The Great Floor Debacle. Part 2

The story of the floor continues. The weekend work.


When last me met, it was Friday at midnight and I was reinforcing the big, gaping poltergeist of a hole in my foyer floor and popping homemade Ativans (mainly made up of pepperettes and baby aspirin).  The story continues …


10:00 a.m.

I received a visit from my floor refinisher who was scheduled to refinish my floors on Monday, which was in less than two days.  He quickly took a look around and said NOPE.  These aren’t ready to refinish.  You need to get that patch repaired, you probably need to source a bunch of longer antique floor boards, the threshold is too uneven and thin to sand down and it you need to replace it. By Monday. 

Me:  O.K.  I can do that.

Floor Refinisher:  Um.  O.K.  Well, just in case you can’t, should we schedule another day?

Me:  No.  I think I can do that.

Floor Refinisher:  O.K. but just in case you can’t I’m available to come back in a little over a week.  Not that I don’t think you can finish all of this work, but … just in case.

Me:  O.K.  But I think I can do this.

Floor Refinisher:  You’d have to work all day and night.

Me:  Yeah.  I think I can do this.  Hey, do you think it’s O.K. to use cocaine while you’re on homemade Ativan?  Nevermind, I’m just kidding.  But do you happen to have any cocaine?

Clearly I jest.  But not about having to work all day and night. Starting with my uneven threshold and trying to find antique floorboards that match my floors in the next few hours.

11:00 a.m.

Cry. Start ripping out threshold.

12:00 p.m.

Stare into second poltergeist hole in my house and mourn the fact I’m having to miss a big outdoor antique market today.  Sister is at big outdoor antique market probably getting ready to eat french fries there.  Receive text from sister at antique market. A picture of stacks of antique wood planks.  Not tongue and groove. Not pine. Not the right width. Perfect!  Buy ’em!!

12:01 p.m.

Continue removing threshold with renewed vigour.

3:00 p.m.

Finish building subfloor on hole into basement as I wait for sister to drop off antique boards.


7:30 a.m.

Wake up drink coffee. Consider avoiding floor by taking emergency salsa dancing lessons.

8:00 a.m.

Start cutting boards that sister dropped off yesterday down to size with circular saw. They are 6″ wide and I need them to be around 5″ wide.  No table saw (besides I’m frightened of table saws) so I cut all of them using a circular saw and they cut beautifully.

10:00 a.m.

Begin building new threshold. Glue and clamp fake “tongues” so nothing can fall down between straight edge boards. But more importantly so nothing can crawl or slither or  hop up.

I attached the “tongue” by simply gluing and clamping it and leaving it for a few hours.

10:14 a.m.

Lay next threshold board.

11:48 a.m.

Take a little “me” time and enjoy part of my Sunday.  By straightening antique nails.

11:56 a.m.

Countersink nails so they don’t rip up the flooring guys’ sandpaper.

1:00 p.m.

Continue cutting boards down to size for patch job.

5:30 p.m.

Start putting together jigsaw puzzle of boards and cutting out more sections.

8:00 p.m.

Finish laying boards into position.

9:00 p.m.

Breath a sigh of relief.  It’s done. I got it all completed. Without cocaine.

9:01 p.m.

Realize I have NO nails to nail down the boards.  At all.  None.  Text sister.  She has nails. Drive to pick them up, come home, nail down the boards and try not to worry that some of the boards are so thick and warped that they sit about 1/4″ above the surrounding boards.

Decide there’s nothing I can do about it so I go to bed. Mainly because it’s the only room in the house that’s habitable and where my terrified cat has been hiding since this whole episode began.

Can’t.  Even. Wait. For my floor refinisher to see that I’ve finished the job.

Fall asleep to the sound of angry disturbed centipedes plotting revenge.

To be continued …  the sanders show up.

