One of the first articles I wrote for my column, Me Plus Three, was about home renovations. This piece explained in detail the hellish ordeal I put my family through when deciding I wanted to revive the joint with a fresh coat of paint. If you weren’t a reader back then the entire article can be summed up in these two sentences: Painting the interior of your home while children still reside there is indefinitely the most idiotic thing a person can do. It will involve many tears and many swear words.
This was me nearly two years ago. Now I sit here with my tumbler glass half full of Cab Sav because, well, I avoid cleaning wine glasses at all costs and I look at the walls I toiled with so long ago. In past me’s defense, they do look pretty darn amazing. I still have to wonder though, was it worth it? Was it worth the constant stress that some little finger would find its way to the wet wall? Was it worth constantly harping on the people I love to NEVER push their chair up against the newly painted surface? Was it worth singlehandedly transforming into the psychotic drill sergeant I did, ordering my husband and all of our helpers about like they were mindless drones in a painting crusade of apocalyptic proportions? Probably not.
So why I wonder did I of sound mind choose to undergo this process once more? Yes you read that right, the Browns had decided to renovate…Again.
You know how I am always poking fun at myself over the hoarded mess in my basement? Well among the piles of random stuff there is a heap of laminate flooring. It has been down there ever since Jamie’s mom put new floors in her home and we decided that we would—in an effort to reduce, reuse, recycle and not to mention make our wallets happy—salvage the laminate floorboards and install them in our home, in due time. Three years later we pulled ‘em out.
Before we could lay down the new/reused stuff we had to rip up the carpet. In all honesty between the incorrigible innuendos Jamie kept coming up with in regards to this task and the fact that the destruction of it all allowed me to release some pent up frustrations of my own it was probably the most enjoyable part of the entire flooring experience.
It was what came next that began our quick spiral into renovation damnation. We put the underlay down with little troubles (for all of you flooring virgins out there this is the foam matting you place under the laminate boards, I only relay this information because I was in fact a flooring virgin before this ordeal).
However when we began to attempt to click and lock the first few boards together something was wrong. They weren’t clicking or locking. Instead they were shifting and sliding. It was at this point I hooked up the sprinkler in the back yard for the children—the only place they’d be out of earshot of their fathers current use of colorful vocabulary.
Turns out fifteen year old laminate does not hold up well in dank, cold and moist basements. We had a pro come and look at it for us and he stated what we were all thinking; it was unusable.
We toyed with the idea of painting the sub floor a funky color and calling it modern chic. Or perhaps we could just staple a bunch of layers of the underlay on and each time the kids had a spill we’d tear a layer off! Really the ingenious possibilities were endless. In the end we opted for a perhaps more traditional route and bought new laminate flooring to install. Unfortunately this particular product already had the underlay attached to it so the better half of the following day was spent removing the thousands of staples we had punctured violently into the floor in our attempt at effectively securing the previous (now useless) underlay.
I won’t even start to tell you the hassle we went through when it came to the stairs, one because it is sort of embarrassing if there are any flooring specialists reading today and two I simply do not have a high enough word allotment to begin to get into that horrific turn of events.
Eventually we finished, no worse for the wear…Wait, what am I saying? I think we may be scarred for life when it comes to the home renovation process.
And then an unnerving thought crosses me. Our unfinished basement.