Monday, June 28, 2010

Well, well. . . my floor obsession

has been fulfilled.
We now have hardwoods throughout the house. After approximately 12 hours (between 2 rooms and 1 hallway) and for the low price of $25, the house now has hardwoods throughout. The latest room?

I am delighted. Next up? Painting the bathroom and the closets, but that might require a new post. . .

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Zombie Dreams

So I woke up at 4:45 a.m. with a start. I'd had a horrible nightmare. Scene: Dad's house, but it was a giant mansion in Montana (Sorry Dad, in my dream world, you'd gone long down the NRA path to stockpiling, but in dream world that was a good idea seeing as zombies were taking over). The windows are screened over with titanium screening (yeah, Dad's awesome. He's got everything) and the house is triple reinforced with 2 porches built around the perimeter.

The family is having a comfy breakfast of. . . canned beans. Then Lilly decides to take Dad's two dogs out to porch #2 for a walk. Of course, Tim goes with her. There's a break in the screen - and one dog jumps through - the other right after it. They greet another dog on the ground, then jump back in - but they've CAUGHT THE ZOMBIE so we violently kick the dogs out, all the while wondering WTF perimeter 2 had a breach built into the system. Dumb dumb dumb. Then I turn and Lilly's got a bloody nose - she caught the zombie too. Then I run inside but Tim's there on the porch holding our little girl. I get inside, lock the doors, then catch some sort of OCD and wash my hands. . . in our drinking water. And end scene.

So let me tell you what's cool about this dream:
  • Dad had titanium fencing. Rockin.
  • His house? Awesome
  • My husband = good father. Way better than me, right? Because I ran. . . and he stayed and doled out the lovin' and caught the zombie.

Now let me tell you what's totally wrong about this dream:

  • My Dad, given the opportunity to install titanium fencing, would NEVER leave an 18" by 18" gap. EVER. Even if he ran out of fencing, something else would be there. Steel. Old batteries duct taped together. Something. Dad might build some funny rigs, but they're always solid.
  • Dogs? No way dude. Everybody who's seen a zombie movie knows that dogs are only a good idea if they can't catch the zombie. If they can't, they make great companions. But if they catch the zombie, they just give you one more reason not to sleep.
  • I like Zombieland. I like my zombie movies FUN and DELIGHTFUL. I don't dig on a zombie movie that's all moral-conundrum and hellish dilemmas. No way dude. I want Cheers's Woody bashing in zombie heads with a guitar. Hell yeah.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bad Homeowner, postscript:

Well, maybe I'm OK.
Let's look:

Before: Note dust-colored carpet. Please also note this duct-tape-lover's method of rolling said carpet to put in the garbage. It's so neat and tidy, isn't it?

Now here we are with uncovered floors. Rough, but we got rid of 30 years of dust, so that's worth something, right? After a few suggestions from the internet and friends online, I opted to treat the dark stains with OxyClean Pet Stain Enzyme Remover (the cheaper of the available enzyme cleaners: $5 on sale at PetSmart). I applied the remover, generously soaking the area, then covered with saran wrap (as directed by one of billions of internet tutorials I found). I then re-attacked the area with the remover and discovered something was turning white. So I did what any reasonable person would do: I grabbed a putty knife and scraped the nastiness off of the floor. I don't think it was wax: I'm fairly certain it was some sort of adhesive. Whatever it was, it's gone now. There were still slight stains after I went through the enzyme treatment, so I treated with hydrogen peroxide ($1) and left it to sit for about an hour before reapplying the peroxide. I allowed everything to dry for about 4 hours, then I covered it with a coat of Orange Glo Floor Refinisher ($15). This is a thin, self-levelling polyurethane product that, I'll be honest, is miraculous. It's infomercial awesome.


(If you turn this photo 90 degrees, you'll be looking at the same areas you see in the photo above it - what appears in the upper left of the 2nd photo is the upper right of this photo. What used to be a dark black stain now appears to be. . . somewhat disclored wood floor.)

I keep talking to Tim about it, not because I'm proud of myself, but because I'm just so amazed. Stunned, even.

Thank you friends for the recommendation. And thank you Floor Dr. Google, for coming through.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Diary of a Bad Homeowner, Part II:

I forgot to mention another project I've been working on!
The house-flippers who did strange renovations (and chose strange paint colors) installed beautiful tiled floors in the bathroom, kitchen, and entryway.
Then they failed to seal the grout between the tiles.
Being a had homeowner, I had no idea that grout required anything but the occasional scrub. Over the ensuing years, then, our grout went from a beautiful off-white to. . .
This. It's horrible, I know. I'll have you know that this is after some good old fashioned elbow-greased hand-scrubbing. Sadly, that dirt has permanently fused with the grout. The only way to remove it is to remove the grout. But you can. . . cover it. I found a product at my local Home Depot (after perusing for hours because I'm a girl and I feel weird asking for help there which is dumb because every time I DO ask for help they make me feel awesome and empowered but hey that's my hangup to get over, huh, and besides 2 hours in Home Depot sans children on a Saturday is 2 hours of wandering bliss, right?) that was a latex paint AND sealant for grout. Easy peasy, right? Just grab a paint brush, paint the grout, and meticulously clean the sealant from any tile with which it comes into contact.

Voila. Look at the upper part of that picture -- see those beautiful grout-lines? Amazing.

