Monday, January 31, 2011

-7 in Montana

Every year my siblings and I take one vacation all together. This is only possible because Kathy is able to take care of the 17 pets (yes, SEVENTEEN) between the 3 of us in Greenville. Before that we had to split up and go on trips 2 at a time. We usually go skiing at Big Sky in Montana. Today the low was -7. That actually means that we are not going outside until the afternoon in hopes that we won't freeze body parts.

My friend Lynn from Missoula is visiting for a few days here. Her husband was supposed to come along, but you can't really leave your dogs outside when the temperature is -20 as it was in Missoula last night. So Mike is dog-sitting while we're in Big Sky.

Last night we took a sleigh ride to a cabin on the mountain. Our draft horses were Pepsi and Rum. They are loaned out from a working ranch in Montana where they do all the heavy work with horses rather than tractors and stuff. I believe they are Belgian, Percheron mixes. Beautiful horses.

We also had incredible food. The Lone Mountain cook says "we don't consider vegetables food. We consider vegetables what food eats." So if you don't eat meat you have to make a special order for a vegetarian meal AND you have to specify that fish is not your idea of a vegetarian meal. Even though this was an alien concept to the cook, the meal was wonderful - a spinach linguine with vegetables (what food eats). The prime rib eaters were jealous of Lynn and me. All the food is cooked on this giant old wood burning stove. The rolls are to die for - whole wheat oatmeal. I was very happy that Lynn was tickled about the evening. She loves horses.

Great evening, everybody. Look at the happy horse girls.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mistake #247

I did it again. Kathy did a beautiful job restaining Adam's floor. No blotches whatsoever, BUT there were some significant swirl marks in one place from the sander which I thought I could fix by just a little touch-up sanding and restaining. Doesn't work that way.

Here are some before pictures of Kathy's floor and then Adam's floor.

Kathy's room 
Adam's room. You can't see the swirl marks.
They are along the far wall.

Below you will see where I sanded the floor and re-stained and re-stained and re-stained. That area just would not take up the stain like the rest of the floor did.

Now what? Re-sand? I'm afraid I might have to. This floor is driving me crazy. 

I finally got a decent camera. I've been using my iPhone which really takes pretty good photos, but I'm thinking I might need something a little more versatile so I got a Canon Powershot G12. It's really quite impressive. Since my family is going skiing next week, I think the camera will come in handy.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Believe it or not - it's still the floors.

I sincerely hope I am not using the same title in May - Still the floors. Ok, so this part of the floor looks pretty good. I was quite disheartened about an area in the middle of Adam's room so I have to sand the floor AGAIN to get this finish off and redo it.

I was so excited yesterday because the floors were ready to stain. I vacuumed for about 2 hours, then used a tack cloth on all of the floors. I was ready to go.  I poured the stain in the roller bucket. Then  I got out the floor finish applicator (basically a mop handle with a fuzzy block) to apply the stain. Then I start laying the dark walnut stain on so thick it was almost black. It was beautiful. My spirits soar because this floor is going to look good when we finish. Then I hurry and wipe of the stain. This is the tedious portion of staining. My arms protested, but MY floor is going to look GOOD. But wait, what is that in the middle of the room? I see 2 large blotchy areas right in the middle that significantly darker than the surrounding floor. It does NOT look good. This is not beautiful floor I have imagined for so many weeks. This will not do.

So I am back to sanding it off. I know what I did wrong. I tried to be cheap with the tack cloth which costs $1.84 per package (2 packages would do the entire house). So I made my own just like they say on the internet, but it raised the grain in 2 areas and there you have it - blotches on my beautiful floor. I also applied way, way too thick a layer of stain and did not wipe it off well so it's not dry yet. It's supposed to dry in 8 hours.

That's this week's floor story.

Here's a picture of the snow still on my driveway and the area that was next to my car. I am pretty sure we got about 8 inches of snow at my house. What is really remarkable is how much is left 5 days after the snow.

The snow was truly delightful. Kids will be out of school this whole week. Monday is Martin Luther King Day so they will be off Monday as well. It's almost as good as Christmas holidays (I still think of snow as all kids do in the south. We love it.)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

For the next week or so it will still be the floor

Kathy and I went over to the Lenore house around 12:00 noon and started working on the floors. I am getting up the nasty old paint off the cement floor in the mudroom while Kathy is making the wood floors in the bedrooms beautiful. She has gone through 24 grit - many, many times, then 36 grit x 2, then 50 grit x 2. Our plan is for the last grit to be 80 since we are using semigloss polyurethane rather than gloss on the floors.

We spent yesterday evening bleaching the floors trying to get out the stains in the living from floor. I think this is the best we can do.

This is after hydrogen peroxide from the drug store,  deck brightener (mild oxalic acid), then 2 concentrations of oxalic acid.

You can tell from our previous posts that we've gotten somewhere, but it's still not great. We are going to go with our decision to use walnut stain. We'll try to paint it a little darker around the stain to make the stain merge better with the rest of the floor.

If that doesn't disguise the dark spots, then the floor just has to have this much more personality.

We hope to stain on Tuesday or Wednesday, then polyurethane. It's very exciting to be getting to this point. It's the reward for all of our prep work. I really didn't think I had the patience to do it this well. It helps to have someone else equally as invested in doing it right.

Oh, I forgot. I've got to get my brother to help me take down the door to Kathy's room because it actually scrapes the floor. We've got to cut a small amount off the door before we do anything to her floor. And I've got to get him to show me how to apply wood putty in the nail and staple holes so they won't show so much. At best that will be done Tuesday.

The weekend plan is to install the bench and cabinets in the mudroom so I have to have that floor done this weekend as well. That floor is only about 5x5.