of all the things…

18 02 2009

dsc_00013I knew I was in trouble.  I heard him coming down the stairs to fix himself something for lunch.  With a wide scraper in my hand, down on my knees, I was pulling up linoleum tiles from the kitchen floor.

“Of all the things you COULD be doing…what prompted you to do this NOW?”  There is no right answer to that question. This 100 year old house – a constant work in progress- sometimes just begs for attention.  So I answered honestly…it sounded like the most fun option.  The other options were ironing, sorting through boxes of God-knows-what that I’ve stashed in Best Boy’s room while he’s gone for 10 days, cleaning the attic, basement, garage or any and all closets and on and on.

When we first walked through this house over a decade ago, the kitchen was the one room that I really disliked.  It had gotten an update in the early 70’s that just doesn’t fit the character of the house.  There are plenty of cupboards and space but bottle green laminate countertops with hunter green country themed wallpaper hurt me.  With that make-over came the pièce de résistance of slapping adhesive tiles over a wood floor-maybe just the sub-floor, but wood plank nonetheless.

So, very little by little, I am unearthing a new old kitchen floor. The process isn’t hard…just messy and toxic.  Sounds like my life.  I pry up the tiles with a wide paint scraper.  What is left underneath is so sticky that as I step back, my shoes are cemented to the floor and I inadvertently step out of them. After I pry them loose and put them back on, I dump some gel adhesive remover over the space and spread it out.  That stinks the place up like crazy so doors and windows are cracked.   The directions say to leave it 20 minutes and I leave it for twice that time frame.  Scrape up the goop that looks like what the cat coughs up and re-gel it for another round.  While I wait, I write this, eat a ham sandwich, make a run to the post office and get high from the fumes.

What’s not to love about this project?  Seriously, I think what I like is that it stays.  When I’m done with each little section that I tackle, it’s done.  It’s not like laundry that gets dirty again every time I turn around.  Or like cooking where you make a big effort and are left with nothing to show but people licking their chops.  I can admire my progress and don’t feel like I’m moving backwards.

At this point I’m quite sure that there are plenty of you asking why I don’t just tackle the whole thing at once and be done with it.  The answer is – because I am old.  I got a blister on the heel of my hand from jamming the scraper under the tiles to pry them off. After finishing that little section, my hands and wrists hurt like crazy. By far the best reason for doing it a little at a time is that it gives me the perfect out when I don’t want to do other things and get inspired to continue the fifty tile count down.

Who knows – maybe by this summer I’ll be done and we’ll have the whole thing sanded and refinished.  That would leave us with just eight more rooms and the stairs to do. At least they aren’t covered in sticky goo. Gotta love The Money Pit!