outside wall of the finished part of the basement, which houses our office and our exercise equipment (even that which is not overly vast can contain multitudes, you see) -- featured a strange painting of a nearly surreal tornado against a sloppy, scribbly blue-and-white background, with a street sign depicting the "corner" or Kansas and Oz, a painting of a farmhouse, and random cow stickers scattered around for good measure. I have a sneaking suspicion that the cow stickers came first, and the rest of the mural -- I really hate to use the word, as it implies some level of artistic skill and integrity -- was concocted as an excuse to put the cow stickers on the walls. The whole thing would have been less disturbing, I think, if it had depicted scenes from the HBO series Oz.

In a perfect world, we would have been able to get rid of the damn thing last year. But we had enough other work to do in and around the house that repainting one wall of the basement was bumped way down the priority list. A few weekends ago, however, we acquired some new storage shelving for the basement, and that gave me the excuse I needed to eradicate the bloody atrocity from our wall. I found a tan paint that the previous owners had left behind in the basement, which was a surprisingly pleasant color and, more importantly, nearly exactly matched the existing color of most of the rest of the basement, and one peeling away of the cow stickers and two coats of paint later every trace of the damn mural was gone.

Ding-dong, I say. Ding. Fucking. Dong.

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