Category Archives: Home Improvement

Misadventures in Caulking

If you read my last post, you know that we had a bit of snow this past weekend.  But what you might not know is, that in addition to my wonderful nature adventures outside, I also spent time inside having a few other misadventures.  In hearing that snow was expected in our forecast, I figured that would be a good time to buckle down and finally try finishing up some of the home improvement projects I have going on around here – one of which being to caulk around the tub/shower and the sink in the upstairs bathroom.  It was a tremendous amount of work for me, but was made much more bearable with the helpful assistance and comic relief of my sister.  And my Mom’s cat, Gus.

In case you or someone you know is considering doing a caulking project with a sister or a cat in the future, I’ve compiled an easy set of step-by-step instructions to help you get started.

But not really.  😉

 

Caulking with Cats: In Three Easy Steps

Step One:  Before beginning your project, be sure to leave the door open for proper ventilation so your cat can come in and inspect the area.

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Step Two:  Clean all surface areas cat thoroughly.

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It is a bathtub after all

Step Three:  Cover the tub drain to prevent any debris from going down the drain.  i.e. Let your cat cover it for you.

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Because it obviously amuses him immensely

Additional Tip:  Even though it’s very distracting and may cause long delays in the final completion of your project, it’s good to allow your cat as much time as he requires to frolic around in the bathtub, as this provides cheap entertainment for you, makes the job more enjoyable in the long run, and ensures a good, positive attitude should difficulties later arise during your project.

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 Which they most certainly will…

 

Because seriously, who knew caulking would be so difficult?  I sure didn’t.  I had never done it before, so I went and watched this YouTube video… “How to Caulk a Bathtub with Beautiful Results”  ‘Beautiful results’ my foot!  The lady on the video made it look oh so easy, but it definitely wasn’t.

The part I struggled with the most was that damn caulking gun –  for the life of me, I couldn’t squeeze the trigger hard enough with my weak girlie hands to get the caulk to come out.  My sister even had trouble doing it, and she’s one tough broad.  After quite a bit of effort on her part, she was able to get it to come out, however, she couldn’t aim it properly and the caulk was kinda going all over the place, so I had to get into the tub with her to help steer the tip along the edge of where I wanted it to go.  It was extremely awkward with the two of us trying to maneuver in the tub with a messy caulking gun, it sorta felt like we were playing a game of Twister, and neither of us is as flexible as we used to be.  It was funny though and we laughed a lot in the process.  My sister always makes things more fun, and I’m so grateful for her help.  ❤

Another problem I had was trying to remove the old caulk, it was easy enough taking off the most recent layer which had greatly deteriorated, but since the layer previous to that hadn’t been removed, it was hardened like cement…

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In the video, the lady used a dremel, and that worked pretty slick, but I didn’t have one of those and didn’t want the added expense of buying one, so I used this totally worthless tool instead…

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I didn’t know it was going to be worthless, it came in a caulking kit I had bought previously, that also included edging tools for sealing the caulk without leaving seams – those were equally as worthless.  Oh well, live and learn, right?  I ended up using the tip of a tiny screwdriver and was able to remove most of it with that, but it was beastly work.

The one tip I was most grateful for from watching the video was that she taped it all off.  I’ve always loved painting a room and enjoy going around and taping over everything beforehand, but I hadn’t thought of taping for caulking.  It really helped with the mess from the excess caulk as I was going over it with the edging tool.  My sister snapped this slightly awkward angled photo with her phone while I was in the tub doing some of the taping.

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We ran out of caulk partway through and had to take a drive to The Home Depot to get more.  I decided I was done working with that damned caulking gun – it was much too difficult to use and I didn’t even want to imagine the messy job we would do with it in trying to complete the finer detailed work I needed to do around the sink area, so I bought small hand-squeeze type of bottles of caulk instead.  They were much easier to work with, but way over priced compared to the tubes that are used with the guns.  That pissed me off a little because it felt like I was being penalized for having weak hands.  Plus, they contained much less of the product, and if there’s less product, it should cost less, not more.