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  1. Jacquie Gariano says:

    I have been traveling and am just catching up with things and am speechless about the floor and how much you are doing and how well. You are amazing. I’m off to the next episode now to see how things are going, I can’t wait. I hope your hand is Ok and not causing you too much problems. Luck.

  2. Darlene says:

    How the heck are the CHICKENS?
    I miss them…

  3. Martina says:

    So…I’m guessing that Thanksgiving won’t be at your house…lol

    • Karen says:

      Funny thing is – it is. PLUS I sliced my hand open with a chisel today and spent the entire day in the ER getting stitched up. So. It’s not going to be the world’s best Thanksgiing, lol. ~ karen!

  4. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Well I was wondering why we didn’t see you at Aberfoyle, but we did check out that wood pile. Hope you survive it all in time for turkey!

  5. Helen says:

    Wow! I have so many questions. Looking forward to part 3. Well done so far…

  6. Jody says:

    When is Part 3 ging to be posted???????????????????

    • Karen says:

      Hey Jody! Part 3 isn’t until next Wednesday! Then the absolute, final reveal next Friday. I know. The wait I’m putting you all through! ~ karen

  7. Stephanie Orasi-Fitzpatrick says:

    Are these the pepperettes that I introduced you to at the Farmers’ Market per chance??? They’re addictive….just sayin’….seriously, keep up the great work, it will all be worth it! Very impressive what you have done so far Karen! You go girl!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Stephanie!! I ate those in about 2 days and then I got some more that were really good when I was at Zarky’s, lol. Yep. Pepperettes for everyone, all the time!!! ~ karen

  8. This: “SUNDAY 7:30 a.m. Wake up drink coffee. Consider avoiding floor by taking emergency salsa dancing lessons.” Almost killed me…I had the coffee at my lip and stopped it so I wouldn’t choke/laugh at the same time.

    Bravo on getting it done in time, wow!

  9. Jen says:

    My question is…if you already do all these parts of refinishing an old floor, why aren’t you sanding and staining it yourself!!? JK. Cause that would be nuts!

    • Karen says:

      Heh. Well. Um. Actually – I will be finishing them myself. I won’t be sanding them though because it’s too easy to ruin a pine floor with a commercial sander. And after alllll this, I don’t want them ruined, lol! ~ karen

  10. Maryanne says:

    Love these Floor posts!! It’s like a Joseph Campbell adventure story outline – the intrepid adventurer needs to make the big decision; she decides to take the plunge (which was inevitable anyway, but agonizing to get there); the thrill of the beginning of the journey!; the first problem but our adventurer perseveres and the solution is found; a second problem is introduced – what will the adventurer do, but help arrives from an unexpected source; the second solution works – or does it really? Nail-biting!!! Can’t wait for the next installment :)

    (Amazing how exciting real life is when you think about it – lol)

  11. linda in Illinois says:

    Like always, you are amazing. So if the new old wood isn’t pine, then aren’t you just doing the same thing as what you just ripped up to get to the oldest flooring? I mean it looks amazing from where I sit but .. and making your own tongue and groove.. wow I mean wow. Next investment should be a router so you don’t have to make something from nothing like that again. you rock as always.

  12. Alena says:

    I had no doubts you will get it done before the floor refinisher shows up on Monday morning. But, you even got a full night of sleep! I would be trying to nail in the last nails as the renifisher was already knocking on the door (that’s how I always finish everything, just a bit past the deadline).
    I had my floors refinished only once, several years after living in my current house, and I DID regret bitterly that I haven’t had it done before moving in (I had a bridge mortgage anyways, as the house was empty about 2 weeks prior to me officially taking possession, and I slowly started to move some stuff; so it could have been done). I did not realize, at that time, what a horrible mess it would be and that it would be better to complete move out prior and then move back in after). But, too late to cry over spilled milk.
    I look forward to the next chapter.

