Stripping on a Sunday

No, this is not one of those push the envelope blogs about how Jesus loves strippers. It is very simply about stripping paint on a Sunday because that's what you do when you buy a 100 year old house.

The east and south wall trim successfully stripped with round 1. 
They say you can't buy this oak anymore because it doesn't exist and where it does, it's too expensive. I say you can't buy this stuff either - the stuff we have - simply because you'd go broke trying to pay someone to go after it!  Stripping oak trim is kind of like mining for gold. I used to say present day gold miners were nuts. Now I realize I'm just as crazy as they are. Sure, those hills are full of gold. But you have to dig it out, run it through a sluice box, measure and sift, melt it down and then you have gold. Sounds simple, right? Only you had to haul 15 tons of dirt and you got maybe 7 grams of gold. Tons to grams, people. That's not a great return. In the same way, my 4.5 hours of stripping yielded one half of a dinning room. I guess that progress measurement would have to be hours to feet? That actually sounds less crazy than tons to ounces, until you realize that that was only the first run with a heat gun. Hours more with strippers, sanders and Xylene await.

Things I learned in my 4.5 hours:

Paint chips on the floor. 
* Don't try singing along to your favorite song while wearing a respirator. You won't get enough air and you will feel light headed. Lightheaded on a 8 foot ladder = bad. (On a positive note, the neighbors won't hear you singing at the top of your lungs.)

* If someone who wants signatures to get some guy on a ballot rings your doorbell, a respirator is really hard to get off. After multiple attempts you decide it's easier to just leave it on. The main door is open for ventilation but the gated door (the previous owner was a security freak) is locked and it's too much trouble to go get the keys. So you simply reach through the door to grab the clip board, sign the form and hand it back, never really sure if the guy understood a word you said.

The entryway where you can see the
more dramatic contrast of old and new.
* You can resolve to work until the music playlist runs out, your arms fall off, your husband comes home, or you get halfway done with the room. Halfway done with the room as the one that happened first, even though I wished it was any one of the other 3.  I was afraid to stop as I thought my arms would be wrecked for days and I wouldn't be able to start again. But either heat guns aren't that heavy or I'm stronger after working on this house for 2 months, because the next day I was able to pick right back up where I left off.

At least I can be at the height of all paint stripping fashion as I work. I am the daughter of a contractor. After years of having his tools mistakenly or intentionally picked up by other workers, my dad started buying pink tools. 1) So his equipment stood out, and 2)  so other guys would be dissuaded from from stealing his stuff. It worked. So if you want to stop by for a visit or need my signature for your candidate, look for the probably slightly crazy, but so completely happy girl, stripping for another kind of gold, singing at the top of her lungs, and rocking her daddy's pink respirator.


  1. Rachel, I love you. And I'm sure Peter's thankful that your that kind of "gold digger."

  2. Hahaha! That story of you with the respirator on, signing a politician's ballot entry, is hilarious. LOVE IT.


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