Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Storm Before the Calm Before the Storm

 The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activities and various home improvements. I have been nesting for several months now, and my very dear husband has been indulging my insatiable desire to have things *just so* before the baby comes. My nest-feathering instincts, however, have resulted in quite the upheaval with regard to living arrangements!

Dahlias in the garden -- this summer of endless rain has been good for something!

Re-doing our kitchen and guest bathroom floors has been on our list ever since we bought our house. We had a decent laminate hardwood in the kitchen area, but it was apparently installed by five-year-olds. Five-year-olds who decided it was a good idea to cut big squares around every door jamb, and then fill the resulting gap with chunks of flooring. Really, it was that bad. We had linoleum in the guest bath; for the record, I loathe linoleum, but I'm not (quite) such a spoiled brat that I need everything to be perfect right now. This linoleum, though, was so gouged and destroyed that it really was in need of a re-do.

A few months back, as I contemplated my expanding middle, I realized that: A) My belly was not going to get any smaller before the arrival of a newborn, and B) If our master bathroom re-do was any indication, I would be the one actually laying the tile, and Pablo would be mixing, fetching, cutting, etc. It works out great that way.

So if the tile was going to be laid, we needed to do it right away, before my belly expanded even more. Off to Lowes we went, and soon the tiling was underway. And oh, reader! The kitchen tiling is not perfect. Far, far from it. Okay, not too far, but please don't examine the joints too carefully if you come over for tea. At any rate, it's done, and it has improved the space immensely. We're not exactly living in a multi-million dollar mansion, so I'm not going to stress (too much) over a few squiggly spots.

Now, we have made several interesting discoveries during our time in this wee house of ours. I've mentioned the knife in the kitchen drain, and there have been various other curiosities to make us wonder what on earth was going on in the minds of the former homeowners during their time here (for instance, why is the word "HELP" scrawled inside the cabinet in the guest bathroom? Or is it really that hard to paint behind the freestanding over-the-toilet cabinet?).

But this discovery? This one takes the cake. As we pulled up some of the laminate wood flooring in the hall outside the bathroom, we came to the threshold of our carpeted living room. And that's when we realized that they had installed hardwood in the living room, too -- and then at same later point covered it with carpet! Seriously, who does that? Our living room carpet was horribly stained, and starting to buckle (and we hate carpet, anyway). The laminate underneath looked okay, as far as we could tell by pulling up the carpet and padding at the threshold and peering into the depths. So after much deliberation, we pulled out the carpet. Good grief, it was a veritable sandbox under there! Actually, two sandboxes -- one on top of the carpet padding, and one underneath the padding and on top of the laminate. Which just reinforced our desire to never, ever install carpet of our own free will.

And I thought discovering "wood" under the carpet was limited to more mature homes!
Our fears that the carpet was covering some hideous damage to the flooring proved unfounded, much to our relief. The room was outlined in holes from the carpet tack strips, and there was a beautiful squiggly line of adhesive with tufts of carpet padding still attached. But, with the laminate we had salvaged from our kitchen re-do (removed for the previously mentioned appalling installation job), we thought we could pull up all the flooring in the living room and adjoining dining room, and relay the entire thing.

Incidentally, it has also become a sort of game for us to wonder how much money we'll "earn" when we tear something out. It seems that every time we undo a previous "improvement" (can you hear the sarcasm?), we find anywhere from 10 to 50 cents in small coins. As it happens, our flooring project coughed up 65 cents. *wink* We also discovered an ancient pill, which we identified as medication used for both ADHD and narcolepsy. Still not sure how one drug can treat both of those conditions...

While it took much longer than we expected -- but what self-respecting home improvement project doesn't take longer than expected? -- we managed to salvage just enough flooring for the dining and living rooms. Oh, how happy I am to see the last of that carpet!

One of my favorite mysteries so far -- that little (unfinished) threshold was
glued to both the tiny strip of carpet and the laminate flooring. The closet it
belonged to actually had two layers of carpeting!

So now? Our living room furniture is still scattered around the house, awaiting the installation of quarter-round. And we still have the entire living room/kitchen/dining room area to paint, plus we have plans for sprucing up the kitchen cabinets. Oh, and painting the guest bath and re-installing the toilet are high on the priority list, too!

The home improvement storm is far from over, but once the storm has cleared, almost all of our cosmetic improvements will be done. And then we'll have a little calm and a chance to rest before the "storm" of welcoming our precious little one into the world. But that's a storm I'm much more excited to weather!


  1. Wow. Just wow. You've been super-busy, while pregnant & with a toddler, too!! I'm impressed. :). I'm sure it is a great feeling to have accomplished so much feathering of the nest. Now you can enjoy your newborn & your floors simultaneously.
    (in our last apartment, Edmund found a blessedly empty Taser box caught between two kitchen drawers. ????!?!)

  2. Hi Shannon
    It really is a wonder what goes on.
    Anyway, its so much fun to decorate your home,and so lucky you have wood floors!
    Would love it if you would post some "after" pictures.
    Would love to see the way you decorated your rooms. Such fun!


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