Anyway, I guess it was worth it to me though because everything went real smoothly after that.  Literally.  See the nice, smooth finished line I made with it…

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Unfortunately, I have a lot of other areas that aren’t as smooth, and I’ll need to go back over them and try to fix/touch them up because it got really sloppy in some spots, especially in the corners.  I’m embarrassed even showing the crappy job I did here…

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Smudged up that corner for sure.  Oops!

But in the end, I’m pretty dang proud of myself for tackling this project. And I did a fairly decent job for someone who had no clue wtf they were doing.

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Of course it helped a great deal to have my big sister and my mom’s cat lending me a hand paw.  😉

 

The next thing I want to do in the bathroom is re-grout all the tile, but we may need to hire a professional for that because I’m not sure I could do a good enough job, and I have serious doubts that watching a YouTube video on how to do it would be a true representation of how beautiful the results would really be.  Plus, nearly the entire bathroom is tile and ‘thatsa lotsa mozzarella,’ not only for my weak girlie hands, but also for my knees.

I’ve been working on this bathroom off and on for a of couple years now.  That’s a ridiculous amount of time for such a small room, I know, but I do have other things going on in my world as well.  Also, we needed to hire some painters to fix the drywall underneath the wallpaper I had removed (See: Misadventure and Mixed Pleasures in Wallpaper Removal), and they had to come back several times over the course of several months because they screwed up on some things and needed to fix them, and they kept blowing us off.  That was a nightmare all in its own which I won’t go into, but suffice to say, it’s not just my slow pace that has made this such a long process.

Anyway, thanks so much for taking the time to read about my latest misadventures in home improvement, I really appreciate it, I know it’s different from the things I usually post.  If you’re interested in seeing what else I’ve been doing in the bathroom (I mean aside from the ‘usual things’ people do in bathrooms), you can click the post I linked above or see Remodeling and Redecorating: The Story Continues.

Have a lovely day…

 

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

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Misadventures and Mixed Pleasures in Wallpaper Removal

The other day, without too much forethought or preparation I went in to test an area of the peeling wallpaper in the upstairs bathroom.  Although I had only intended on testing a small area, I ended up doing one whole entire wall (albeit a very small “whole entire wall,” but a whole wall just the same ;)).   Call me weird, but there’s just something about peeling and picking in general that tends to fascinate me, and once I got going I couldn’t seem to stop myself.

Because the top layer of the wallpaper was already peeling so badly, it came off without much effort (that was the fun part), but the backing… a whole other story.  And the worst part is… whoever installed the wallpaper  (37 years ago) did not prep/prime the wall underneath, so as I attempted to remove the backing of the wallpaper, some of the surface of the drywall peeled off right along with it.  This is bad.  Bad, bad, bad.

I am so disappointed about that because it means that I’m going to have to try and figure out how to repair the drywall, and I have no idea how to do that.  I mean, I can spackle nail holes and slight imperfections reasonably well in preparation for painting, but mudding drywall (which I believe this is going to require) = no clue.  Yeah, not feeling particularly confident there.  At all.

But I’m going to try not fret about that right now, because I’m actually rather enjoying this process.  It’s a bit hard on me, I have bad knees and standing for any length of time really takes its toll on me, so I have to pace myself and just do small amounts at a time, but while I was working, I had a really good mind-set.

Not only did it just feel good to peel stuff, but there was also something that felt very renewing about getting rid of that old, cracked, and decrepit top layer of wallpaper, scraping away the more than slightly resistant backing, and then just getting underneath it all to the foundation of the wall.

<insert life lessons type of metaphor here>

Also, while I worked, the birds were twittering away in the lilac bush outside the windows, and singing me a sweet symphony with their cheerful little chirping sounds.  It was lovely and made my heart feel light.  ♥

When I was able to peel myself away from my peeling, I went and grabbed my camera to see if I could catch a picture of them, and I found that the lilac bush has buds on it!  Yay, finally!

