Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nothing Can Ever Be Simple; or, Displaced Persons

That, I believe, is a fitting motto for Christmas Break 2011 - however, right now I'm only talking about the floor re-finishing project, AKA, the Winter Headache '11. 

The plan was (relatively) simple, especially given all the alternatives we had laboriously considered: 

1.  12-22 - have the floor professionally sanded on 12-22 while we are out of the house for the morning/afternoon; 
2.  12-23 - Brad and my mom apply two coats of stain over the course of the morning and afternoon, while I hang out downstairs and away from staining smells; 
3.  12-24 - Brad and my mom apply polyurethane coat #1, then Brad and I vacate the house for the holiday (to my parents' house) until late on the 26th; 
4.  12-29 - Brad and my mom apply poly coat #2 in the a.m., then Brad and I go to WV for the Christmas celebration with his family and eventually head back to my parents' house through the New Year; 
5.  12-31 - Brad and my mom apply the 3rd and final coat of poly in the a.m. Then it's done! 

Numero uno went great, and it only took the floor guy about 4 and a half hours from start to finish. 

Look at those bare oak beauties! 
But, of course, we didn't even get all the way through #2 without a problem: the stain reeked, and I had to get out of there all afternoon; then after they did the second coat, we packed up in a jiff and went to stay at my parents' house a day early. 

Fine. No biggie. Except when Brad and my mom went over on the morning of Christmas Eve (boo! Who wants to do work on Christmas Eve?!), the second coat of stain was not completey dry despite having 17 hours. The first coat was dry after 4 hours, so we figured 4 times that (the can says 4-6 hrs.) was sufficient even in non-ideal conditions (i.e., December in Southwestern PA). Wrong

They hung out for two hours with the heat jacked and a fan blowing, but still it would not dry. And putting poly on a not-completely-dried floor is just asking for problems. So they returned, and step #3 got moved to the afternoon of the 26th, when all went well. Thankfully. 

Brad and I went back to our abode about 24 hours later, however - really needing some in-our-own-space time - and this time the house smelled of polyurethane. We opened windows everywhere except for the nursery (despite rain), jacked the heat (again), and went out for a bit. But when we returned: no dice. It wasn't an awful smell, especially in the living room where I was - in fact, I could barely tell there was anything still lingering - but Brad the bloodhound could smell it, so we left for baby safety's sake. 

Thus, just 5 hours after having packed up everything we brought to my parents' house (and we do not travel lightly) and driving 45 minutes home, we turned around, drove back, and unpacked it all. I thought I was going to flip both my lid and Brad's lid and the lid of anyone else within my sight. I was sooooo exhausted, and I felt like a displaced person traveling around with pillows and blankets and Target bags filling the back seat of my car. 

We're not getting the 3 days at of rest and recuperation at home that we had planned on in b/t the holidays, and the sleeping arrangements here are NOT long-term solutions - by the end of this project, we'll have been holed up at my parents' house for TEN DAYS! (Yes, I consider ten days "long-term" in this situation.) Hopefully in about a week, though, this will all have been worth it, and I'll have some lovely fabulous wonderful great pictures of the floor to post. Brad and my mom got coat #2 on successfully this morning, and their plan is to head back Friday morning to finish this dang thing

With any luck, we'll be back in our smell-free house by Monday night and my mom can reclaim her living room from our computers/cups/Netflix and her upstairs from our, well, everything else. And, hopefully, the cats won't be too mad at us for our extended absence - we've loved them up during our near-daily visits back to the homestead.

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