“There is No Such Thing as A Wallpaper Steamer”

My husband and I got married, then we promptly moved into a house together. It was a cute ranch style house with a fantastic back yard. Ok, the house looked like a military barracks, but it was all we could afford. The backyard was till great though.

It had a crawl space under the house that reminded me of every horror movie I had ever seen, which is not many because I am a pansy. I have never understood why people pay money to see movies that scare you. I would do it for free.

The house was a sturdy brick house. Though, I kept waiting for the house to whisper, “get out”, like in the movie Amityville Horror! (Side note, if my house even said it once, I would leave without packing!) All you would see was the back of my head as I raced to my car!

Did you ever notice that all those “who killed um’” shows always involved a basement or a crawl space? This did not escape my attention. My current house has neither of them for a reason.

As the house was old, we needed to update the inside. We painted some rooms, which almost cost us a divorce, due to my husband’s behavior. He had neglected to tell me how much he disliked painting until we were half way through the project. Could he have mentioned this before we started?

One day during the painting, I got so mad that I threw down my paint brush and stomped out to the driveway “for some air.”

After a while, my husband came out to find me in the driveway to make sure that I had not left the premises.

He sees me sitting on the drive, my knees pulled to my chest with arms wrapped around my legs rocking back and forth like a mental patient off their medication.

I was seething mad. I sat there plotting his demise and deciding where to bury him in the crawl space when I was done. There was not a lot of room so I would need to be precise in the burial location. This would require thoughtful planning.

He approaches me with a nonchalant-type attitude of, “I am not being an a*hole” and tries to joke me out of the last three hours of his crappy demeanor. No joy, I was not going for it. Suffice to say, the “new car smell” of being newly married had worn off that day.

He has the audacity to ask me if I am mad at him. Really? What gave it away? I was actually thinking of which size shovel I needed to use to dig a big enough hole to bury him without getting caught.

As I calmed myself and was updated by my husband that he did not like to paint, I decided he could live another day.

We did finish painting, but decided that the hideous wallpaper in the rather large laundry room had to go! It looked like “little old lady with 10 cats” kind of wall paper. You know what I’m saying! It was white with various flowers and peeling in the corners. It does not help that I am not a fan of wallpaper.

So on a Saturday morning, bright and early, we decided to tackle the wallpaper. And so, it begins!

I have mentioned that our house was old. Circa 1799 or so, this is just an estimate. So, the method of installing wallpaper probably involved limited technology and skill.

We joyfully began removing the wallpaper by hand. Um, do not try this at your home. We got some wallpaper off, but it also brought the dry wall with it! After the previous painting escapade, I knew my husband would not be down for dry wall work without WWII starting again. So, I convinced him that we needed to stop tearing down the wallpaper until we found a better method.

I get on the handy, dandy Internet to see what options we had besides a contractor. I discovered that there was a machine called a “wallpaper steamer” that would loosen the glue behind the wallpaper. This would allow you to easily remove the wallpaper and spare the dry wall. Why did I not think to do this sooner? Duh?

In my new-found relief and joy, I called Home Depot tool rental. To my amazement, they had 4 wallpaper steamer machines for rent. I could already hear the angels singing!

I almost trip over my own feet trying to run to my husband to tell him of my solution.

My words tumble out in excitement about the wallpaper steamer. His response, and I quote, “there is no such thing as a wallpaper steamer.”

I was taken aback and stunned, but just for a second. I shot back, “then why does Home Depot have 4 machines to rent?”

He looked at me puzzled and replied, “they probably misunderstood you, there is no such thing as a wallpaper steamer.” What? Turn around so I can talk to your butt, as this is where you are getting your information. Get in the car!

We head off to Home Depot and continue to banter the issue of the steamer. We arrive at Home Depot and guess what? They had four wallpaper steamers at tool rental. Imagine that?

So we rented the steamer. It was glorious! The wallpaper came down like a dream in 30 minutes! My husband even took the machine from me to do it himself. Shocker.

My husband has a “horrific allergy” to saying he is wrong, so I normally do not press him to admit when he is wrong. However, this was not one of those times. I was still “bent out of shape” since the painting episode. I just could not let the wallpaper steamer issue rest.

As we completed the removal of the wallpaper and were packing up, I started “in” on him. I could not stop myself.

I lured him into a false sense of security by asking, “how do you think the wallpaper steamer worked out?” (wink, wink) He was bouncing around with his new toy looking for other wallpaper to remove. Sadly, we had none. He gleefully states, “this thing is awesome, can we do some more?”

I descend in for the kill with, “did you not say that there was no such thing as a wallpaper steamer?”

The smile ran away from his face, but he stood his “shaky” ground and said, “I just had never heard of one before.”

I try to be gentle and point out that just because you do not know about it does not mean it does not exist.

Then, I calmly asked him to admit, out loud, that he was wrong. This took a minute, but he did manage to “squeak” out the words. I think he gave himself a hernia in the process.

It was as if he admitted he was wrong that he would get impaled by a hot poker, which was on my list of ways to “off him”, ironically.

I did learn from this experience. My husband is amazing at fixing things and creating things out of scraps. I also learned that he does not always have his facts straight.

Now a days, my husband and I still get into disagreements. There are many times when he and I are wrong but we continue working on admitting it more often. However, when I am certain he is wrong I just look at him and say, “wallpaper steamer.” That usually ends that discussion!


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