Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Why you should ALWAYS call a professional.

Home improvements are such a fucking drag. I guess I should look at them as exciting ways to show my artistic (ha) side, or at least not approach them with as much hesitation as I would, say, a flaming bag of pooh. However, home improvements seem to be the topic of the day. Almost one year ago, E and I started refinishing the wood floors in our house. (Notice, I didn't say FINISHED, as we haven't.) What follows is a day by day description of the horror that ensued, as written to the big sis in an email. Maybe you'll see why I now approach all home improvement projects with fear and trembling.

Sunday: Took Janz to Nephi to meet Cassie. Finished listening to Artemis Fowl (you might like these. Precocious millionaire quasi orphaned 12 year old captures and blackmails fairy folk--who are incidentally, dripping with technology and scorn for humans. There's really no good guy to root for, but it was fun.) Arrived home to find Erik ripping up the carpet in the kitchen. Removed layer of indoor/outdoor carpet, and discovered lovely asbestos laden orange linoleum. Asbestos research on internet led to stoppage of stripping process.

Monday: Resumed linoleum removal, taking asbestos precautions. Removed carpet in dining room to discover 12 inch square cork tiles, adhered to the wood floor with TAR PAPER. Began removal with hammer/putty knife in hammer/chisel fashion. Added some variety to the day by trying to scrape linoleum glue from kitchen floor.

Tuesday: More cork removal. Then began tar paper scraping. Purchased several scraping tools. Also experimented with several toxic chemicals for adhesive remove. Continued scraping both kitchen glue and dining room tar.

Wednesday: Several gallons of Jasco poured on dining room floor. Noted gigantic scull and crossbones on the container. Scraping. Swearing. Very little progress.

Thursday: Scraping. Chemicals. Swearing. Then St. Patrick's day dinner at Jen and Paul's. The corned beef and cabbage was delicious. Met Erin Waldman. Do you know her? She seemed quite nice, and has a little girl Sophie's age.

Friday: Had resorted to razor blade--no chemicals, scraping tar and paper off of floor inch by inch. Also shaking things up by occasionally attacking army green glue on kitchen floor. Then went to the Sportsman's (for first time) with Jen and Paul and Erik for Karaoke night. I sang "Son of a Preacher Man" with, I must admit, some success. I may be an addict. I wanted to sing another song, but we had some babysitter trauma, and had to leave.

Saturday: Embarrassing and fortuitous event--not unlike first caveman noticing that a log can roll. I dropped an ice cube on the floor in the kitchen and didn't pick it up. Then, when I wiped up the water, the previously cement-like, adhesive remover immune, army green glue was gone! Water soluble. Somehow we had never considered just removing it with water. 45 minutes of mopping later, low and behold, clean lovely wood! Wood, yes. Oak, no. We assumed that because the floor in the living room is oak, the kitchen and dining room would be as well. Nope. It's fir. A soft wood, but not quite as soft as pine. We're going to go ahead and finish it, and hope for the best. Tested the water method on the dining room tar. No workey. So, began sanding with the big daddy orbital sander. Went through about 5 pads in as many seconds. (hyperbole, but not by much.)

Sunday: More sanding. Found that water does work on the glue UNDER the tar, but not the tar. Hands and knees floor scrubbing, then scrubbed adhesive out of corners and cracks with a toothbrush.Now, after reading Sophie several stories, (her current fave is Green Eggs and Ham. I would not could not sand my floor. I would not could not any more!) I'm going to sweep and clean for Kodi who is tending tomorrow.

Today's best thing about being a mom:
Pink kitty pajamas with feet (for her, not me)

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
Daycare guilt


Heather said...

Isn't home ownership fun?? When we moved in three and a half years ago Jake tore apart our basement bathroom with the idea that he was going to build a shower and make it "livable" so that we would have two bathrooms instead of one.

As I type, there is still just one stud wall in the cement shower. No one goes down there. So... I feel your pain!!

~A~ said...

I'm with you when it comes to home improvement projects. Mostly because I'm much more handy than My Honey and he tends to get in the way.

Totally off topic here - Elf just called MH a red ass monkey. Serves the man right for saying it first.

lonna said...

Oh that sounds so awful. I am so bad at even approaching house projects, much less actually doing them. We bought a brand new house just so that we didn't have to deal with this type of stuff. Good luck.

OldMotherHubbardSharesAll said...

The funny part is that I actually remember my mom carpeting over the hardwood floors in my childhood home and being glad those awful floors are covered.........Man I would love to have hardwood floors instead of the awful carpet. LOL.

So what is the actual status of the floors now a YEAR later?

patrice said...

ha, water soluble. who knew.

we ripped up the linoleum in our bedrooms (yes. in the bedrooms.) to find that underneath, the previous owners had used everything from scrap metal to rotting cardboard to even out the floor before covering everything with tar paper and glue. it took forever to get everything up. and then the wood floors were so fucked up that we wound up getting carpet anyways. (2 years and many splinters later.)

so...I feel you.

TD said...

We ripped up the crappy, dark wood floors in our living room to find the ten-times-crappier, rotting original wood floors underneath. So we pried those up, too... a week before our wedding. If it had rained the day of the nuptials, we would have had to balance on floor joists while saying our vows.

And the hits just keep coming.

NME said...

GOD. That is serious suckage and house trauma. Aren't I glad that Mark and I are incapable of doing any home improvment by ourselves? It's not that we probably couldn't bluff our way through and do a half decent half-assed job, but Mark feels better paying someone else to do a half decent half-assed job. Or not doing anything at all - which is our current plan of action.

I wish you luck.

Jacques Roux said...

I worked for a neighbor who had his own hardwood floor installing/refinishing business for about a minute. WAY too much physical labor, which I learned was definitely "not my bag" years before whilst laboring on a livestock farm. On top of that, too much time spent on your knees, which is only appropriate if you're a G,G,G girlfriend.

Call a professional, definitely.