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Yes.. there is hope ~ SPRING is coming!  🙂

~

And I did catch a shot of a little sparrow looking warily at me.  I think I interrupted its singing performance…

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~

Okay, so back to the wallpaper…

Afterwards, I went online to read up a bit and watched numerous “how to” videos on wallpaper removal, and I’ve decided to go out today and get some chemical wallpaper removal stuff.  I really don’t like using chemicals.  I prefer using more natural methods of doing things, but I think it may help me get the rest of this done more effectively.  I’m just going to get a small amount and test it out to see how it works.  I also have the removal of the downstairs bathroom and the kitchen wallpaper looming ahead of me at some point in the future, and I really need to find the most efficient way to do this.

Here is the one photo that was taken of my wallpaper removal misadventures. My daughter came in and snapped this as I was nearing the finishing line removing what was remaining on my “whole entire wall” that I did.  😉

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~

And look what was just below me underneath that window as I worked…  my little garden box.  Doesn’t look like much, still all covered in snow.  😦

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But… the lilacs are budding and eventually the temps will be rising, so hopefully I’ll be digging around in you soon little garden.  ♥

Gotta take care of this wallpaper first, anyway…

😉

~

Remodeling and Redecorating: The Story Continues…

Aside from my having a serious case of spring fever, and being filled with anticipation and excitement about being able to get back out in my garden again, I also have remodeling and redecorating on my mind.

Those of you who have been “rambling” with me for a while are aware that I recently moved back home and began updating my mom’s house.  Last summer I began a series of posts entitled “Relocating, Remodeling, & Readjustments” to share about some of that.  I have them listed under “Home Improvement” in my categories section if you care to take a look at the suffering and torture I’ve endured thus far.  😉

Seriously though, it really has been quite an undertaking,  I’m a bit on the girlie side and not the handyman/handywoman type, so it’s been very challenging for me, to say the least.

Most of the focus so far has been on the upstairs of the house, as all of our bedrooms needed major updating prior to moving in (I nearly killed myself redoing the floors in mine and my mom’s rooms).  But there is still one room remaining upstairs that needs doing ~ the bathroom.  And before beginning any updates on the downstairs, I really want to get that finished first.

I found an old draft from August that I had started writing about the bathroom and thought I would publish it now since I am contemplating once again about taking care of some bathroom business…

Relocating, Remodeling, & Readjustments ~ Bathroom Business

Next up on our list of things to take care of at my mom’s house is the bathroom.

Over the course of time things tend to wear out, and one of those things was the bath/shower fixture in my mom’s main bathroom.  Some of the tile had shifted away and separated from around the faucet area, so a bit of leaking had developed which could cause serious problems down the road.  That would be bad…

With my not having a clue as how to do anything in the realm of plumbing, my mom called a local plumber and made arrangements to have this fixed.

  ~

Well, a plumber came and while he was out attending to something in his truck, I went in there to sneak a peek and snap a quick photo of his progress. Here it is after the old fixture had been removed.  It looks pretty yucky inside there.

~

In order for him to have full access to the pipes, he needed to create access from the other side of the wall, so he cut a hole in the wall inside my daughter’s closet.

This photo is the view from that side.  You can see that the wall directly behind the faucet definitely had some water damage from leaking behind the tile.  Of course the worst of it had already been cut out.

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No worries about having a gaping hole in my daughter’s closet because he put in a nice little access panel over it.

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Here is the new fixture, all bright and shiny!

~

Next up was getting a handyman to come in to replace/repair the wall behind it and fix the tile.  Plumbers don’t do that part.  We found a very nice handyman guy, named Joe to do the work for us.  His fee was reasonable and he turned out being handy for a few other things as well.