Okay look, I'll be honest. I started this project in March of '09. Maybe even February. I did the kitchen and it was beautiful. Then I put everything away and vowed to do the rest later. It occurs to me now, though, that I have about 6 months to do these sorts of projects before I run out of spare hands to do these sorts of projects, so I finished the rest of the tile in the house.

I feel pretty awesome.

Diary of a Bad Homeowner, Part I:

So we bought our house 5 years ago and got the keys about 5 days before we moved in. I had such plans - PAINT the thing on the inside, top to bottom (to rid ourselves of the flat pea green paint the seller had "custom made" for the house), rip up the carpets, consider reconditioning the floors, and turn the patio door around so it was no longer backwards.
Instantly, those plans melted into some painting here and there, ripping up the carpet in our Master bedroom, cursing those little tack strips and vowing that if the carpet ever got ripped up it would be by my dollar and someone else's hand. Then we fell into the chaos of home ownership: a few new appliances, a backed up sewer, a sprinkler system that froze on the first of May, you know, things like that.
And since then, I have hated our carpets. Look, it's not bad carpet - it's Berber that's held up strangely well, covering up the fact that it was once white but is now entirely gray and is probably 20 years old. I knew we had hardwoods under the carpet - throughout the house - but what I didn't know was the condition of the hardwoods.
And here's where I should tell you something about myself: Typically speaking, if I cannot finish it in a day, I don't start it. I grade all of my students' essays in a day, upload an entire unit in a day, try to complete each and every home project I take on in. . . you guessed it. . . a day. This, as you all know (and I do too) is absolutely unreasonable when it comes to larger projects like, say, pulling up carpet and reconditioning hardwoods. Hardwood floors take time. They take effort. But here's what's lovely: They don't spark 3 hour long allergy attacks in my husband.
So while we were out of town, I decided I was going to pull up the remaining carpets in our house. I would take my time, yes. There's the pulling up carpet, hacking it to bits to put in the trash, using needle-nose pliers to pull the staples, crow-barring the tack strips, then the dust, dust, and more dust, and the cleanup. Oy. So I would do it. . . and being pregnant, I would do it slowly.
And then came last night.
At about midnight, I decided to go back and pull up a corner. Just to see what was underneath. Unfortunately, I picked the most damaged and horrid corner of the room. . . but within 2 minutes of showing Tim, he began to have a terrible allergy attack. I KNEW I couldn't abide keeping these carpets - we're ALL keeled over with allergies right now and I'm telling you, it's the carpet.
So today, it began.

This is the room at nearly the beginning of the project. It's hard, really, to get a good idea of what the carpets look like up close. Suffice to say, their original coloring should match the wall on the inside of the closet. It doesn't.

This is what I like to call the "bad" corner. There's some major wear and tear as well as animal-related (I can only assume, because I choose to assume a dog left that mess and not another urinating animal) staining. From what I understand, short of sanding and refinishing, we might be able to ligten but we'll never remove the stains. I think I'm OK with that, so long as we have no more carpet and can, you know, breathe. There's always throw rugs, right?

So here's the finished project - in this photo is the area with the greatest wear and tear. The other side of the room was most likely covered with a rug or a bed.
And here's the beautiful side. Oh, look at those sweet shiny floors. Forget raindrops on roses, hardwoods are one of my favorite things. And this is just day one - I've pulled everything up and hand-washed (with vinegar and water) the floor, but I haven't used any finishing treatments or stain removers on it yet. Those pictures will likely follow. . .

Monday, June 14, 2010

Okay, for real, an update.

What I've been working on is this: Hats for a sale at Relay for Life that we called "Lids for Life." Hours upon hours of knitting . . . and a most unfortunate thing happened to us.

Precious few sold. As a fundraiser, I'd be quick to note that we made nearly $150 on the sale of hats, so it wasn't a failure BUT we had so many leftovers, it's a shame. The leftover hats are destined to make their way to the Methodist Estabrook cancer center in Omaha, NE, where my stepfather did his cancer treatments. I hope they bring warmth and joy to the patients there.

I have pictures. Unfortunately, I'm still on the road - I'll revisit in a few days with photographs of everyone's lovely work. And it was LOVELY. I cannot begin to share the kind of talent that exists among my friends and family.

And now, in other news, since I'm 16 weeks pregnant and felt my first big from-the-outside belly kick yesterday?

We're moving on to some baby knitting. Yessireee, it might just be time to knit some BABY stuff. :)

So last night, while watching the local Kearney news. . .

baby Grr decided to announce him/herself with some most excellent kicks. Then I grabbed Tim's hand and put it low on my belly and. . . baby Grr decided it was some sort of Karate Kid training tool. We got punches and kicks and twirls and the most amazing feeling that maybe, perhaps, potentially, someday we will get to meet this baby.

And I was delighted.

Also, it was an excellent distraction from the indescribable helmet-head of the young newscaster. I can only explain last night's news by what I said to Tim: "Does UNK have a journalism training school? Have they given Sunday nights over to the kiddos? I think these are interns."

Still, I must say, between seeing local news that doesn't include the ugliness of our local news (it was more "This just in: Dogs were at the Museum today!" and "Lookit this rain!" than "Man murdered in Aurora, CO" or "Woman arrested for thousands of ugly things in Aurora.") and feeling baby Grr's evening training session, we were both in heaven.
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