Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Incident

A couple of days ago I ventured down into the scary basement to take Joe The Floor Guy's advice and look at the underside of the floors.  Because the actual basement extends under the house for less than half its length (the rest is crawlspace) I knew I wouldn't be able to see much.  I could see all of the kitchen floor (which is not being refinished) and part of the dining room, but I wasn't about to climb up the dirt walls and wiggle around down under the house in all the dust and cobwebs and Lord knows what else just to see the parlor floor.  Most especially not when I'd already pretty much made up my mind to stick with the floors I've got.  (Go back and read the comments after my last post--lots of really good advice there.  Thanks to everyone who commented and gave me food for thought.)

So Charlie and I finished sanding the rest of the floors Friday and Saturday.  Not without incident, however...

We'd been scraping at the black glue and varnish in the corners and along the edges of the three rooms for hours and hours.  It was a long and tedious job, made even longer by the fact that both of us have almost no patience and so we took several breaks to sit outside on the front porch in the sun.  Friday afternoon I walked into the other parlor (where all the furniture's stacked up) looking for something and literally stumbled across a Craftsman Multitool.  I took it to Charlie.

"Look what I found," I chirped.

"Does that thing have a sander on it?" he asked.

"Yep," I said, "and it's got a triangle-shaped head so it'll get back in the corners and there's a whole pack of sandpaper in there and---"

"Where'd you find that?"

"In the other room," I said.  "Dylan and Sarah gave it to me for Christmas three years ago."

Charlie adjusted his hat.  He made that little 'huh" sound he makes when he's stalling.  Then he said, "So you've had that thing this whole time?  And we've been scrapin' glue off with a [bleeping] pull knife and razor blades?!?!"


"Yes...I guess I forgot I had it...."

"How in the hell do you hand scrape for hours and hours and forget you have a multitool?!" Charlie yelled.

I'm hoping that was a rhetorical question, because I didn't answer him.  I just handed him the multitool and walked away.

Needless to say, the rest of the sanding went much quicker than it did in the beginning, so yesterday afternoon I went to Lowe's to pick out stain.  After much agonizing deliberation, I came home with Minwax Golden Oak...which is way too light.  I swear it looked darker on the little sample in the store.  At home it looks, well, golden.  And pale.  So I'll be taking that back as soon as I can and exchanging it for something like Chestnut, which I should have bought in the first place.  If there's rain or snow or other weather that prevents pouring concrete, Charlie will stain the floors Thursday and Friday; if there's concrete weather he'll start the floors on Saturday.  In the meantime I'll be cleaning up lots and lots of dust from the floors and the walls.


  1. That's what I want to know, how do you forget you have a what-cha-ma-call-it little sandy thing? LOL!

    I shouldn't laugh, I'm working on Jack's parents house and I'm sure I'll pull off a few bloopers before I get the job done too.

  2. Hi, found you on houseblogging. I'm currently renovating a a 1875 Philadelphia rowhome...and definitely relating to your post! We haven't started refinishing our floors (or anywhere close to it!) but I can't wait to get to that. I love the picture on your side bar with your house form 1906, that's amazing! I wonder if I can find an old picture of my house...

  3. Milah, I have no idea how I forgot that...out of sight, out of mind, I guess. Good thing Charlie has a sense of humor.

    Rachel, Welcome! One of my neighbors found a newspaper article from the early 1980s in the archives of the local museum and it had that photo with it, hence the bad quality. You might check with a museum in your area or look through old newspapers on microfilm to see if you can find an old photo of your house. Sometimes tax records have old photos of properties as well, though I haven't had very good luck with that.

  4. I can totally picture you handing to him with a cheesy grin and walking away. Only because I would do the same.

  5. Rachel, You might ask any neighbors whose families have lived there for awhile. They might have photos with your house in the background.

  6. Oh. That kind of incident.

    Well, at least you didn't lock yourself in the cellar. That's where I thought you were going at first.