We ran into a bit of a problem with the tile because the new fixture is not the same size/shape as the old one, so we were not able to reuse the tile that was removed from the area, and matching the color of tile from 36 years ago… yeah, not gonna happen.  We thought it would be nice to find a complimentary contrasting color that would pick up some of the colors in the floor tile, but that proved to be more difficult than it was worth.

So we just got white.

Blah.  Not the fanciest, but it does blend in somewhat with the white tub, and it’s 100 times better than it was.  Handyman Joe did a great job!

~

While he was waiting for the grout to dry, Joe fixed my bedroom closet door that kept slipping out of its track whenever I opened or closed it, adjusted my daughter’s bedroom door that would get stuck shut whenever you closed it all the way, and fixed two other pieces of tile that were missing from another section of the wall in the bathroom.  All at no extra charge!

He also came back a different day and framed in around the inside of windows in the bathroom for us.  This was something left unfinished from when my parents remodeled last time.  There had been a problem with ordering the right sized windows or something like that, and since there were curtains that my parents kept closed the majority of the time in there, it just never got attended to.  But I want to hang blinds in there so we needed it to be finished off a little better.

Before

And after…

There is still a thin unfinished strip of space that was uneven between the piece of wood he put in and the window, but all I need to do is paint it white and I think it’ll look just fine once I put the blinds in.  🙂

~

My mom’s tub also had a crack in it, so we had to get that repaired as well.  Handyman Joe didn’t do that type of work, so my mom called a placed called Surface Specialties to fix it.

Here is is before…

And after…

Nothing like posting a completely blank photo that looks like absolutely nothing, but this is the repaired area so there ya have it.  😉

~

The next plans for remodeling as far as this bathroom goes will be replacing this wallpaper that is peeling.  I’ve never removed wallpaper before so I’m kinda, sorta worried about the process.

~

Also, the light fixtures in the bathroom look quite outdated (as is the case in the rest of the house as well), but I like these that are hanging in there, so I don’t care if they’re outdated, they’re staying.  🙂

~

So there you have it, that was the draft that I previously wrote about the bathroom.  Taking off the wallpaper is first on my agenda of what to do in there next, and I’m feeling really nervous about it.  I’ll have to read up on it, hopefully it doesn’t give me too much trouble.  Wish me luck…

Coming Up For Air

Well wow I sure have had a busy past few weeks here in my little world!  I feel bad for being neglectful of my blog, but I’ve been extremely busy and haven’t had the time, much less the inspiration for writing anything of value.  Not that I do now either.  😉  But I do have an update on the relocating, remodeling & readjustments front as well as in the garden.

We’re all moved in over at my mom’s house.  Not all unpacked, but moved, and man it has been an unbelievable amount of work!  I’ve decided that I really rather hate moving.  Well, I already knew that, but I am just reiterating it.  I sure would love to just be able to “be” and never have to move ever again, but I have to face the fact that the ebb and flow of life is constantly filled with change and thus my moving days are most likely not over yet.

I think because this particular move was done in conjunction with all the remodeling, and has all taken place over the course of several months is the reason it has felt so very overwhelming, especially when it’s pretty much just been myself, my daughter, and my mom doing it all.  I did have help here and there from my sis and also from a couple of good friends who stepped in along the way, and I am feeling very grateful for them.  And for having enough stamina to even accomplish it all.

My last Relocating, Remodeling, & Readjustments post was about my room and I must say that I am very happy with it!  It’s sort of weird being in my old room again that I grew up in, but because the decor is so completely different it has a whole new kind of vibe.  I love it and feel so thankful.

Once I come up for air out from underneath the dozens of boxes piled everywhere I’ll try and take a few photos to share.  Sorry, I know things are more fun to read with pictures.  😉

~

In gardening news…

With the chilly temps of autumn well underway here in Minnesota, the growing season is definitely done here, but my celery still seems to be coming right along, as is my oregano and rosemary.  I am just going to leave them to it and hope that maybe my celery will eventually mature enough to harvest.  As I mentioned in an earlier gardening post, my giant zucchini blocked the sun from reaching my celery for most of the summer, so I don’t know that it will reach the harvesting point before the real cold weather comes.

