What’s Going On

Today is my first day back after a two week winter break from work and school. I had planned to spend the two weeks much like I spend most breaks: coding. But you know what they say about the best laid plans.

A few months ago I decided that my home office would make me happier if it had wood floors. We had tossed around the idea, and came to the conclusion that installing laminate wood floors was a task that even two people with our dubious home improvment track record could tackle. So the day after Christmas we bought some flooring, a table saw and knee pads, and proceeded to pull up the carpet. Underneath we found hard wood floors, covered in paint splatter. Like the previous owners had painted the ceiling and neglected to put down a drop cloth. Twice.

So with the contents of my home office stacked in the spare bedroom, we returned the laminate flooring and bought some lacquer thinner and steel wool. You may wonder why we chose to scrub off the old paint and finish instead of sanding. And there’s a good reason. Most of the instructions for refinishing floors we found online recommended consulting a professional refinisher if the floor was less than 3/4” thick. Ours was 3/8”; definitly under 3/4”. That combined with the afore-mentioned track record led us to believe scrubbing was the best approach.

The good thing about lacquer thinner is that it’s an excellent solvent. The bad thing about lacquer thinner is that it’s an excellent solvent. It kept eating through our gloves, even after we bought the “chemically resistant” kind. Even so, four days, a few brain cells and five pairs of gloves later, we had the floor stripped and three coats of polyurethane down. And the floors look great. After a 3 hour drive to IKEA, we even had some new shelving and a chair. Not bad.

Now if this were where the story ended, I might still have gotten some coding done. But it’s not. Cocky from our floor success, we decided that we needed some window treatments (I’m gay, remember?) in the office and some custom picture frames. And while we were at it, we might as well rearrange a room in the basement to accomodate the table saw properly. And if we were going to accomodate a table saw, what about a drill press and router table? Yeah, those would be useful, too. And since the shop fits so well in the room, it’s a shame to use all those extension cords; a new dedicated circuit with lots of outlets would be nice. How hard can it be? So let it be written, so let it be done.

So after two weeks of break, I’m ready to be back to coding and my day job. And even though I’m glad to be back, there’s something satisfying about the fact that I now know how to refinish wood floors and install new breakers in my house. I don’t know how often I’ll use my newly acquired basement wood shop, but those should be some damn nice picture frames. When I get around to making them.

date:2004-01-05 08:27:03
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category:my life