Predecessor Booger Meister Ragamuffins.


shapeimage_2-4_2This old house needs a fresh coat of paint as badly as Dame Judi Dench needs a bath after a sweaty tussle with one of her young lovers on a steamy afternoon in her Corsican villa.  Fighting against every hasty, lazy, short-cut-taking fiber of my being, I have decided to be a responsible homeowner and prep the walls before they are painted.  Meaning I am cleaning them – old school style – rubber gloves, huge sponges, buckets of warm water and TSP/90 (which, incidentally, is amazing stuff if you’ve never tried it).  TSP/90 takes everything of the walls: dirt, grime, greasy fingerprints, pencil, pen, spaghetti sauce, chocolate and most importantly as it turns out, boogers.  

Never have I cleaned so many crusty boogers off a wall.  Actually, before yesterday I can say with confidence that I had never cleaned any boogers off a wall.  I am no forensic pathologist, but I know a booger stuck to a wall when I see it.  Perhaps it’s all the years of public library patronage in my youth that makes me such an expert (you check out enough books from the library, and you are bound to come upon a booger stuck to a page – a disgusting but true fact of life.)  Seriously, I only cleaned the walls going down to the basement and the basement hallway and I must have scraped off twenty boogers.  What was going on with these children that they were sticking so many boogers to so many walls?  Was there only one culprit or did all four of them get in on the action?  And where was their mother?  Why didn’t she ever wipe a booger off a wall?  

Inhabiting a new house goes so far beyond moving in your furniture, redecorating, changing wall colors. It’s really much more elemental. It’s about substituting your DNA for your predecessors’ DNA.  Doctor Dash and I can still make ourselves writhe in disgust at the memory of the veritable paste of red beard trimmings I scrubbed out of the rim of the sink in our Boston brownstone.  As I gagged and scrubbed and cursed the name of the divinity graduate student who had sold us the brownstone, I kept calling Dash into the bathroom, so he could bear witness to the first truly selfless act I performed as a newlywed.  In our last house, it was the fridge that had me gagging.  It was coated, positively shellacked, in the hair of the old black lab who lived with the old man who lived there before us.  I still haven’t resolved how you get that much dog hair in your refrigerator, short of actually putting the dog in the refrigerator.  And here, apparently, the biggest DNA issue is boogers – walls speckled and spackled in boogers, everywhere you look, everywhere you touch.  Who needs stucco when you’ve got kids like those?  She should have put them to work on some chipped patches on the outside of the house.  Next time I pull out the bucket and gloves, I’m going to be prepared with a little tool, a booger scraper.  As God is my witness, people, I will get every last booger . . . if it’s the last thing I do.

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