  13. Eileen says:


  14. Arlene Stopps says:

    Oh the mayhem! I love it!
    I think you thrive on it… a sheer Adrenalin rush!
    Well…for the rest of us schleps… inspiration….our hero!!!
    Great job! Can’t wait to see it finished! Just in time for Thanksgiving 🍁

  15. Lori Hope says:

    I remember being extremely proud of myself for building a fence. This project is WAAAAY beyong fence-building. You are amazing.

  16. Mary W says:

    Something else is bound to go wrong BUT this is going to be gorgeous!!!!!!!!! So glad you prevented the centipede invasion but mainly happy spiders can’t come in just in case I travel to CA and visit and you offer me your bed or couch. I can’t wait to see these floors and wish I could see the floor refinisher’s face when he comes in. Your are one lucky gal to have found the boards.

  17. jaine kunst says:

    Geez, I can’t even clean out my closet and you’re replacing a floor in mere hours! I had no doubt you’d get ‘er done, but now I feel like such a slacker. I wish I was one of those centipedes watching that floor guy’s face when he sees your floor.

  18. Kari In Dallas says:

    Oh Karen! You are a force of nature! I hope you are proud of your self for tackling this huge job! You’re doing great, and when it’s all done you will Love it!

  19. Rose says:

    Wow, those new boards look rough. Can’t wait for what the sander can do. At least you have your beautiful chair to sit in.

  20. Marc says:

    OMG, can’t believe the amount of work that you accomplished! To put it mildly, I am so friggin impressed that I want to go start a remodel job myself! Then I pinch myself and get back to reality! Great job👍

  21. Ei Con says:

    You said the new antique boards are not pine.. so what are they? And won’t that be weird, since your original floor boards ARE pine ?

  22. Benjamin says:

    I’m still getting my suede pumps and purple ruffled shirt on to get my picture ready before I start taking the carpet up and you already have the whole floor ready for the sanders… WTF girl, lemme catch up for a minute.

  23. Laura says:

    Oh my word, Karen. You’re an animal.

  24. Cynthia says:

    Holy cow. You’ve got grit.

  25. Ritz says:

    I’m still scared of you!

  26. Edith says:

    You’re amazing. That’s all.

  27. Suel Anglin says:

    My word, you are a super-hero. Straightening antique nails, I thought I was the only one doing that. I can’t wait to see the floor after sanding. Have you decided on your finish? I would be all over the place trying to decide between something authentic to the period or something wonderfully high tech that would look authentic.

    I’m glad we don’t have too many centipedes down here. But Lord have mercy, we are covered up in stink bugs.

  28. Lois M Baron says:

    This is quite a nail-biter (no pun intended . . . well, maybe). You’re killing me, Karen! But now I have to go look up pepperettes. What the heck are you Canadians imbibing up there?

  29. corbin sweeny says:

    the fake tongue solution was really quite clever! no router on hand to make em for real? cannot wait to see the floor sanded down! my house is not ever so old, but from ’28. I stripped down fir and oak floors about a month ago: what an adventure as you may well know. one fir floor had always been in use, not ever carpeted, and apparently repeatedly stained dark dark brown by an insane person every few years for 90 years. the outcome was staggeringly light and beautiful in contrast. and, single twelve foot long pieces of clear fir from wall to wall, no joints breaking up the runs. they had the wood in the old days. thanks for sharing a wonderful story-

  30. TucsonPatty says:

    Oh geeze, oh geeze, oh geeze.
    I’m having a mild panic attack, and you’re in the middle of another one? I have Xanax for sleeping – will that help? Either for you or for me, I don’t care which one right now, I just need it all to be over soon. Sending good Karma your way.

  31. Mark says:

    Pepperettes are always a good thing. And coffee. And maybe sleep too. But who needs that if you have the first two things!

  32. Lorrie J. says:

    Two things:
    First of all, I’m behind the times … you’ve got a new cat!
    And Second, this is like waiting for the next installment of Game of Thrones … keep it up … we’re all rooting for you … you can climb that 500-metre ice wall!!!

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