So there I was. With a week to impress a very disappointed landlord. I had almost no resources and I reached out to my group of friends who had experienced the HoG on the same level I had. Immediately, I had responses. An overflow of them, actually. Paint, tools, cleaning parties, I had everything I needed. Diablo spent the last of his budget on some paint that would cover stains (particularly sharpie) and I got to work. We cleared out the living room and started cleaning up the beer cans.
My dear friend Liza came over with her camera and photographed a few things before we totally started fixing it up. Liza is a photographer, videographer, model, poet, and a whole bunch of other things, too. She is one of the most lovely human beings that I know and I’m sure there will be a blog post dedicated to her at some point.
Four hours of cleaning and scrubbing later, all of the furniture was either in the kitchen or on the lawn and I had begun painting over the words and images that had helped define all of us over the course of two months.It was arduous – and heartbreaking. It was the first real symbol of us having to move on from the house. Of course, part of me had been waiting for this for weeks, and the other part of me was scared and never wanted it to end.
We managed to get enough paint to re-vamp the entire house, and I started, well, re-vamping. I planned a cleaning party and had a decent turn-out. With the help of twenty people, we got the first coat of actual white paint on the living room walls. We got the lawn mowed and the beehives on the roof taken care of and the old mattress and couches burned.
The next day, Docken (the other room mate) and our mutual friend Khiara did some hardcore cleaning. I turned the trash room into a porch. The lawn was fixed, the trash room was gone, and I had painted some nice color on the living room, effectively finishing that project. In a week, we took down the entire downstairs and outside.
Weeds trimmed, flowerbeds weeded, trash hauled away, and a fresh coat of paint on all of the walls except for the bathroom, which would get taken care of later. The gutters were spotless, and so I guess we weren’t quite ‘gutter punks’ anymore, unless you count the person who actually climbed around on the roof like a drunken monkey getting all of the punk out of the gutter.
We even scouted the neighborhood and discovered a beautiful sofa, recliner, and desk that were in almost perfect condition to move into the freshly painted house. We carried these items a few blocks and successfully moved them in that night. The living room looked like something out of a country living magazine – as long as you disregarded the still-tarnished floor.
The landlord arrived the next Tuesday. Despite the fact that there was still large amounts of work to do on the house, we got the reaction we were looking for. Her eyes lit up the second she stepped out of her car. Of course, it wasn’t perfect. It will take a couple of years for the lawn to totally regrow and the integrity of the roof after supporting so many bodies will never be quite the same.
She entered the living room and almost gasped. Her joy at the changes showed clearly on her face as she toured the lower half of the house. No more trash room. No more stink of beer and adolescence. A well thought-out color scheme. Semi-gloss paint instead of matte in the kitchen for easier cleaning and less gruesome grease stains. Turning the corner to head upstairs, I had to stop her. I informed her that a week is a very small amount of time to get anything done, and the only fixing that had been done on the upstairs was a quick cleanup job. The walls leading up the stairs had a fresh coat of light green paint and we were busy getting the right parts to re-install the banisters (definitely a story to tell later).
It was coming along, but there’s only so much you can do. She nodded and expressed her approval of what had been done, giving us more time to keep fixing the house. The end of July was coming up, though, and I had received news from my girlfriend that she and her faithful troupe of road dogs were heading north from Iowa. Soon, it would be time for me to leave.
Funny how, in theory, packing a bag and walking out a door is easier than fixing an entire house.