Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Tale of the Terrible Flooring Project

Hey Y'all!

Seeing as how I've been a blogging slacker as of late, I'm trying to catch you up on the goings on of the Grasham-Reeves. See my previous post for vet visits, birthday parties and anniversaries.

Oh - I forgot - we went to see our friends Chris and Natalie in Houston and we went to a baseball game. Blech. I'm glad they liked it. WHAT A BORING SPORT!!!! But the pictures are good, so I'll include those:Cliff and Chris show the thrilling process of buying tickets. I was expecting to pay some hefty prices, but we actually only paid $7 each. That's cheaper than a trip to the movies!!

This is why the tickets were so cheap. We were maybe 12 rows from the CEILING of the ballpark. I had some trouble with the impending death by falling that seemed to threaten every time I wanted to get up and get food/go to the bathroom/seventh inning stretch

But Beffy, you say, if you dislike baseball so much, where did you get an Astros jersey?
From Natalie, of course!

Frankly, the game would have been a LOT more entertaining if the bats and balls had decided en masse - "we're out of here!"

The Moores. We miss them.
August and September were much less fun than the above...much less. Why you ask? You should have had a great time - School started! And fall is coming! And Heroes came back! Well, yes those are all good things. But they were all overshadowed by one ominous and terrible event: Cliff and I refinishing our floors.

::Sigh:: Things are never as easy as they seem to be on the Home Depot Do It Yourself Website.

Here's what we started with:

Ugly Orange Carpet from the late 70's.

Cliff and I had long discussed convincing our landlord to replace the carpet with something else, preferably all of one color and texture. We figured laminate flooring could go on the concrete slab beneath the carpet - we would offer up our services to the landlord and do all the work if he would let us deduct the cost of materials from our rent. He agreed. WHEE!

So we pulled up the carpet, and what did we find?: HARDWOOD FLOORING!!

Well, we figured then, why put laminate down when we could just refinish the floor ourselves? Hardwood is better than laminate and we would have the satisfaction of improving our duplex with our own four hands. So we called the landlord, and he agreed with us, so we went about the business of pulling up carpet and renting a sander and all that jazz. Everything we read said we could do the sanding in a day and the varnishing within 3 and be done. Less than a week for a new floor? DONE!

So, one Sunday in late August, I came home to Cliff pulling up the carpet. You'll see the carpet on the right and the hardwood on the left and my cat in the middle being helpful as only cats can be.Good kitty.

But before we could take all the carpet out, we had to move our couches. Where might you ask? Well, the larger one (below) we moved into the kitchen. That's right...the kitchen. It would only be there a couple of days, right? What could go wrong?
Take that gravity!

The smaller blue couch (below) we tipped on it's side against the office door. It would only be a couple of days, right?
Ghost again, surveying all that he rules over.

The bookcase went into our bedroom, as did the tv, while the dining room table got taken apart, and slid in behind the blue couch, and the entertainment center, speakers, coffee table and pictures went into the office. Whew. We own lots of stuff.

So I went down to Action Rentals and rented a Square Buff Sander for a day, along with three different grains of sand paper and a white pad. Cliff picked the sander up one Wednesday morning (his day off) and I went to work.
The infamous sander

Around 10am, I started getting frantic texts and phone calls from Cliff - the sand paper wasn't getting very far before it was ruined. The left over carpet padding residue and glue wasn't coming up without ruining the paper. So Cliff was going to Home depot to get some stuff that would lift the glue up. Sounded good to me.

Except some IDIOT gave Cliff Goo-Gone saying that would lift up the residue. ARE YOU KIDDING? GOO GONE? Cliff called me again - the goo-gone wasn't working. So I came home during lunch and tried to help him. He was so frustrated he had to leave the room (understandably). I scrubbed for a while and then decided that we needed a stronger solvent. So I headed to Lowes (family preference) found an employee and purchased the strongest chemical solvent I could. It was strong - I promise you. So I came home and started to use it. It worked. I got all of the carpet glue reside up, called the Rental place, rented the sander for another day and purchased more sandpaper. Cliff called in a "family emergency" and we settled in to try another day.

Thursday dawns. We're hopeful that the sanding will progress and that we can get our jumbled lives back soon. I head off to work again. And then I start getting calls and texts again - the sand paper is still getting ruined. Not all the adhesive is up. I start googling to see what the problem is and read (to my horror) that older houses (OURS) with hardwood floors (OURS) used WAX instead of VARNISH to finish the floors. CRAP. There is no way that sander can lift that wax/varnish/evil substance of doom. Only a drum sander could, and there was no way that Cliff and I could use a drum sander.

So I go to Lowes again that night and purchase varnish stripper - the employees must of thought I had a chemical fetish. I bring that home (Cliff again has vacated the premises so he doesn't try to blow up the house in frustration) and start to strip the varnish off the floor. It's working. I go through the first gallon can before the floor is finished. So I go buy more cans. And use those. I'm still optimistic (family trait) that this step will get us to a place where the sander is working. Cliff, pessimistic (family trait), starts to look up the costs of bringing in professionals. No way we can pay those prices. We consult with our landlord - he's already let us deduct our failed attempt from one month's rent - will he let us do it again? YES?! AWESOME. BEST LANDLORD EVER.

Weeks have gone by. Two? Three? I don't know - it all mixes together in my head. We're miserable - we have to eat all of our meals in bed (where else could we?) We have to watch movies on Cliff's laptop. We can't have friends over. The house smells like a chemistry set blew up so we get high just coming home. We can't get to the laundry room or kitchen without having to vault over couches. Cliff is so frustrated I feared he might pull a Peter Petrelli and go nuclear on the neighborhood. I just try to stay positive. And then I plan on my Saturday off to rent the sander again and have a go at it. It's September by this time. Cliff is worried I won't be able to handle the weight of the sander, but I resolve to try anyway.

Second Round - I rent the sander, sand paper, white pad. Pick up saturday, return on Monday. That gives us a buffer Sunday if there are any problems. Cliff and I figure that I'll be half way done when he gets back from lunch. Whatever - I'll sand into the night if I have to. So we get back from picking up the sander, and Cliff is getting ready for work. I clear the floor of gallon cans and plastic sheets, paintbrushes and trash. And I start. And it goes fast. VERY fast. I'm halfway across the room with grain 20 by the time Cliff leaves. I actually finish the whole floor by the time Cliff comes home for lunch.

After weeks of stress and misery and chemical intoxication, the floor is sanded in 3 hours. Talk about anticlimactic. I go to his grandfather's house and borrow some hand sanders to get the flooring along the walls and the closets. I go to Lowes and buy some varnish for the floor. A couple of days later we're varnished, cleaned and moved back in. I can't find the camera or I'd upload a picture for you of the end result.

Suffice it to say, Cliff and I won't be doing any home renovations for a while.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this was absolutely hilarious. I laughed out loud reading it...i mean...I was laughing WITH you. wow. well you MUST upload some photos. I'm sure it looks fabulous.