Having just moved into a new house, I promise you I will try my utmost to not write every day about the trials, tribulations and successes of home ownership. Today, however, I will write about that very subject. I’ll start by delivering a message to whomever redecorated all of our doorways and window trim back in the 1950’s – why did you paint over varnish? Have you no clue?

While internally debating if I should, in fact, find these people and bill them for the extra time it takes to remove paint & varnish, I did discover something called 5F5 Paint & Varnish Remover that could very well defeat any large army with relative ease. This stuff is nuclear. Case in point: you take a crappy .99 cent paintbrush and apply it to the area. Within 2-3 minutes, if you listen closely enough, you can actually hear the paint sizzling. Yes, sizzling, my friends. Within another 60 seconds, it has bubbled up and is ready to be scraped off. Easy enough, right? Oh, no. Because under the paint, there’s the varnish. Oh, that dastardly, gooey, nasty varnish. Yep, that’s gotta come off, too. So slap on another round of this fire-in-a-can, wait another 5-10 minutes, then proceed to completely ruin whatever scraper you are using because of the goo. The goo! Oh, the goo!

A couple more observations around this clearly illegal material. I was told that if you even got a drop on your hand, that it would burn, almost as if your hand were on fire. Thinking back to my high doubts about Shaw’s shopping carts locking up, I had to experiment to see if, in fact, this were true. Once again, I was proven so very wrong. I dripped just a little tiny tiny drop on my hand and sure enough, was at the faucet within 30 seconds getting it off my hand. They sell this over the counter! Finally, one last fact about 5F5, which should drive home the point: in reading the can (after I used it, of course), it says, verbatim, “if ingested induce vomiting immeadiately.” Now this cracks me up. This stuff is so potent that there is no other option than to have yourself throw up as soon as possible. All hail paint & varnish remover.

As I was washing off some paintbrushes last night, something popped into my head – a memory. I have no idea where this memory came from or why it popped into my head at that particular time, but the memory just hit me. I remembered that I saw a car in the 1970s, and it very well could have been my grandfather’s (on my mother’s side), and on that car was a bumper sticker that read “Remember When………Air Was Clean and Sex Was Dirty?” Why did I remember this? No idea.

OK, first there’s a colossal power failure in the biggest city in the U.S., and now there’s been another one in the largest city in the UK? Am I being paranoid? I hope not.

Song now playing: Elliot Smith – “Alameda”