I'm on day four of what may be my most ambitious home-improvement project yet, and I've discovered a secret weapon.
A clean putty knife with sharp corners helps. Pouring pure ammonia on that pesky old linoleum does not. I've tried. But it's the music that makes the biggest difference.
I've always loved music and concentrate best when it's playing. But its benefits multiply when tackling something as potentially mind-bending as scraping lino. I've been spending time with my CD collection, listening to music I loved in high school and early college. So far, the most workable albums have been Barenaked Ladies' greatest hits and Ben Folds Five's earliest album.
The monotony of scraping gives me a chance to focus on the lyrics and the feelings I associated so deeply with some of these songs. I realize now that I don't listen to music as intensely and emotionally as I used to. What is it about being a moody teenager that makes you think every song was written for you?
But I listen to some of these songs and I'm right back there. Music has a funny way of putting you back in moments gone by, doesn't it? Although in some cases, I understand some of the songs and their words much differently now that I'm older. (And in the case of listening to Eve 6's first album, I wonder why I even bought it. What was I thinking?)
Now, what I'm listening to depends on who I've recruited to help me scrape. My sweetie prefers old-school punk (I asked if he meant Taking Back Sunday, one of my high-school favorites, but I don't think he appreciated my humor). We spent our time scraping together listening to bands like The Exploited and The Cranks, which were full of energy and good for our productivity.
Another scraping partner requested NPR, and we heard interviews with a couple of cast members of “The Office” last night, which was great. Tonight, my mom is coming over to help, and if she brings it, we'll probably listen to the soundtrack of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” It's a family favorite.
What about you – what do you listen to when you're working on your house or those other not-exactly-fun tasks?
Photo: My progress as of this morning. Sorry about its blurriness; I'm using a camera I can't get used to. I'm hoping to take out the stove tonight and focus my sole attention on that area so that it will be the first area sanded, stained and finished. That way, I can buy my new stove (a basic Whirlpool) when I order my refrigerator in the next couple days or so. It would be great if that happens, but we'll see.