We've never talked about this, but I used to smoke. I never smoked every day, but I loved to have a cigarette or five when I was out drinking with friends. Keith and I actually first met on the balcony of Mercy Lounge when I smelled vanilla flavored Sweet Dreams cigarettes and went looking for their owner so I could charm one off of him.* I always knew it was bad for me, and I was never proud of it, but now I'm kicking myself even harder. Not because of what cigarettes do to the body, but because of what they do to a house.
|This picture doesn't even capture how musty and gross the walls were. |
And what's up with the weird spotlight placement?
Were they trying to highlight the art, or make shadows with the ceiling fan?
I've said it before, but the previous owner of our house smoked. We had practically every visible surface of the house painted to get rid of the smell (and because new colors are awesome), and the smoke smell is gone. Seriously, gone. It's like magic. But everything that wasn't painted was still coated with tar and nicotine. It actually dripped down the master bathroom walls (the only room we didn't have painted) in sticky brown trickles. The shelves in the closets were gummy with it. Even the light was orange until we removed the nicotine covered light bulbs.
I've spent most of the last week scrubbing walls, windows, light fixtures, the insides of the kitchen cabinets, and all the shelves inside the closets. Before I can unpack anything, I have to unleash elbow grease and Pine-Sol on the place it will be kept. It's made the move-in process really slow, but WE FINALLY MOVED!
We hired two guys to move in all the furniture last week. In just three hours, two guys from 6th Man Movers had all the big stuff I can't carry by myself moved into the house. Now I make a trip to the condo every day to pack up a carload of stuff and move it into the house. Moving gradually makes the transition easier. It's saved us money and sanity, if not time.
The first day in the new house was really frustrating: I woke up super early to blinding sunlight because our new bedroom faces east and the windows were bare. Oops. AND THERE WAS NO COFFEE MAKER. Needless to say, the first thing I did that day was grab the kitchen stuff from the condo and buy blackout shades for the bedroom. But when I brought the kitchen stuff home, I realized I couldn't unpack it. Why? Because the cabinets were filthy on the inside. And now we return to our original topic. *sigh*
For the last week, my days have been a blur of cleaning, moving stuff by the carload, and visiting Home Depot for boring things like temporary paper window shades and toilet seats that aren't squishy. Why do they make squishy toilet seats, anyway? Does anyone really need a toilet seat that expels a tiny fart of air every time they sit on it? *shudder* But I'm getting sidetracked.
|I can't even tell you how much I love the new carpet and the black trim against the white marble.|
That fan has got to go outside on the porch, though. What should go in its place?
The unexpected side effect of all the nastiness is that I've gotten to know every weird nook and cranny of the house as I've scrubbed the nicotine away. Now I feel oddly close to the house and fond of it. We've already been through so much together. Like the stomach-turning moment when I discovered that the master bathroom floor tile doesn't have black grout; it had really dirty pale beige grout. God, I wish I could forget that. Soon, I hope I can stop cleaning and unpacking, and start making it beautiful.
* Yes, Keith used to smoke candy flavored cigarettes. And my mother told me once that my grandma met my grandpa when she asked him for a cigarette. It's a family tradition, y'all.