I happened to pin a picture with the phrase “Work your ass off an never give up” a few days ago, and throughout the weekend when I would start making noises that could only be classified as extreme frustration and/or a cow being swung around by its tail, my mom (who follows my pins) would shout from the other room where she was determinedly scrubbing out my cabinets, “Remember… work your ass off and never give up!”
After seven years of documenting my home renovations, I’m beyond the point where I expect any project I work on to come off as easy as the ones you see on TV. I expect a few bumps in the road, and the last few days have given me plenty. (And I’m not saying I don’t swear a little and throw my tools around, but that doesn’t mean I’m not loving every minute of working my ass off.)
Here are some of the projects this weekend that did not go as planned:
1.) Opening the french doors to the patio. The company that auctioned this house of screwed the doors shut, which, fine, whatever, I’ll just remove the screws, except…
Yeah. Broken screw through the bottom of the door. Which meant hours of this:
I mean, literally hours. I wore through two $15 blades (this one being the incorrect type of blade, by the way, but it was all I had left and I was determined.)
Apparently this screw was made of adamantium, except for the part that snapped in half. I didn’t think I was making any progress at all, so I finally called my dad up and was like, “I’m about to throw a pry-bar through a very expensive door, suggest an alternate course of action please.” And then he came up to the house and five minutes later I had to stop him from throwing a pry-bar through a very expensive door. We have similar temperaments. In the end he managed to pop the door open by prying between the door and metal weatherstripping on the outside. Turns out all that sawing was working and there was just the tiniest bit of metal holding the door in place.
It did require taking the door off the hinges once it was open and sanding down the threshold. It still sticks but at least it opens.
2.) Removal of the improperly winterized sink faucet. This was yet another project that seemed like it should have been relatively straightforward (I can’t tell you how many faucets I’ve switched out at this point) but instead it took two days of me periodically doing this…
And sometimes this…
Not to mention $40 in new tools, and letting both a young guy and an old guy take a turn under the sink before we ended up with this. (Protip: Seriously, just hit it with a hammer.)
3.) Carpet removal. I’ve never removed carpet from stairs before, but holy staples, just getting the bottom two stairs off was a better quad workout than doing squats at the gym.
(This was prior to heat and global warming, obviously, which is why I’m wearing 50 layers.) Apparently there’s a very easy way to get carpet off of your stairs and it consists of bribery in the form of six pints of Ben & Jerry’s. Who knew?
4.) Refinishing the hardwood floor. This was actually what I spent most of my time on over the last four days, which is why I’m grateful for everyone who came up to the house and helped with the myriad of other little projects that I didn’t have time to tackle because I was too busy getting six new blisters on my hands.
Based on my other refinishing experiences, using the drum sander I expected to have to make maybe two passes over each section of the floor per sandpaper grit. So maybe six passes total. Ha.
This is what the floor looked like after maybe ten passes of the coarsest grit sandpaper I had. Because the wood floors sat in sub-freezing temps for the winter, the boards began to cup at the edges, and that added to the 15 layers of shellac on these things made sanding a less-than-efficient process.
About 5 hours into this process I realized there was no way I was going to be able to get all of the floors done over the weekend, so I readjusted my plan to just finish the floors in the “study” which is going to be my temporary bedroom.
After 10 hours I thought I may not be able to even get that done.
After 15 hours, I decided that I would be dammed if I didn’t get this room done, but that it was definitely going to be more cost effective for me to hire out the other two rooms instead of renting the sander for another two weeks and taking all of my vacation days from work just to sand down the floors. I have a house to paint and a barn to side, after all.
Even simple tasks like removing the quarter-round were difficult because of the thirteen coats of poly someone put over them, effectively gluing them to the floor.
And of course the edger couldn’t reach under the radiators, and did a rather ineffectual job (again, thanks to those warped boards.)
So… you can say that didn’t go quite like I planned, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. And, even though my muscles are so sore that it hurts to type this, it’s all worth it because this room is now officially ready for stain.
It may not be all the way dry by move-in day, but I’ll just park my mattress in the world’s biggest hallway for a few days if necessary. We all know it won’t be my first time sleeping in the middle of a construction zone.
There are still a lot more little projects to tackle, not to mention a lot of things to move, in the next couple of days. I’ve been flopping onto my bed covered in sawdust and passing out from sheer physical exhaustion each night, which, let me tell you, feels fantastic after a month of not being able to sleep because of the house-buying anxiety.
I wouldn’t trade this work for anything, and I can’t wait to be living smack in the middle of all this
chaos awesomeness. It’s just where I’m meant to be.