However, I'm definitely making progress. I've washed the ceiling (with a roller on a long handle) and bagged up the fans and taped off the center beam, so I actually am ready to paint that tomorrow. I only got about 1/4 of the walls washed and patched, but I spend a lot of the day spot-patching and peeling tape off the window sills (from those plastic winterizing kits), so I have quite a lot done. Plus I got enough done that I could let my daughter paint primer on the banister. She was happy about that - both getting to paint and not having to be on the "scary" ladder. So - progress.
This is the banister "before". The blue will be a darker blue that matches the window shades. (Oh, yeah, I took down the shades and their brackets.) The white parts might remain white, or we may make them blue, too.'
Meanwhile, on the cork wall from hell: After scraping and sanding for several days, it still looks like this, but it does feel pretty smooth.
After applying a thin coat of spackling to every uneven spot, then sanding, we're down to this:
This might work out yet, but holy cats, it's been a lot of work.
My adventures in ceiling "popcorn" patching, however, turned out pretty well.
The textures match up -- I'm eager to see it when it's all one color.
Still no luck getting any of the duck wallpaper to peel off. I wanted to frame a length of it as a memento, but it's super-duper stuck to the wall. This is the only reason I'm making an exception to my "never ever ever paint over wallpaper" rule. (We had rooms downstairs where there were so many paper/paint layers it was like peeling cardboard off the walls.)
And the big giant (not really all that giant) hole I had to patch is covering well. I love this spackling compound -- it's pink when you put it on and turned white when it dries. Takes the guess-work out. Which is always a bonus.
I am exhausted. All my muscles hurt. I am covered with minor bruises. But I am making progress!