Sunday, March 04, 2007

Flooring 101

Two songs played simultaneously in my head – “Desperado” and “Flight of the Bumblebee.” I could not stop laughing. C. was not nearly as amused. There we were, racing like maniacs to get to the Home Depot before they closed.

I made some flip comment (as I apparently am known to do) about not being the only poor souls who thought they could “do it themselves” trying to beat the clock this evening. Leave it to C. to point out that none of the other couples looked quite as desperate as we did.

It all started when we made the annual spring pilgrimage to Home Depot for soil. Some of you may remember that I do not have the greenest of thumbs. In fact I tend to have rather unfortunate luck when it comes to agriculture. Never one to be dismayed, I am determined that SOMEDAY, SOMETHING besides weeds and ivy will grow in this yard. But I digress.

It just so happens that you HAVE to walk through the flooring department to get to the cash registers in our Home Depot. OK, I know that is not TECHNICALLY true, but that’s what we keep telling ourselves to justify our subsequent actions.

I have always coveted gorgeous ceramic tile kitchen floors. C. actually made a promise to me that we could get rid of the dingy, scratched, hideously ugly linoleum that plagued my kitchen before The Baby started crawling. You might remember that The Baby is 17 months old now. C. claims he made that promise under duress – some gobbledygook about postpartum hormones or something. Whatever.

Needless to say, being flush with a small tax refund check, we decided to peruse the flooring section on that fateful afternoon. I chose the important stuff like the tile and the color of the grout. C. then figured in all the peripheral crap (tools, supplies, blah, blah blah, whatever) that we would need to cover the floor of that pitifully inadequate space that passes for a kitchen in my house. When all was said and done, we could actually still afford the project. HOORAY!

Unfortunately I kept hearing a little voice of doubt (I now recognize as common sense) in my head: 1) that is an awful lot of money for a space that I hope to completely gut and remodel someday. 2) I love C. with all my heart and soul. He has many talents. Despite wonderful intentions, he has not ever completely FINISHED a major home improvement project. 3) That sure is a lot of money. 4) C.’s sum total experience with laying tile is sitting and watching a tile demonstration at the Home Depot a year or so ago. 5) It is a HUGE amount of money. 6) There sure are a lot of instructions on this “Tile Your Own Home” pamphlet. Should we think about hiring a professional? 7) WHAT am I thinking? A professional would probably cost THREE TIMES this much! 8) The sales lady said she had tile floors and her kitchen was always cold. I hate the cold.

I am sure you can see where this was headed. The “Home Depot Lady” showed us this stuff that looks like hardwood floor. It sort of “floats” on top of the floor, sticking to itself and not the substrate. It did not require any special backing or glue. It was MUCH cheaper than tile and the best part was that The Lady said one person could lay the stuff in one day. She said it was so easy that one of the kids could do it themselves. I said “SOLD” so fast her head was spinning.

I should have known it was too good to be true.

Remember the hideous, grimy, ripped up linoleum that currently lives in my kitchen? Well it seems that it has no intention of being replaced and is putting up quite a fight. Despite the fact that it actually has a HOLE cut out near my sink, rip marks near the fridge that occurred when a new fridge moved in, AND it has begun pulling and rolling up by the backdoor, this stuff thinks it owns the place. Pulling half of the possessed linoleum up resembled the hacking and slashing that you would expect to see in a Friday the 13th remake (with extra cursing as a bonus). Though we finally unceremoniously dumped the offensive pile of evil outside, the linoleum was not going to give up so easily. It still had a surprise for us.

As amateur “Do It Yourselfers,” we had not given much thought to what might have been holding the nasty linoleum to the floor. It seems people use glue. This is not any normal glue. This is the glue from hell. If it is not currently being used to hold the International Space Station together, it should be. Not only has this glue become a permanent part of our kitchen floor, but it has also molded. Yes, I said MOLDED. The best we can figure is that water has gotten down in between the evil linoleum and the floor through the holes that we inherited. C. thought I might be taking things a bit too far when I downloaded the EPA’s mold removal guidelines for commercial buildings and schools.

Well, mold is bad.

We scraped and sanded for two days. By 6:30 this evening, we were pretty exhausted. Of the six square feet that we have been working on, we are down to clean, dry, bare wood on about 4 square inches of it. My throat hurts. My head aches. My microwave is plugged in on the floor of the living room and teenagers keep making hot pockets on their knees. I can’t live like this anymore.

And now my friends, we have come to the part of the story that has C. & I breaking several state driving laws to get to the Holy Grail, I mean the Home Depot and this stuff called Krud Killer. Don’t you just love that name? I found it on the Internet. It is supposed to eat up the glue, or at least soften it enough so that I can completely scrape it up sometime by the end of the decade.

My friends, tomorrow I go to war. Armed with a mask, gloves and protective goggles (as recommended on the can) I will attack Satan’s floor armed with my Krud Killer and a big spade looking thing called a “Floor Bully.”

I don’t like my odds.

Name: Cattiva
Location: Virginia, United States

About Me: I'm the mom of three: #1 Son (20), The Princess of Wails (17) and their baby brother - The Baby (6). I was a grad-student working on an MA in history until we were surprised - I mean blessed - with The Baby. I'll get back to it...someday (the thesis, not the kid - I have no choice concerning the kid). I am one of only a few people I went to school with who is actually using their history degree in my career (and to think my Father called it Basket-weaving!). I live a very hectic life amongst massive clutter. I call it a good day if we have managed to get home at night without losing one of the kids (no matter how hard I try!). Friends say I have a humorous take on life's happenings. The sad part is that what I write about is true. I laugh to keep from crying.

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