Friday, October 19, 2007

Starting the Stormy Season with a Bang

I am surrounded by blinking lights and my computer has just rebooted - yes we have experienced the first storm-induced electricity cut of the season!

Yesterday I awoke to a cool, clear morning but after a while the temperature began to climb and by mid-morning the Hamsin was in full swing. My lips felt dry and sore, I suffered from a constant thirst and my skin felt like it was being slowly baked. The trees sway like the prelude to a tropical storm but the wind is hot and instead of refreshing you, it sucks all the moisture from your body.

We went out last night and the wind cooled a little making it bearable through the car window but at midnight I was still able to walk outside wearing a sleeve-less shirt.

This morning was still warm but the sky was dark with storm clouds and at about 6:15 am the rumbling started. A few minutes later a flash of light jumped in the corner of my eye - lightening. The rain started, gently at first but then there was streak of brilliant white slicing through the sky to touch Matzuba and with a crack the skies opened. I rushed out to let the cold, fat drops fall on me but it was so cold I had to take shelter.

I dialled Dearest's number to see if it was raining near him but with another crack all the lights went out and the cordless phone went dead. Suddenly I remembered my laundry drying on the line. It was soaked and the rain was pounding down so hard I could hardly pull the clothes off the line without getting soaked myself.
My husband asked why I cut off the phone call. 'It wasn't me it was the lightening. I am in the middle of a thunderstorm.' He was amazed - up near him all was dry and quiet.

I am shivering with cold now so I have fetched a jacket and closed the windows on the side of the apartment where the wind is blowing the rain in through the nets.

After a few minutes the rain weakens and within half hour it is all over the cloud has moved on and the temperatures are climbing back up to normal. I stand outside and inhale the lovely sweet smell of rain-washed earth.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pretty in Pink

My daughter, the Ballerina, occasional flirts with fashionable turquoise and claims she likes purple as an act of filial loyalty but basically she is pink. Lots of it and in various shades and hues. Luckily for her room I managed to steer her towards a pale and neutral pink that would be easier to match with furnishings and would not give me a migraine.

Having managed to remove the frieze from at least a section of her wall
, I washed the dust off the walls and then called in the plaster expert, Dearest, to repair some of the damage inflicted on the walls during previous bouts of decorative activity.

I returned a few minutes later to realise he had filled in every hole not containing a rawlplug.

"Dearest, you need to support the shelves at both ends."
"Yes, Darling"
"Well, Dearest, you are missing a hole this side for the second shelf."
"But it didn't have a rawlplug"
"Because the rawlplug fell out when I removed the shelves. It needs to be replaced." In a hole that doesn't exist anymore!

So I disappear off to do something in the kitchen, laundry room etc while he liberates the hole. I return to find several other holes now unplugged.

"Dearest, why the others?"
"For the shelves." Notice he is not calling me Darling anymore.
"But they only need one at the bottom and one at the top, on each end. If you look carefully they line up."
Our conversation did carry on for a little while after this but it's best just to say that despite the decorating we are still happily married.

Plaster dry, I began to paint. Ballerina was eager to help and after a few wild swings with the paint roller, Dearest tried to explain to her the fine art of home decoration. A little while later his only audience was the wall. Soon he suffered an attack of lumbago and after cruelly ridiculing the amount of paint already decorating my skin he returned to his car magazines.

No, it was not finger painting

At first the pink looked a bit splotchy and I did wonder if the fact that the original paint was supposedly washable would affect the coverage.
Dearest insisted that we were being too stingy with the amount of paint on the roller but more paint on the roller increased the amount of spatter over my body and caused drips down the wall. So I decided to be patient, do a first coat and then examine the results.

There was a pleasant breeze drifting through the open window and by the time I had performed gymnastic feats on my kitchen stool in order to reach all the high spots and corners the main part of the wall was dry.
The paint looked good but there were definitely places were the former colour peaked through. It needed a second coat.

Left on my own I poured out some more paint and quickly covered the main expanse of wall. It took little time and effort with the paint covering much more easily now it had a bottom coat to grip on to.
After a few minutes the result looked satisfactory and when I returned, after a well deserved snack, to check the dry paint my conclusion was confirmed - two coats were plenty.

I delegated Dearest and Ballerina to clean up the brushes and roller while I cleaned myself before we went out in the evening.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Apart from promising myself more blogging in the new year I also made a pact to finally get my daughter's room decorated with the paint that has been slouching on our sitting-room floor for the last 5 months or so.

I took full advantage of the Succot holidays and convinced my daughter to clear out her room and stack all her knick-knacks in the sitting room.
Her idea of clearing and mine originate on different planets but eventually we got to a state where I could move her bed and other furniture far enough away from the walls.

Then I had to deal with the frieze. Last time I decorated Ballerina's room she was a newborn. I chose a waterproof paint for practicality and a neutral sand colour as a compromise with my Israeli Dearest who was still stuck with the conviction that white walls are the only option.
To liven the room up and make it more baby-friendly I added a frieze. Big Mistake.

I mean it looked lovely with the pastel colour scheme and the pretty bears.
However, after a few years it began to curl at the edge and is, I now discover, a nightmare to remove.

The Unfrieze is about to commence

The homemade frieze I created for my son's room was printed on A4 copy paper and attached to the wall with wallpaper paste. With a little water and a few encouraging scrapes it was gone in a few minutes leaving the wall below in almost pristine condition.

Not so with your factory made self-adhesive frieze. Even though it is curling off the wall. When you grab an edge and pull, the top layer of picture detaches from the backing paper leaving a dirty cream coloured strip still stuck to the wall. Not only that - the picture tears off in strips leaving remnants of picture in the middle of the frieze.

In an effort to remove the dirty cream strip I dampen the wall and set to with my scraper. It takes elbow grease but the water does soften the backing paper making the job mildly easier and lessening the frequency with which I accidentally dig the corner of the scraper in to the wall.

But the frieze is vinyl and in the middle where the picture remains the water doesn't soak through. I gently ease up the edge of a picture scrap, trying not to gouge more holes in the plaster, and pull. Then I repeat until that section of frieze is bare so I can dampen and scrape, dampen and scrape.

But that it not the end of this unfriezing story. Oh no! The frieze used a rubber based adhesive, impervious to my dampen and scrape technique. Now I have to go back along the wall trying to figure out how to deal with this horrid sticky mess.

I attack it with a scotch pad, which does the work, but after an inch I am exhausted and the wall is looking a little miserable. Then I try with the scotch pad and soapy water which is hardly an improvement. Eventually I think of vinegar. The room stinks and at first my eyes water but it does reduce the stickiness and make the job go a little faster. Mind you, it still requires and inordinate amount of elbow grease and I have a crick in my neck from standing with my head cocked on one side to check if the glue has been cleaned from the wall.

Unfrieze in progress.
You can see the gluey mess on the right, glinting menacingly in the light.

Back to Blogging

So the holidays are over.

As we start this new year I keep saying to myself 'I must write on the blog. I must write on the blog!'

And to be fair I had written some pretty cool posts in the last couple of weeks. Problem is they most have stayed in my head, a few have made it on to scraps of paper which are now lost in some scrap paper black hole and I still haven't added a new post to the blog.

Well I believe that the best way to deal with something is just to deal with it so I am committing myself to a blog-filled future and posting this.

Wish me luck!