Crumpler Chronicle (Episode 2): Crown Molding

Nothing makes a room appear more elegant than using crown moulding. It’s a fantastic way to separate wall color and the ceiling without harsh lines. As new homeowners, Cam and I have met each project with youthful enthusiasm and vigor. Project 13 on the list: INSTALL CROWN MOLDING. Seems simply enough. After everyone told us how hard it was, we opted to take a Home Depot University class (which by the way- if you attend two classes, you get a patch). We take notes. We follow the instructor’s every move. We feel confident. After an office email returns no responses to lend us a miter saw, we opt for purchasing one on our own. Looking back on it, I realize no one owns a miter saw because no one knows how to use the thing. We buy all the materials to do our master bedroom and master bath. A friend convinces us to go with the corner pieces, which negate the need for mitering. We thought they looked great in his room and decide to take his advice. After painting and drying, we’re ready to install. It goes a little something like this:

” I don’t understand. We measured this exactly. Why the heck are we an 1/8″ short?”

” Honey, hold your side up. Hold it straight. ”

” I AM HOLDING IT UP. My arm is falling asleep, just hammer it in already”.

“Well I would, if you didn’t just kick the nails off the ladder”.

“Oh, I’m sorry, I almost fell off the bucket. Why do you get the ladder and I get this flimsy bucket?”

“Where the heck is the tape measure?”

“Umm, it’s in your hand.”

“Turn off this darn music. I can’t concentrate with Bono trying to save the world in the background. It’s not a beautiful day. Hold it straight.”

Okay. Deep breaths. Walk away. Get a drink. Abut five hours later, we nail the last piece in. We take a step back and admire the room. Not too shabby. Actually, it looks pretty darn good. Now that we’ve master that, we’ll actually cut corners for the bathroom. It’s a very small room, can’t be too hard. Once we master that, we can move on to the living room. We go to sleep completely confident. We got cocky. Very cocky.

Sunday, 8am. Bright and early. We lay out the notes from our Home Depot class, consult the manual and get ready to do a practice corner. A few tries and we’ll be ready to go. RRRRRRRWWWWWW. The saw goes down and the first cuts are made. “That should do it. Grab the other piece and make sure they fit properly”. I hold it up at an angle in the corner completely expecting them to slide together with ease. What is this? There seems to be a huge gap. It’s like they don’t even compliment each other to make a corner. Oh well. We learned two ways: coping and butting two 45 angles. Everyone said to forget the latter of the two. RRRRWWWWW. The saw goes down again. Okay, they fit, but only if you put them up-side-down. If we simply do the opposite of what we just did, we should get it this time. RRRRWWWWWW. WHAT IN THE WORLD? WHY WON”T THEY FIT? Bevel right? Bevel left? 45 right? 45 left? Wait, was that 0 and cope? AAAAHHHHHH.

Six hours later and not ONE corner figured out, we finally snapped. At this point, it wasn’t even about the money. It was personal warfare between the miter saw and us. We experienced every human emotion: anger, sadness, laughter from insanity and finally settled on defeat. Now that the sun went down and we we used up 50 ft of painted molding (which, by the way, I painted with precision and took it 4 hours to dry) we gave up. I opted to open the housewarming bottle of wine to numb the pain of failure. I sat in the grass, not worthy of a chair, and drank away the remainder of my evening by myself. That night we went to sleep wallowing in self pity. As I reached REM, in the middle of ‘the-night-before-Monday-slumber’, I was suddenly awakened by a loud noise. RRRRRWWWWW. I roll over to find that I am all alone, in the middle of the night. I tip-toe to the garage to find my white-collar beau at the miter saw. The look of determination says it all. I know better then to say a word. He tells me that it came to him in a dream. His subconscious revealed how to cut the wood. I suddenly become excited. I stand by my man. The two pieces are cut and we anxiously walk over to the corner hoping that they will finally fit together. Left side is nestled in. Up goes the right side. WHAT THE %$^*(&()&*(&)^&*%$&*…….not even close. I shut my eyes and listen to the molding being thrown across the garage, hitting the door. We don’t speak. We walk back to the bedroom and couch- respectively. I doubt either of us actually fell back asleep.

So here we are- we have no molding in the bathroom. We have no molding in the living room. We own a $100 saw, but ruined all the molding. I drank all the housewarming wine and the ding in our garage door now has a dent to forever remind us of our foolish naivety.

Should any of you be considering this “nice little home improvement project”, I invite you to remember this story. Next up- tiling the floor. How hard can it be?