~

And just so this post isn’t completely devoid of photos, here are a couple I took earlier in the fall season when I managed to take a little bit of time in between all the moving to get out and enjoy some of the fall color…

This is from a day when my sis and I took a little drive up to Taylor’s Falls and I happened to have my camera along.  It’s so lovely along the St. Croix River~

And I snapped this shot one day on a drive with my mom to Annandale to bring her cat to the vet there.  I love me the color of Maple trees in the fall!~

And this is a pretty little “bouquet” of autumn leaves I collected one day when I stopped in at a local park on a whim while out running errands.  It’s taken with my cell phone so the quality isn’t the greatest, but you can still see how happy and colorful it was.  I must say that I’ve never seen such a wonderful variety of beautiful colors all in one place before, and these were just a small sampling!  ~

There are still some areas of lovely fall color in and around the Twin Cities, but it is all definitely coming to an end.  With all of the stuff we moved out of my mom’s house and into her garage during the remodeling I had thoughts of trying to put together a garage sale before winter hits, but I decided the other day that it will just have to wait until spring.  Oh spring, then it will be planting time again!  🙂

~

Relocating, Remodeling, & Readjustments ~ My Bedroom Floor

Getting my bedroom floor ready was the last main thrust of hard labor needing to be done before we can actually start moving in.  The rest of the remodeling projects in my mom’s house will be done gradually after we’re moved in.

The first thing I tackled on my floor was a big black stain splatter.  What a horrendous ordeal, but I beat it!

Now you see it…Now you don’t!~

You know how sometimes in my various posts I mention my weak girlie hands?  Well, I’m not really joking about that.  I seriously hurt my hand scrubbing and scraping at that black stain and the area around it ~ to the point where my pinkie finger went tingly and numb for a couple of days.  😦  And that was only the beginning of the grueling work that went into cleaning up my floor.

Worth it in the end though because look at how nice it looks now…I must say compared to before, I am quite pleased with the results of all my toil.

~

Couldn’t have done it without this guy…Magical scrubbie!  He might not look like much, and he’s quite used and abused, but this little bad boy tore up that crud on my floor like a champ!

~

Couldn’t have done it without this girl either…Magical sis!  😉  Here she is in her tie dye with her magical saw cutting a 45 degree angle on one of the oak strips that I used to cover the gaps between the molding and the wood floor along the walls.  My mom and my daughter also lent a hand with my floor.  Needless to say we are all exhausted.

~

There are still those deep cuts going across the floor in the doorway area in front of my closet, there was nothing I could do to fix them, but I’m just going to throw a rug down over them and call it good.

Also as I had mentioned in an earlier post, a large portion of the floor on the other side of the room has plywood not hardwood on it.  I went back and forth trying to think of a solution, but for now there really isn’t anything else I can do with it.  So I’m just leaving it as is after cleaning it up a bit, until we either have the existing hardwood refinished professionally and install new hardwood to that other area, or have carpeting put in on that side.  My bed will cover that entire area anyway, so rather than go to any further expense right now, I’ll just throw a rug over that too.

~

After working on the floor, I still wasn’t done in there yet… I also washed my windows and put on a coat of fresh stain around all of the other the woodwork.  Nothing better than looking out of sparkly clean windows!  I love the old Sycamore tree that is right outside of them and the way the light flickers into the room through the leaves.  There are actually 3 windows that go across the front of my room, but I was not able to get them all into one shot.

~

So, now we can finally start moving some of our things in!  It will be a month and a half long process with just my daughter and I moving it all, so if I thought I was exhausted after all of this work on my floor and everything else we’ve been working on in the house for the past few months, I’m sure I’ll be completely wasted a month and half from now.  If you never hear from me again, you’ll know why.  😉

In all… as exhausted as I am, and for as many various worries, concerns, thoughts and emotions I’ve had rolling around inside of me at the thought of moving back in with my mom, I am deeply grateful.  And I know there is a purpose and plan in all of this.

