First of all. HOLY *&^%$#@!!!!

The noise! The mess! The dust! The smell!

The guys showed up two and a half hours late and I was already beside myself. This reno is on a short leash, organizationally speaking, and there is no room for people to mess with my plan. These guys show up and they drag in all of this absolutely huge noisy equipment and start hunting around for somewhere to plug it in.

“Hey lady? Where’s your stove?” Stove? Turns out that the huge noisy machine needs a special kind of plug. I’ve got a gas stove, so no luck there. Next try?

“Hey lady? Where’s your dryer?” Oh dear. I have a gas dryer. Next try? They lop the plug off the sander and hook this brobdingnagian beast of a thing directly (as in with bare wires) into the electric box in the basement, WITHOUT SHUTTING THE POWER OFF. Now, I am married to a man who talks blithely about how many volts he can take, but Joe would never, ever, ever put a screwdriver into the Main Electric Box without shutting off the power. Ever. I was agog, and completely beside myself. I stood near to the guy (wooden broom in my hand so that I could knock his seizing body from the box when the ten million volts of pure power coursed through him) and tried vainly to dissuade him from this action.

“Dude, isn’t that a little bit dangerous? Sticking that there screwdriver into the electric box without shutting it off? Isn’t that the main power? Isn’t that a lot of volts? I can turn it off. Why don’t I do that. I’ll get a flashlight for you and we’ll shut it off before you stick any more screwdrivers into it and then I won’t have to call 911 when you totally electrocute yourself right here where it’s going to be trouble to get your carcass up the stairs. Yes. Hold one. I’ll just get that flashlight. Oh my. Was that sparks? Just give me a minute. Look! Here’s my flashlight. Why don’t you take that screwdriver out… ”

I just kept babbling and he kept wiring and the thing was hooked up. I immediately turned my attention toward being concerned about the disconnection process, but was distracted by the noise. I was unprepared for the noise. The noise was like a bee the size of an elephant was in therapy for anger management in my bedroom. Periodically, the machine shuddering the whole house would shut off and random cursing would drift down along with clouds and clouds of dust. The dust… I cannot even speak of the dust.


Just when I had adjusted to the dust and the noise and the swearing, one of the three guys went sprinting down my stairs and out the front door with what seemed to be something on fire. When I responded (quickly and with a great deal of anxiety, to the smoke pouring through the dust) and enquired about the possibility of a fire, I was told not to worry, since the fire was “Just a small size one and only for a little while.” The three guys regarded me with an eye that indicated that they felt that I worry (about things like fires and electrocution) way, way too much. I would have had a lie down at that point, except of course, I have no bed.


At this point, this blog entry should have ended with little more than this. It should be that all I can say now is that they packed up and left me with what was left of my nerves, which they did…right after depositing two big garbage bags of sawdust squarely on the front garden.

I regarded those two bags with some sadness, since it’s a week until garbage day and those bags will sit there being an eyesore until then, but unbeknownst to me, the bags had more drama than that. Inside one of those bags was a small fire, left over from when the sander bag had been on fire earlier in the day.

I realized that the bag was full of smouldering sawdust when I came back from buying urathane and noticed that the smell of burning sawdust was stronger outside the front door than inside it. (That was saying something, since the smell in the house is a powerful thing.) I lifted the bag and the bottom fell out, and there was a heap of smoking, reeking sawdust. I poured some water on it and went inside, disaster averted. About an hour later, a neighbour knocked on the door to ask me if I meant to be burning a garbage bag full of sawdust in my garden? I doused it again. Considerably more pissed off this time, and (as you can well imagine) I had a great deal of trouble finding my mental happy place.

An hour later, Joe’s sister Kelly came by, coming into the house, discussing urathane for a while, helping me with a thing or two, then casually asking (I must have looked a little edgy) if I was aware that the bags on the garden were on fire? I went back out, and sure enough, there it was. Burning away…smoke issuing into the stupid cold night air. This time I was determined, as well as using language unbecoming a knitter. I broke open the bag, poured water on it, and then Rachel (who had turned up to bring me beer, she’s a woman who knows what you really need at the end of a long day of floor trauma) helped me shovel it from one bag to the other, looking for any bit that was on fire and pouring water on the lot of it. We stood out there, freezing and stomping and pouring (and noticing that once it’s 40 below even cold water from the tap steams outside) and I was not amused. I was furious…I was ranting inside my head (and perhaps a little outside my head) about incompetence and fires and houses that have newspaper stuffed in the walls and how that was a huge risk and how I Was. Not. Pleased and how this was a very difficult day and how there was nothing, not even the beer that could fix my attitude at this point ….when suddenly it hit me. I practically skipped into the house leaving Rachel standing in the cold, bewildered…


I grabbed my camera and ran back out beaming from ear to ear to grab this snap of Rachel H. She was freezing and really not at all amused (I am certain that in this picture she cannot feel her hands) that I was lengthening the time we would be in the elements, but I was completely gleeful. Didn’t she get it?


