Scraping Popcorn

Seattle, USA
December 1, 2008

The day after Thanksgiving, Ben and I helped Greg with a home-improvement project. Decades prior, some previous owner had coated the ceiling above the two main rooms of the house with the paint fad of the time: the "popcorn" look. Greg and his wife, Louise, wanted to get rid of the bumpy textured look and re-paint a flat surface.

In preparation, Greg spent the previous night taping sheets of plastic over the walls and down over the floors of those two rooms. Our main tools for the job were a pair of scrapers attached to poles and a water-sprayer. (It reminded me of pesticide sprayers I've seen farmers using on crops.) I wouldn't have thought of spraying the bumpy paint first to wet it down (Greg's idea) but it worked like a charm.

I walked around with the water sprayer jammed into a metal-framed backpack; Ben and Greg followed along my path with the scrapers, peeling layers of old paint which then dropped off and fell to the floor.

The process took fewer hours than Greg had predicted and turned out to be reasonably enjoyable. It's the type of work that I think I would hate if I had to do it every day for eight hours or more. But for a few hours with a couple brothers--it was actually fun.

Ben & Greg in Taco Bus
After all the "popcorn" had been scraped, bagged, and tossed out Greg treated us to lunch at the local taco truck. Actually, the vehicle serving Mexican food nearest his home appeared to be a converted school bus rather than a truck. We tried an item on the menu I'd never heard of, a mulita. We were served something identical to tacos (which we had also ordered), but with the addition of a slice of avocado and melted mozzarella cheese.

Mulitas are delicious. From time-to-time when I first become familiar with a dish new to me, I like it so well that I go through a phase of craving only that food and nothing else. (Past phases included cravings for pho, Hai Nan chicken and rice, Vietnamese sandwiches, and doro wot.)

I'm not even hungry right now, but just thinking about mulitas makes me want to head down to the local taco truck.

On the subject of food... last Thursday was Thanksgiving in the U.S.. Jen's family hosted this year. Over the course of several years our Thanksgiving dinners have evolved into a semi-potluck. The guests bring the side dishes while the host prepares the main course. I boiled up a basic cranberry sauce and brought along a bottle of red wine.

I've been off in Asia for well too long. This was my first traditional Thanksgiving meal in five years.