Saturday, April 05, 2008

Dante Scholars Tout Discovery of New Level of the Inferno in Suburban America

DW and I are in the midst of a series of home-improvement projects. We've re-painted most of the interior of the house, put glass doors on the bathtubs to minimize our kids' water damage (why didn't we think of that years ago?), and right now we're re-doing our flooring. I had expected to be far along in our laminate flooring installation by now. However, yesterday proved otherwise.

I chipped a piece of baseboard molding while I was removing it, so I went to the Home Depot to get a replacement piece. After about an hour, another customer saw me looking through every piece of trim in the store, and he asked whether I was trying to match a piece of molding. He told me that he did the same thing last year, only to find that they change the millwork every couple of years. We discussed possible solutions, and I agreed that I would have to do what he did--replace all of the molding in the room. I thought a while about what to do--could I have one room too far off from the rest of the house?--then looked through everything again. I found something that came close enough that we can replace the baseboards in the one room where I goofed, and I added some waterproof baseboards to my cart for the bathrooms. Don't tell gentle reader Bill, but the Lord's name was taken in vain several times during my Home Depot visit, and a few other choice words may have popped out of my mouth.

I got home and used the old molding pieces as patterns to cut my new molding. That turned out to be a mistake, as the builders had made bad measurements and bad cuts, then evidently used big globs of caulk or wallboard putty--or, in a couple of instances, a massive number of nails--to cover their mistakes. Don't get me wrong, personal experience led me to recognize how they went about covering their boo-boos--I'm a fan of using jillions of nails to connect objects that should have connected per the instructions but somehow don't--but I would expect a little more from a homebuilder. Also, the homebuilder's tricks made the baseboards damn difficult to remove. A task that should have taken 10 or 20 minutes took a couple of hours. So now the new molding doesn't quite fit either. I recognized the mistakes soon enough that the last few pieces are cut much better, but now I will need to resort to the putty/wallboard compound trick.

After several hours of removing baseboards, cutting and painting new baseboards, and doing some other prep. work, we were ready to put down the new floor. Oops, I forgot that I needed to cut back to the doorjamb underneath the framing on the kitchen door. Well, the jamb saw didn't seem to work, so I took out my old hack saw and made a mess of things. I went back to Home Depot to seek out a better tool. Well, the jamb saw was the right tool, so I went home and decided to make do. I took the jamb saw and put medium pressure on it as I sawed. It bounced around, scraping off a little paint here and there. Then I bore down on it hard and cussed a blue streak the likes of which have never been heard on any HBO show, save Deadwood. DW thought something must have gone very wrong, but I told her no, I'm cussing like this to make this work. It did work, actually. Oh, and we discovered that our walls don't go all the way down to the concrete--there's an inconvenient little indentation into the casing right at the bottom. So at 11:00 p.m., we had one row of flooring down.


Ann said...

Wow. Sounds like hell.

Bill said...

I think word leaked out...