Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The Hovel in the Ghetto – a Tale of Woe

I’m broken. My hands feel like I borrowed them from someone else. The fingers are swollen, the skin is peeling from my fingertips and I’ve broken every fingernail I have. My back is so sore that funny groaning noises sneak out every time I bend down or stand up. My knees are bruised and my legs are killing me. I probably smell, too, but I can’t tell because of the fine layer of dust that snuck inside my dust mask and glued itself to the inside of my nostrils. I’m waiting for the Nurofen to kick in, and trying not to cry.
Day 3 of Trying to Get the Hovel Ready to Sell.

Did I learn nothing from weeks of slavishly following the disasters and misadventures of the people on The Block? What on earth made me think that pulling up the carpets and sanding the floorboards was a Sensible Thing To Do? Ah yes, cat wee.

Remember poor old Miffy and her feline dementia? Remember how she started weeing on a particular spot on the carpet? Well, ol’ Miffy’s been gone for 17 months now, and the carpet has been sprayed and cleaned and vacuumed and scrubbed and sprayed yet again. On a warm day, though, memories of Miffy hover in the living room like an incontinent phantom.

The carpet had to go. Having two mortgages and no money, I though DIY would be the way to do it. Pull up the carpet and sand/stain the floorboards in the first week of the school hols. Yeah, why not?

While I was at it I thought the speckled carpet in the dining room could go too. And the grotty carpet in the hallway. While I’m at it I may as well pull up the kitchen floor, I thought. I have a whole week to do it, after all. Pffft, on The Block they managed to renovate 2 entire rooms in a week. From derelict to designer in a mere seven days. Just getting  a few carpets up should be a piece of cake, I thought. I reckoned without Murphy and his bloody wretched law.

I moved furniture into Other Rooms and pulled up the carpets, and learned the following:
  • Carpet is disgusting, It harbours all manner of grit and dust. I hereby vow never to have carpet laid in any house I live in. Ever.
  • Apart from grit and dust, carpet also hides a multitude of other nasties. Like bright green carpet tiles, which, in turn, hide layers of thousand year-old glue on the floorboards, as well as spilled paint, failed painting and staining experiments and some nasty stains of indeterminate origin. Oh God. My floorboards look like a failed science experiment.

Surprise surprise! Look what the speckled carpet was hiding!

The foam on the underside of the surprise carpet tiles had perished, and was stuck to layers of thousand year-old glue

Bucketload #2 of glue/foam crap. Oh my aching back!

The failed science exeriment that is my hallway floor. YUK!
 A good sanding will fix it, I thought, rather naively, and went to hire a floor sander. Had to trek halfway across Canberra, and the monstrous machine I brought home was so heavy I couldn’t actually use it. Getting it out of the car and into the house was the easy bit. (Ouch, more bruises!) Attaching the heavy-duty sandpaper sheet to the drum and getting the stupid thing going was a different matter. Then it tried to eat a hole in the floor. I took it back to the other side of Canberra before it could kill me and tunnel through to China.

Half a day wasted. Sigh. So I spent the next 6 hours on my knees (ouch, more bruises!) sanding the floor with a little sheet sander. The house is full of dust. So are my nostrils. The nasty stains of indeterminate origin are still there, despite my best efforts.

And I am broken. Ouch.

BUT - as I scraped away at layers of glue on the dining room floor, a message revealed itself, pencilled into a corner of a floorboard:

In the midst of the grotty carpet and the grit and the dust and the thousand year-old glue, it made me smile.

I bet I won’t be smiling when I wake up tomorrow and try to get out of bed.

Tuesday morning addendum: I fell asleep last night in the middle of writing this, and woke up well after midnight, laptop on lap. The Nurofen seems to have worked - for now.... Onwards and upwards!


lemmiwinks said...

Ouch! I feel your aches Sue. The trouble with aspirational TV shows like "The Block" (apart from the fact that they are engineered to make you dissatisfied with your life and/or purchase products from affiliated retailers) is that they don't show you the hordes of tradies/helpers that actually do the work!

Love the message from the past on the floorboards. Good luck with the reno's.

Trobairitz said...

Wow, I feel your pain.

Great job digging in and doing it yourself. We ripped out our carpets about 6 years ago and I too swore I'd never ever have carpet in another house I lived in. It was like someone had taken bags of sand and dumped them under the carpet.

The house smelled better after though. before we bought our house it was a rental with several indoor dogs and cats and the professional cleaning before we moved in didn't take care of the pet smell.

You will probably be even more sore in a few days. For some reason I am always more sore on the 3rd day or so.

Just think how nice it will look when you're all done.

Sue said...

Can't. stop. yet. Aaaaargh! So sore... Got all the tiles off the kitchen floor yesterday, and today it's a full day of sanding again. This is insane *gritting teeth and pushing through the pain barrier*.