Today, I bought a sander.
Actually, no, I shouldn’t start there. I should start last winter.
Last winter, I moved out of my master bedroom. Yeah, last winter. I’m not the fastest when it comes to home improvement projects. Last winter, I was a little alarmed that my window kept frosting up all the time. Sure, they’re old windows, but they hadn’t done that the previous year.
My room started smelling a bit funny too. I thought maybe I was being negligent with the laundry or something, but the smell was still there after I gave the whole room a thorough cleaning. Once the frosted window thawed a bit, I got a hint about what the problem might be. Well, it took me a bit to realize the black grungy stuff wasn’t just dirt. It was mold.
Ick. Mold. I panicked a bit. All those Dateline NBC exposés about Deadly Black Mold Lurking In Your Walls! had me a bit nervous. I don’t know how long it’s been a problem, either. I moved out of the bedroom and into the basement. And I started to look around.
I’d always thought it was a bit odd that there was wood paneling on the back wall of the bedroom. The same sort of wood paneling that’s in my basement. (The house is from the 70s. What do you expect?) With the mold, I was suddenly suspicious. In a rare fit of DIY energy, I got out the crow bar and ripped the wood paneling down.
Fortunately, there wasn’t any mold underneath. Just a bare, plaster wall and nail holes from the wood paneling. And thick, black glue that had been holding the paneling on. I guy named Ron put up the paneling. I know because he wrote his name on my wall. In glue.
It’s stubborn stuff, too. I tried scraping and chiseling it off, but I was doing more damage to the plaster than to the glue. I tried sanding with a manual sander, and I made a little progress, but it would take years at that rate to get it all off. I tried a heat gun, thinking that maybe there was a coat of paint under the glue, but no, it’s just plaster. Which is odd, since it means that that wood paneling has been up since the house was sold. Meaning a professional thought, in his professional wisdom, that wood paneling was a good thing to have in a master bedroom. Only in the 70s. I blame Ron.
Today I picked up a power sander and I’m making good progress on the glue. Ron is gone, at least. I’m covered in plaster dust and it feels a bit gross. The window is going to be replaced on Tuesday. Once I get the glue off, I can start spackling the holes and chips and start sanding that. Then I can clean up the mess.