One night as I was driving back to my apartment after working on my floor at my mom’s and thinking about this next stage of my life, this song came on the radio.  I had never heard it before, but oh did it ever speak directly to my heart.  So encouraging!  “Settle down, it’ll all be clear…” 

“Just know you’re not alone cuz I’m gonna make this place your home”  ♥

~

Relocating, Remodeling & Readjustments ~ The Continuing Saga…

Well, since the mishaps and misadventures with my mom’s floor we’ve gotten her all moved into her new room.  It’s not decorated or completely situated yet, but at least it’s in good enough order for her to have a nice nap with her cat…She’s probably gonna kill me when she sees that I posted a photo of her napping, so if you never hear from me again, you’ll know why.  😉

~

I’m actually writing this post from my room, which I’ve just recently finished painting for the second time.  Here let me share my current view with you…Hmm, weird, it’s not really that dark in here.  I guess this isn’t really much to look at is it?  Can’t even see my paint job.  Oh well, I’ll try and take a better photo of it later.

~

I’m sitting at a little make-shift “desk” that my mom brought in so that I could see what it feels like to sit and write in here, but now she and my daughter are hounding me to come watch a movie with them, so I probably won’t be in here very long and will have to finish writing this post later.  I just want to be in my room for a little while and enjoy the calm before the storm.  The storm being… finding out tomorrow what lies beneath this carpeting under my feet.

I’ve been up to my eyeballs in paint here for the past week.  This is usually a fun thing for me, but this too has ended up being more work than I had originally thought it would be.  Maybe I’m just getting old or out of shape.  One thing I am sure of is that all the paint fumes are definitely affecting my mental capabilities.  😉

First up was painting my daughter’s room.  But we couldn’t pick out paint colors until she chose some new draperies for the sliding glass door in her room.

These are what were hanging in there…Now although these may be considered somewhat hideous according to today’s home decor trends, they were actually quite fashionable in the 70’s, and I’m going to save some of this fabric.   I have no idea what I’ll ever do with it, but you just never know ~ I could come up with something totally unique and amazing to do with it one day. 😀

~

After shopping until I was dropping, my daughter finally found some lovely draperies.  I don’t have a photo of her new drapes yet, but I’m sure I’ll include one in a future post once they get hung up.

So, it was a bit of a fiasco painting my daughter’s room because she didn’t like the blue color that she picked out for her contrasting wall (the rest of the walls are a green tone).  So we went back and got a different shade of blue, but she’s not sure she likes that color either.  After her carpet and drapes get in there she’s going to see how she likes it, but I have a feeling we (I) may end up just painting that wall the same color as the rest of the room.The color looks worse in this photo than it really is.  And yes, yes I do paint in my bare feet.  😀  Just don’t look too closely at them, they’re in terrible need of a pedicure, and I banged my left foot so it’s all puffy and swollen ~ guess I shouldn’t do things in my bare feet huh?  😉

~

The painting of my room went even worse and I was all up in tears over it.  Literally.  😦  My sis came to the rescue, talked me in off the ledge, and helped me re-paint it.  Sometimes I wonder what I would ever do without her.  ♥   I think I just had a bit of an emotional meltdown because I’ve been working soo hard and I’m exhausted.  I’ve put so much work into making my mom’s and my daughter’s rooms nice for them that then when I finally get to my own room only to have it not turn out right, just made me overly emotional.  But hey, you might have been overly emotional too if the restful, peaceful, ocean color you picked out ended up being a putrid mint colored version of Pepto Bismol!

The color on my walls now is still not what I was going for ~ it’s more of a gray shade than what I had wanted, but it’s a restful enough color and it’ll do for now.  All I know is that I’m not painting this room a 3rd time!  I’ll have a better idea of how it’s going to look after this golden carpet gets out of here tomorrow.

