Friday, July 16, 2010

Further education

In theory, nothing is wasted if something is learned – someone famous said that and if they didn't, I am now officially famous.

Today's learning is brought to you by the letter B for Basement Bathroom and the letters F and S for Floor and Scraper. Here's the situation: someone, some time ago, put his/her foot through the wall of the basement shower. It was old, ceramic tile, badly set-up in the first place but useable. Foot through wall = not so useable. So, the shower needs replacing. A "plastic" insert should do the trick and I'd be back to having a useable bathroom in the basement. Simple, right?

Umm, no.

It appears that, not only am I having a new shower, I am having a new vanity/sink, some new drywall, aaaannndd a new floor. It's about the floor.

I don't do ladders. The Sr Boy did ladders, I never had to (other than the step ladder to reach the top of the kitchen cabinets – have I mentioned that I am altitudinally challenged?) so they are a mystery and scary. I do do floors. The Upstairs Bathrooms had parquet and I chipped every single piece off with a chisel, a scraper and my very own hammer (given to me by my mum when I moved out on my own back before there was dirt). I've been known to wash floors on my hands and knees (not often but it has happened). The Basement Bathroom had a perfectly good (if outdated aka ugly) lino floor. Perfectly good except for the lack of lino along the edge of the new shower. About 5 inches worth.

The Jr Boy assures me that these days contractors leave stuff in houses: pots of paint (neatly named by room), some tile in case of a rough day with the blow dryer, wall paper, carpet – the Just In Case stuff that is usually needed within the first 3 weeks of moving in. This house didn't come with any of that and, besides of which, it would all be impossible to use being older than The Jr Boy so I'm getting a new floor in the bathroom which means (a) old lino ripped out and (b) Pay Attention Here – the floor scraped of old lino backing and glue.

Not, initially, a big job as it turned out: the Original Floor Layer decided that glue was only necessary along the edges (and a particularly nasty bit behind the toilet – spooky foreshadowing music here) so the lino came up (mostly) a treat. For the backing and glue parts, The Jr Boy had supplied me with a floor scraper which was eleventy-seven times better than the putty knife I had in mind. In fact, it was a purpose-built Floor Scraper with a "don't try to take this on an airplane" scraper blade and a cushioned handle. I went at the floor with alacrity (which is somewhat like Billy-o whoever he was only with more oomph) and, mirabile dictu, the glue and lino backing was lifting with only a bit of grunting ("Dear Officer Krupke" from Westside Story seemed to work well) and a lot of sweat. The bathroom is only about 4' x 6' and I'd done 90% and was moving in to the area around the toilet which is where the OFL had decided needed "something special" and which was giving me a lot of extra upper body work. "Officer Krupke" was not cutting the mustard.

Nor was a break for a refreshing libation.

Nor were the Good Housekeeping Fairies going to come along and finish this. I mosied back downstairs and gave the toilet corner a baleful glare.

Then I looked at the Floor Scraper closely.

Didja know that Floor Scrapers have a right and wrong side??

Really, it's amazing how much I got done.

I'm trying not to think about the G&T time I didn't have on the new deck.

Still breathing

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wildlife Report, Rowing Version

Genus: Boneheaded Boat Operators Overall appearance: often wearing sunglasses, seldom wearing life preserver, usually only one hand on the wheel because the other has a beverage in it, skin colouration: deep mahogany unless recently arrived in which case various shades of pink to red. As the genus appears to be totally male, researchers wonder how they reproduce themselves. There is a large question as to the necessity of these animals and they are considered in many quarters as one of God(de)'s less satisfactory creations along with ticks, rattlesnakes, and oil company engineers who think deep drilling in the Arctic is "manageable". There are to be several species/subspecies which appear in overlapping habitat and not always cooperatively.

Species: I Don't Need to Have a Human Spotter Because There's Never Anyone Out On the Lake When I Take People Skiing, Subspecies: But I'll Bring the Dog Along Because the Dog Likes Boat Rides.

Species: Oh Look, There's Another Boat, I'll Make Loops Around Them Because I'm Big and Fast, Subspecies: Why Is That Woman Waving At Me With Only One Finger?

Species: I'll Take Off From the Dock at Full Speed So Everyone Will Know I Have Lots of Power, Subspecies: That Boat With All Those Oars Shouldn't Be In My Way

In the interest of survival, further close observations will be forced upon researchers.

I prefer the eagles, ospreys, herons, and especially the mama mallard who showed us what boneheads we were for going out on the water a couple of days ago.
Rowing Rule #153: If Mama Mallard is right beside the rowing shells all fluffed out over her babies, rowing is not advised.

Metre high swells are really, really impressive, especially at the bottom of their troughs.

Still breathing