A Man Walks Into My Dining Room. The Floor Story Continues.


White Billy bookcases filled with eclectic pieces and books. Oak, thin strip flooring.

Me:  Hello Mr. Floor Refinisher, I’d like to get a price on refinishing these floors.

Mr. Floor Refinisher:  Which floors?

Me:  The pine in the living room, the maple in the foyer and the oak in the dining room.

Mr. Floor Refinisher:  I see you’ve revealed some pine under the foyer floor.

Me:  Yes. I can’t decide whether to go down as far as the pine. It’s a dilemma. 

Mr. Floor Refinisher:  Well if you do, you might as well go down to the pine in the dining room too.

Me:  Huh??!!!!  

And that is where this particular story began.  An innocent enough call to a local floor refinisher which subsequently had me Googling DIY recipes for Ativan.

I’d asked him to give me a price on sanding the 3 different floors on the main floor of my house.  You may remember (because it was only a week ago), I discovered an original pine floor under the maple floor which was under a new pine floor in my foyer. You can read about that fiasco here.


One strip of oak flooring removed to reveal heritage pine underneath.

When Mr. Floor Refinisher walked around my house inspecting the floors to see how they’d react to another sanding he squatted down in the dining room and declared the oak flooring had probably been sanded by a DIYer because it was uneven and had sanding marks all over it.

He told me the oak in the dining room *might* not be able to be sanded again. It was already very close to the level of the tongue and groove.  He could try to sand it but because it was so thin, the wood might splinter and break apart.

Undisturbed, unfinished antique pine flooring under old oak flooring.

That’s when he pulled out my heat register, looked inside it and said that pine was running under the dining room too.

Oh shit.


Why would he tell me that? I mean why would he say out loud, ever so casually that  “there’s pine under those floors“?

This poor guy obviously had no idea the meltdown that sentence would lead to.

Single piece of oak strip flooring removed to reveal pine flooring.

Mr. Floor Refinisher:  So, I’m not sure I’d recommend the pine either because it …


Mr. Floor Refinisher:  Well, yeah. I thought you’d know that.

Me:  No. I did not know that. THAT IS NOT SOMETHING I KNEW.

Mr. Floor Refinisher:  Are you O.K.?  You’re twitching. You weren’t twitching when I walked in.  Did your eyeball just fall out??  Listen, I’ll get back to you with a price, I should be going …

Me:  STOP RIGHT THERE. O.K.  Hold on.  Don’t you move. You’re telling me there’s pine under this floor like the pine in the foyer and the living room. How do you know that?  I mean just because it’s over there under the heat register doesn’t mean it’s through this whole room does it? This house is old, it’s been added onto, things are wonky, there could be anything under this dining room floor.  

Mr. Floor Refinisher:  Well yeah, there’s probably a lot of bugs under it.

Me:  We need to rip some of this floor out.  Now. Right now.  I’m going to rip it out right now so you need to get out of my way. Do you think I can just smash it?? I’m going to just smash it.  With an axe. There’s an axe in the backyard.  Can you Google if there’s any way I can make my own Ativan?

Mr. Floor Refinisher:  Yup.  I’m sure your eyeball just fell out.  That’s it rolling under the dining room table right now.  It has cat hair on it.

Me:  Whatever. I need to rip this floor up now so – if you could just …

Mr. Floor Refinisher:  I can take up a piece if you like right now.  Then we can see if it runs the whole length of the dining room. 

Close up of pine flooring revealed under oak flooring.

Me:  Do you want to use my axe?

Mr. Floor Refinisher:  Thanks very kind of you to offer, but no, I have my own way.

Me:  O.K.  But I have an axe.  It might be faster.  

Mr. Floor Refinisher:  Done.  Take a look and see what you think.


Karen Bertelsen sitting in dining room contemplating flooring.

And here I’ve sat for the past 4 days.  Unmoving.  Holding a piece of oak flooring, searching fruiltlessly for my hair covered eyeball under the dining room table.

Still no decision.  But I’m leaning towards a simple mixture of aspirin, catnip and cough syrup.


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A Man Walks Into My Dining Room. The Floor Story Continues.


  1. Andrew says:

    Great post. Go with the pine!

  2. Jacquie Gariano says:

    It’s never so simple as “I’ll refinish the floor” It extends it self like magic. We wanted to replace the kitchen tile. Simple, yes?? NO.. the sub floor had to be replaced in 2 places and the floor needed new supports under the house to hold the weight of the tile. Then there was the kick boards to replace and a new spacer between the kitchen floor and the dining room floor to make them even. It was suppose to be done in 5 days…….a week and half later it was done. A great job in the end, thank you. OH yes, in the mean time the refer was in the dining room and the stove on the patio. A lot of take out was eaten.
    We want to replace the kitchen counters and redo the cupboards……..I think it will a little while yet.

  3. Bonnie Gutierrez says:

    One maple board singing to the pine” She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!” (John Lennon & Paul McCartney) Go, Karen, go!

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