Won’t be sad to see this go.But like I said, I am nervous about what’s underneath it…

~

Oh hey, it’s tomorrow!  I knew I wasn’t going to be able to finish writing this last night.  Well… My daughter’s new carpet is in and it looks great!

This isn’t the greatest shot of it, but her dog Teddy sure looks cute enjoying the view out the window…~

The carpet installers got to my mom’s at the crack of dawn this morning and I didn’t make it over there until they had nearly finished with my daughter’s room, but my mom snapped this photo of the hardwood floors that are under her carpeting.  Sure am glad my daughter wasn’t wanting to try and have wood floors in her room because this looks absolutely horrible … ~

Unfortunately, remember that storm I mentioned earlier when expressing my fears about my own wood floors?  Well…

On the bright side… at least there isn’t a bunch of old linoleum and black tar to scrape up.

But on the dark side… a large portion on one half of the room is plywood, not hardwood.  😦

And there are a few black stain splatters of I don’t know what.

There are also some terrible cut marks about 4 feet long in the entryway.  This photo doesn’t show it, but these cuts are actually pretty deep.  😦 

And I don’t even know what to do about this total hack job someone did around the vents.~

Yep, it’s gonna take quite a bit of continued elbow grease to get all this cleaned and fixed up.  And on that I’m in short supply.  Makes me tired even contemplating it.  Well, it is after midnight as I wrap this up.

Wish me luck…

Relocating, Remodeling, & Readjustments ~ Mishaps & Misadventures With My Mom’s Bedroom Floor

In my last post I said to stay tuned for:  “My Mom’s Bedroom Floor is Trying to Kill Me,” and I wasn’t exaggerating.  Well, not too much, anyway.  😉  The past couple of weeks working on it have been a nightmare!  To say that I was regretting pulling up the carpet in my mom’s bedroom would be a huge understatement.  I knew the floor wasn’t going to be in great condition, but I didn’t realize it was going to be so much work just getting it cleaned up good enough to be liveable.  My aching body…

The first issue at hand was trying to figure out the best way to pry up the tacking strips that were left from the carpeting.  After getting advice from a friend and a few of my readers, I went out to buy a Wonder Bar.  But when I got to the store I didn’t end up getting one because the thing weighed like 1000 lbs and was way too big and heavy for my weak little girlie hands.

I found these nifty things and figured they’d work just as well for getting the job done and be much easier for me to maneuver and work with.  They worked like a charm and I was glad I got them because as it turns out, having a variety of sizes of these things came in handy. ~

I toiled long and hard prying up all those tacking strips and even with my handy dandy variety pack of pry bars, it was no easy task.  One of the times while I was in there slaving away, splinters flying everywhere, I thought of asking my daughter to come in and take a photo of me in the midst of “tackling the tacking,” but she was busy doing something else and couldn’t, so you’ll just have to take my word for it that it was excruciatingly laborious for me.

But as much work as prying up all those tacking strips was, that was nothing compared to the nightmare it has been trying to get up all of the tar-like substance that was underneath that old linoleum.  I looked online, asked friends, called around, and went back and forth to Home Depot more times than anyone would ever want to, and each time got a different suggestion on what to use.  Because we aren’t going to be actually “refinishing” the floors for quite some time, my mom wanted to try and preserve the original varnish and stain as well as possible, so that limited us significantly in how to go about it.

In the end, as impractical as it was, Goo Gone is what we used.  It took an enormous amount of elbow grease, but it was the thing that we found worked the best at dissolving the tar.It was extremely tedious ~ especially when using a plastic putty knife (to help keep ourselves from damaging the floor’s finish while scraping).

~

I also picked up some mineral spirits to try to get up some of the old paint splotches that were on the floor.  That didn’t work as well as I had hoped it would.  Turns out it’s more for fresh paint clean-up, and not paint that’s 36 years old.  Even with letting it sit on there for a while, it was still very difficult getting it up.

My daughter was such a tremendous help ~ what a trooper!

And my mom even lent a hand.

