Yes! For once, we ended the weekend with the overall house slightly cleaner than it was before the weekend! Finally we may have broken the cycle!
The wallpaper paste removal began in the hallway, thanks to a good friend. It looks much better (though the wall itself needs lots of work), and no longer makes me shudder when I brush against it. The removal makes a pretty big mess though, so we washed the walls and scrubbed the hallway floors - sparkling! We have to figure out how to get to the area over the stairs. We have some ideas, but any others would be gratefully accepted.
Thanks to more good friends, the basement is now as clean as a basement will be (though despite urging, I still think we will not be holding Thanksgiving in the 'torture room' in the basement). We re-arranged, vacuumed, cleaned up debris, and hooked up the dryer.
I started investigating the crappy portion of the ceiling in the dining room. It looks like they tried to replaster at some point, but the plaster is very gritty and doesn't look too sturdy. Kind of looks like crumbly cement. I'm going to try to repair it with setting-type joint compound, as several sites have recommended. If that doesn't work I'll have to just take it down and put a piece of drywall up there.
Erin did some sanding on that wall - and then an absolutely marvelous job of cleaning the dust (some of which was still there from original drywall sanding!). Although the dining room will become messy again very soon, it feels much more relaxed to me...
New low-flow showerheads are up! Haven't checked w/Erin yet, but mine is a vast improvement over the one that was there.
And yes, I'm still flipped out about the waterbug Erin had to hunt down in her room on Thursday night. We've sprayed with this Orthomax stuff from Home Depot, hope it works. Next step is to sprinkle boric acid up in the attic. I'm accepting volunteers for that - extra beer for hazard pay...