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GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. We avoid discussion of political issues. If you are quitting or even thinking about quitting, please -- join us! GUS Library at dKosopedia is organically evolving, and stocked with free-range information: quit-smoking links, helpful GUS diary writing tips, and the GUS buddy list.

EDIT @ Wednesday, 5:50PM CDT: Though the following is a personal diary, I want to strongly urge anyone considering popcorn ceiling removal to consult a professional. This is a hazardous task, and not a simple weekend DIY home improvement project.

Thanks to elkhunter, who embellished this safety concern in the comments below.

*

While at my parent's house on an out-of-state working vacation, one constant that I have noticed is the majestic chime of their grandfather clock.

It's been chaotic. What was supposed to have been a week-long painting project with some days of relaxation has turned into a raucous nighmare of fallen popcorn ceiling finish, family room flooring covered with inch-thick layers of dust, dirty plastic hanging from crown molding, consoles, cabinets, curtains, and a wood stove.

My mind had been registering a verdict of guilty against the original contractors who, in an act of sheer neglect and sacrifice of quality for a fresh appearance, had decided not to undercoat the ceiling wallboard with primer twenty years ago, when this work was contracted. To the best of their knowledge, the folks judge that this contractor is no longer in business. Which is good, when taking into account that their lack of workmanship is hopefully not depriving other households of their money, trust, and livelihood. Part of me wishes that they were still visible. Because though my cursing is not allowed on Yelp, I... well, you know.

The clock now chimes at the 3/4 hour mark. So I'd better get to the good part fast, if there is one, in order to meet a self imposed diary posting deadline.

Because of this, normally accessible kitchen items have been off-limits. Furniture moved, rugs rolled up and removed from the dust zone, pets and parents both disturbed and deprived of any semblance of a normal routine. All the while, I've been running on an average of four hours of sleep a night and 14 hours of work every day since Tuesday of last week. At points, I sat with dismay, listening to the lead-in chimes of the grandfather clock conclude with a pathetic single gong. One o'clock. In the morning. And I am in the family room, on top of a ladder, one hand holding onto the central beam of the arched ceiling in the family room, the other hand gripped around a sander, scrubbing away furiously at the remnants of popcorn texture. That stuff came off the unprimered wallboard beautifully. I'd call that the bright side, were it not for the fact that this shit bonded beautifully to the drywall compound seams, creating a hardened shell that said "if you want this ceiling to be flush, you're going to have to fight for it."

Tempers have tapped into the red zone at times, through no fault of anyone present. And all I can think of at this moment, while thinking about this, is the all-too-often repeated quote from the movie Airplane... bad week to quit smoking.

And that was pretty much the good that came out of this, aside from the completed project, in and of itself. Smoking became a pain in the ass. Keeping my dust mask on and finishing the job became the priority. My nicotine and hours-of-sleep count was low, and my frustration level was high. I even became pissed at the logo of the native American on my pouch of loose tobacco... pissed off enough to check into GUS in the midst of it, and direct my anger constructively, if not directly, into writing a diary.

A week later, all the furniture is back in place. The dust is but a bad menory, and the remainder of the painting is being accomplished, on existing walls and ceilings that were plastered by pros over 80 years ago. Their work ain't coming off onto my roller.

It's gotten better. The pets are calm, and back into their respective regular routines of eating, sleeping, leaping onto cat posts. The collected spirit of the family has settled too, as the overall perspective has resurfaced, that being to put this house on the market for resale in a troubled housing market.

My cigarette intake remains in the single digits per day, and through it all I have held to a mantra offered to me by my good friend and roommate from back home: be kind to yourself. The place looks fantastic. And I kept my wits enough to take image shots of truly heinous "before" pictures, to be posted later. But for now, it's time to post. It's 11:30 PM, and while remaining content in the present moment, my joy in a half hour will reside in hearing all twelve chimes ringing from that grandfather clock, while seated safely in front of the screen where I communicate with my GUS buds.

*

My eyes are on the prize, and that is a planned quit from cigarettes sometime over the next month. Details will follow, and there are others whose impending quits may fall into that same time frame. Group quit, anyone? After the popcorn ceiling disaster, and prior successful quits, my current feeling is that nothing is impossible.

* * *

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