May 20, 2018:


Yesterday Prince Harry married American Meghan Markle and I couldn't get enough of the royal wedding. What a gorgeous dress, the bride was radiantly beautiful and the church at Windsor - oh my goodness, the flowers alone were soooo beautiful. There's nothing like a good love story to make one appreciate how precious we can be (and should be) to each other.

I'm glad the weather was perfect yesterday for the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex's wedding. I can't say the same for around here. Spring keeps teasing and then going away. This morning I woke up to a "balmy" 47 degrees F outside, rain, damp, and I turned the heat back on! It's May 20th, the heat. should. not. be. on. Period.

Last Thursday, however, was beautiful. I was able to get a goodly amount of yard and garden clean-up done over several days last week. I also took some photos of my flowering tree anchoring the north corner of my house and made the current collage. I think it's an ornamental cherry, and on the the other end of the house, I think that's called a purple sand cherry? I'll have to check that. The blossoms on the tree do not have a distinct fragrance, but the purple shrub that wants to be a tree (despite my hacking it back, back and back yearly - I'm losing, by the way) has myriad blossoms with a distinct fragrance. I can't decide if the scent is too beautiful to bear or too awful to smell, it certainly can be overpowering!

This coming week will be the third cut of the grass this season. We had rain late Friday night and then for several hours earlier this morning. This rain, on top of the rain we had over four days the prior weekend, and the grass is growing like nobody's business! I don't mind doing the grass, though, as long as it's not too hot, too cold, not raining, and not too windy. I'm not picky at all, am I...

I still have a lot of raking out of areas that suffered from snow mold over the winter, and have not yet really tackled cleaning out the north flower bed in the backyard. That will be a chore!

But Memorial Day weekend is coming. This coming Saturday I will be out with a friend (who has a nice large van - goody!) stocking up on potting soil, top soil to fill in never-ending low spots in the yard, grass seed, and lots of plants! For some reason, this spring seems busier than those in prior years. I can't figure out why that is...


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Am I REALLY Thinking About Tearing Off the Carpeting on the Stairs...

I cannot believe - just cannot believe - that I am actually contemplating doing this.

But I am.

I don't recall the exact moment this particular infection took hold of my brain.  I think it was perhaps ten days to two weeks ago.  I was sitting at the desk in the front room, which has a clear view of the stairs going up to the landing toward the second floor. 

I went ICK.  SUPER ICK.  I HATE how the carpet looks on the stairs. It is worn out and shabby looking in the worst possible way and I do not think I'd be able to paint my way to Shabby Chic respectability no matter how much I ardently wish for it!  Anyway, I don't believe one actually paints carpeting. Upholstery galore, yes, carpeting, no.  In this photo you can sort of see the worn-down areas where countless footsteps have trod up and down, up and down, over the past 22 plus years!  Alas, I cannot afford to replace the carpeting.

It was then that I got the brain attack to tear up the carpeting and, believe me, I wanted to go at it right that instant!

But, as the old saying goes, discretion is the better part of valor. Or something like that.  Since then, I've been doing unending research into how the heck such a thing is to be done and what to do with the bare stairs afterwards...

There is PLENTY of inspiration for such a project on the internet:

I found this extremely informative step-by-step post at SAS Interiors:

Staircase Makeover: A New DIY Venture Begins
May 21, 2012

This is soooo like my icky old stairs, even down to the medium grey carpeting!  Except I don't have a man around the house with nice muscular hairy arms to help me cut up carpeting and do carpet-tack strip and staple removal and such.  Damn!

Plenty of inspiration, including this more difficult project -- open staircase.  I don't have that, whew!  Thank Goddess for small favors!  Check out this how to from In My Own Style blog:

My Foyer Staircase Reveal
by Diane Henkler on 01/19/2011

Thrifty Decor Chick redid her stairs:

How To Take Carpeting Off Stairs
February 9, 2010

Reading her blog alerted me to something I hadn't really thought about -- what the hell,
exactly, is lurking underneath the carpeting....

Cue scary music while gigantic white shark is eating woman's legs...

After I read Thrifty Decor Chick's blog entry, I couldn't get the horrible thought out of my mind that my staircase might, in fact, be nothing but glued together plywood bits and chopped up branches from my giant Chinese Elm tree out back.

Had nightmares about it.

Decided I just wan't even going to attempt this.  But then, on Friday night after a long hard day at the office, I was feeling frisky and gave my stairs a good feel-up to see if I could determine whether there is a bull-nosed step underneath the carpeting.

I did plenty of feeling-up, but tests came back inconclusive, and I felt like a sex offender. Not only that, I decided this just was not a project I could possibly undertake because once the carpet is off, if I do NOT have decent-enough stairs to refinish, I'd have to buy re-treads and boards to reface the risers (cha-ching) and, even worse, hire someone to come in and cut the suckers to fit with a power saw and miter box (neither of which I own and have no desire to do so), before attempting to do the finishing myself!

Nixed all thought of redoing the stairs.


After chopping down tons of weeds, pruning countless wild grape vines and ruthlessly decapitating volunteer trees, raking endless tons of nut shells yet again (that is what I get for feeding the squirrels) and cutting the grass out back and drinking ginormous amounts of cheap boxed pink wine (LOVE the stuff) all the while, when I finally relaxed on the deck this afternoon and was doing dream furniture shopping online underneath the patio umbrella so I wouldn't get pooped on by the birds, I had the brilliant notion --

-- my basement stairs are bullnosed and of finishable grade, either staining or painting.  Why would the builder use something LESS to make the staircase from first to second floor?

Indeed, why Jan, WHY?

Mind you, I've only been living here 22 plus years and going up and down the stairs to the basement at least a couple of times a week!   DUH!  They are perfectly good stairs. And in those 22 plus years of living here, all I've ever done is sweep them and give them the occasion wipe off with a damp cloth!  LOL!  I've never finished them either with stain or paint, but they could easily be finished with either.  They don't show any wear at all, not even the ground-in grime you'd expect.  I must be neater than I thought. 

But, in an excess of caution, just because you never know -- I got a second brilliant notion to pull out the original plans to the house and see if anything was actually written about the stairs! So, into the secret desk drawer I went and out came the original builder's plans and specs!  Yep, I still have them. 

I put on my super-duper magnifying Walgreens' readers and the specs said, under Number 6, Millwork:

Stairs leading from first to second floor shall be made with fir & pine stringers with pine stairs and pine & fir risers.  Basement stairs shall be made with same stringers with risers and pine & fir treads.

So, if I'm reading this correctly, the basement stair treads are pine (veneer?) and fir, with pine and fir risers and fir and pine stringers (is there a difference between "pine and fir" and "fir and pine"???)  While the "upstairs" stairs treads are solid pine.

The point is, they are basically the same stairs! I can SEE the basement stairs and know they can be finished, they do not have to be covered with re-treads or cover-risers cut to size!  Which means that underneath my ratty old carpeting on the stairs to the second floor are refinishable treads and risers once I get rid of the carpeting, padding, tack-strips and staples, fill in all the holes and sand the hell out of everything or figure out a work-around!  Woo woo!

So I am seriously thinking of tackling this re-do while the family room continues to beg me to finish removing wallpaper and get the paint on and the chair rail installed, already.

Oh my...  But look -- even after serious hand-vacuuming the carpeting does NOT look good.  It has to go!

Already planning on how I'm going to start tearing it up tomorrow night while The Voice is on...

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