You can’t make that up. It’s a blog gimmee….it’s freaking perfect. Who has a sawdust lawn fire? Seriously – how could you not blog it? It’s an entry all by itself. Man. Couldn’t be better. Practically writes itself. My joy is restored.


All said, the floor is much, much more beautiful than I thought it would be (totally worth the fire) and once it’s got 4 (FOUR) layers of urathane on it it should only be more so…but dudes. The house is trashed. There is dust in the bathroom. Dust in the living room. Dust on the dishes in the cupboards in the kitchen. Dust, dust…dust. You will be relieved to know that there is not dust on the Bohus, since I was possessed of a swift intelligence when I saw the first of the dust coming and sealed it in a protective Ziplock. It may be the only non-dusty thing in the house.

Considering my track record on dusting…this much dust is an unfortunate (and likely permanent) turn of events.

Today: Get ceiling paint. Paint the ceiling. Sand the first coat of urathane on the floor. Put a second coat on. Buy more beer.

May the force be with me, and if you’re walking by my house today, do me a favour and toss a shovel full of snow on those bags, will ya? You can’t be too careful. Sawdust is apparently very hard to put out.


Reminder to Joe: You are banned from the blog this week. Move along buddy. Lots of other sites to look at.

Our house is sort of crappy. When we moved in The house was total crap. It had been empty for some time, partly because it was crap, partly because it was next door to a building that had burned down (or mostly down, it was a danger and an eyesore, inhabited entirely by several large and bold families of skunks and racoons) and partly because the longer it was empty, the crappier it got. When we moved in, there was a hole in the kitchen wall that went clear to the outside. It was big enough for animals to come and go through…which they did. Only one room had been refinished, and the rest of this 120 year old heap was falling down. I did not buy it then because I saw the potential ( though it has turned out to have a little) but because a house with a racoon door in the kitchen, crumbling plaster and lathe and a view of a burned out hulk turned out to be the only house in my price range.

Over the years, much of the house has been fixed up. The wood printed linoleum in the living room was replaced by real wood, the crumbling walls were knocked down and drywalled – we got fancy pants upgrades, like electricity in every room and some insulation. (When we tore down our first wall we were stunned to discover that the only insulation in the walls was old newspapers. Great reading, but a poor force against the cold.) Something (even if it was just a good paint job and a new floor) has been done in every room, and it’s not like now it’s anything out of House Beautiful, but it isn’t awful. I’m not ashamed of the house (much) anymore, and all the rooms are more or less ok. (When I clean them, which is a whole other issue.) Every room except ours. Once the racoon door was fixed, the master bedroom won the prize for the most craptastic room in the house.

I’m not sure when I stopped caring if that room was ok, but it might have been after the first time that I cleaned and organized it really well and realized that it was still crap. That nothing short of a major overhaul was going to fix it. Once I realized that it was a crap room, I started putting our crap there. It was a good match. Nobody saw the room except for Joe and I, so it didn’t matter that it was crap.

Until now. Now, while Joe is gone over the next 5 days…I am going to de-crap our room. Refinish the floor (I have had the good sense to hire someone to do this -if he ever shows up. He’s more than an hour late) repaint (that would be me) put up new drapes and fix things up (still me) so that we have a really nice room and it isn’t the door you rush to close when people show up at your house.

With this goal in mind, I give you: The before pictures. This is the bedroom in it’s natural resting state, except- you know. I cleaned up before I took the pictures. There’s usually some knitting and abandoned coffee cups in there, not to mention the laundry.


I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Gee Steph, don’t be to hard on the room. It’s not that crappy.” You’re wrong. See the floor?


It’s the original pine, but it’s been painted (many times, in many different colours, not one of which matches the purple baseboards) and you can’t hardly keep it clean it’s so rough. That’s one of the good spots. Notice that there is no outlet cover on the outlet? We got electricity in this room, but no cover.


Here’s more of the craptastic floor (accented by the orange-yellow walls and the purple trim ) and demonstrating the extraordinarily gross foam insulation that we used to try and keep the wind from blowing in from the outside through that crack. (Turns out that old newspaper just wasn’t doing its job.) The room was crap, so we never trimmed it. (This is getting embarrassing.)

Here’s a view of how things are now.


I’ve pulled out all the furniture I can move and cleaned up the floor as best I can. (I have left the mismatched shades in place for now, but they will be on their way out as soon as the floor is done.)


This is the view from the opposite side, showing the closet (which has no door…it wasn’t there when we moved in and it’s a non-standard door size, so replacing it has always been too expensive) the crappy Ikea bookcase (which I’m going to try and replace with something less crappy, we’ll see how the money holds up) and the purple door with it’s cracked and peeling paint. (Please ignore the large green birth ball in the closet. Those things are hell to store.)

Step one? Floor, although really, absolutely anything I do in this room would be a huge improvement.