The Dust Bunnies are having a holiday around our house. It’s still snowing remodeling dust in a consistent manner. Nearly every day, I could probably pull up doilies and still have a decorative design left behind.
My lesson this week - When you try and cut corners it will come back to bite you in the who-ha! There are no short-cuts in quality home improvement. I’m learning this the hard way. So my advice to you is to read the instructions – Twice. Oh, and then follow them. Precisely!!! Don’t skip steps.
So I laid out this beautiful tile floor a week ago, and on Tuesday I grouted it. Wow it was looking nice. I sponge washed it off, just like they said, but I didn’t dry rub off the hazy glaze left on the tile right away, like they recommended. Big mistake. – Huge mistake. I did cover it with plastic and occasionally spray it with water (part of curing the grout), thinking I could wipe up the haze later. Last night I took off the plastic and was preparing to wipe the floor and then seal the grout. But the darn glaze wouldn’t come off. See the streaks?
So with some wonderful helpers, (Prince Erik, Grandma, T-rev, Abner and myself) we had to put in some really good elbow grease time. Maybe a combined 8 hours of scrubbing that tile hard enough to remove the glaze. I’m thinking if I ever had to get fingerprinted, they’d have a hard time seeing anything other than smooth. So FINALLY – Today, I was ready to seal the deal, or the grout.
It’s finally done and it only took us 16 days from start to finish. Probably 3 of those days were muscling up the mistakes. My wise bro-in-law pointed out that the good thing was that we aren’t likely to ever make the same mistakes again. Next time I’m removing the glaze – dry rub style right away. The other good thing is – I can actually see my arm muscles. Wa-ho! I’m going to be a buff dudette when this is all said and done. And sixteen days later I have a kitchen floor.
From This sliver-full, redneck, uneven, stained plywood floor (which we’ve seen for the last three years)…
To This (A real honest-to-goodness, professional looking) Kitchen Floor…
Makes every hammered thumb, chemical thin-set rash worth it. Oh yes, another rule I should have followed – wear gloves while mixing and spreading thin-set. It burns the skin. Another reason why I don’t have fingerprints anymore.
Right before the floor was sealed T-rev was walking across it with a jug of concentrated juice. I warned him not to spill it or it might stain the new floor.
‘I know mom, and if I stained the floor, you’d kill me,’ T-rev moaned.
‘Nope, because then I’d have to deal with blood stains.’ I replied.
He smiled and said, ‘Good one, mom.’
It was a tough week, the washing machine died and spewed it’s guts all over the laundry room floor. Abner kindly took this mountain of unpleasant smells to the Laundry-mat for me.
The furnace died too, on the day of the snowstorm. Maybe all the dust burnt out it’s igniter.
What is it with my appliances? Luckily, Prince Erik fixed the furnace, and we bought a reconditioned washer, with a warranty, from a little small-pop appliance store. It’s worked like a miracle for the last two days. In the past, two bumps in a road like that would have totally sent me to the fridge for some comfort food, or some escape-from-reality movie. But I’m doing so well at not letting the hiccups slow my progress. It feels good to power through. And the rewards, well, look at how huge of an accomplishment the kitchen floor is. Wowser! Things like this make the speed bumps insignificant.
The best part of the week was Pompa and Grandma came for a visit and didn’t whine about the construction mess. Oh, and Lea and Prince Erik both celebrated birthdays. So time marches on.
I am overwhelmed at how much harder this transformation process really is compared to what I thought it would be. It’s physically, and emotionally grueling. TV shows make it look like one hard week or two of work and snap a beautifully Done project. Today is my four month mark. Nine truck loads to the dump, and the truck is filling up with number ten as I type. The thrift store calls on a weekly basis to see if I’ve more to donate. It’s exhausting, but so rewarding! Never in a million years could I have realized just how hard it is to de-hoard. But I’m so determined to see this through. Even though I’ve still got mountains of clutter in maybe 5 more rooms, I know I’m past the half-way mark. That light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter every day.
So dust bunnies – enjoy the construction snow while it lasts because winter is almost over and I’m nearly ready to sweep you out of the house once and for all.