~

This is how it looked after all our scraping, scrubbing and toil.Pretty dang nice considering how it looked originally!  (Click here to see)

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There are still this rough patches around the perimeter of the room and one particularly stubborn area, but even after all three of us each spent a considerable amount of time working on it, none of us could penetrate through whatever that was.  It probably needs some sort of stripping or sanding done on it, but that is not something we are doing right now.~

Next step was figuring out something to cover these gaps that are in between the wood floor and the current molding that goes along the floor around the room.  ~

Since my sis was back early from her vacation I enlisted her assistance for this part.  Making yet another trip to Home Depot, we picked up some 12ft oak flooring strips that we thought would do the trick at covering the gaps and also help give it a bit of a “finished” looking edge.  We figured we could just lay it on top of the floor, press it up against the molding, tack it down in couple of places, stain it a neutral color, and call it good until the floor gets refinished properly.

This confusing mess of a photo is my sis pointing at the lousy hammering job that I was doing.  Apparently I was “doing it wrong.”Hey that hammer was heavy, I needed to have my hand that close to the head!  And besides… it’s kinda hard hammering correctly when your sis is tickling you behind the knee while you’re trying to hammer.  Just saying…

That’s how things like this happen…Yeah, totally her fault!  😉

~

Unfortunately, one of the walls of the room is pretty warped, so using the oak strips to cover the gap on that wall was practically worthless.  Off we went back to Home Depot again (good thing it’s close by) to get some wood putty to fill it in with.  My mom took this blurry photo trying to catch us in action as my sis and I were filling (glopping) it in.   As you can see, my side is much tidier.  😉  But maybe that was only because my sis was laying sprawled out on the floor while applying it hahahaha!  And she made fun of my hammering? But I shouldn’t poke too much fun at her “techniques” for applying wood putty because heck, she knows how to use a freaking miter saw (which she skillfully wielded to cut the ends of the oak strips at 45 degree angles for the corners) and that’s more than I can say for myself.  Besides… my sis helping made it fun, and hey, I’m all about the fun!  Bottom line is, I sincerely I appreciated her assistance and expertise ~ even if it was gloppy.  😉

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Before calling it “done” I took some Restor-A-Finish and went over the entire floor.  I also used it to touch up all of the existing woodwork (doors, windows etc.) in the whole room.  Talk about “My Mom’s Bedroom Floor is Trying to Kill Me” ~ there are all sorts of toxic chemicals in this stuff and frightening health warnings on the label, which scared this “keep everything natural and organic” girl, but I didn’t see any similar products that I could use that were any less dangerous.~

Well here it is… the final result of my near death experience…What do you think?

~

All I know is, I’m filled with dread at what horrendous amount of work may be lurking underneath my bedroom carpet.  Dear Lord, please let it be in halfway decent shape.  We’ll find out shortly because once my mom is all moved into her new room, we’ll be painting mine and my daughter’s rooms, and then the carpet people will be coming to install the new carpet in my daughter’s room and rip out the carpet that is in mine.  Yeah, my carpeting and tacking strip removal days are over.  It’s costing us all of $72 for them to do it for us while they’re here installing my daughter’s carpet.  Totally worth it!

~

And I leave you with this…

Even though my mom’s bedroom floor may not have really been trying to kill me, being over there working on it has been detrimental to the health of my house plants at my apartment.  Basically all I do here anymore is sleep and shower, so I haven’t given them much TLC.

My poor Peace Lily looks anything but “peaceful.”  Pay no attention to those dust bunnies that are congregating for a family reunion there on the floor.  Unfortunately, they’ve been busy producing several generations of offspring while I’ve been busy with my mom’s floor.

And I’m pretty sure my Weeping Ficus isn’t supposed to literally weep.  Pathetic looking thing is even dropping its leaves.

And I’m only guessing here, but I don’t think the ends of this plant are supposed to be brown or have dry, dead, undergrowth.My cats miss me too.  😦

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