December 6, 2017:


It's COLD here. Cold and windy. But the Sun has been out for the past 2 days so it's bright, and that helps me to bear the cold and the short days. Only 15 more days to Winter Solstice, and then each day, a few more minutes of daylight will magically begin to be added, and even though the cold and snow will continue, the "worst" will be over because I know we are over the hump and headed toward the Spring Equinox.

Meanwhile, I am busy decorating the tree. I dug out an old collage of photos from the former Maison Newton (above). Gosh, that was a beautiful fireplace. My current gel fuel fireplace is great, but no match for that large and lush gas fireplace in my former home. In my case, downsizing meant not only much less square footage and a single story (which IS nice), but no fireplace until I purchased my gel fuel fireplace. I love it, but there was only one wall I could put it on, and this current living room is much smaller than my former living room, so I sized the fireplace accordingly. (It was also much less expensive and did not need to be installed by professionals).

Yesterday I womaned up and muscled, huffed, puffed, cussed some, breathed heavily and heaved mightily to get my Christmas tree up the basement stairs and dragged into the living room, and then into position in front of the picture window overlooking the front of the house. Whew! Quite the work-out. But I wasn't ready this year to switch to a "single woman of a certain age" (4 foot tall) tree. Maybe next year...NAH!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Removing Carpet from My Stairs

Hola, darlings!

This afternoon, about 3 p.m., I started removing the carpeting from my stairs.

For background, please visit my prior post:

June 9, 2013: Am I Really Thinking About Tearing Off the Carpeting on the Stairs...

I realized a few weeeks ago after having lived here nearly 23 years and going up and down the basement stairs all the time, that those stairs are perfectly fine stairs that could be painted or stained; I shortly concluded, after this stunning realization, that if the builder bothered to put such "good" stairs down to the basement, chances are, he did the same with the stairs going from the first floor up to the second floor.

In a further fit of inspiration, I pulled out my copy of the builder's specs. And there it was in writing - the stairs/treads were made out of pine and birch. But despite plenty of testimony from visiting online blogs of people who has discovered that their carpeted stairs were good enough to re-finish without having to be replaced, I was too scared (paralyzed, is more like it), to do anything to even try and check if my suppositions about the first to second floor stairs were correct.

I didn't include photographs of my basement stairs in my prior post - it didn't occur to me until today to take a couple and post them here - duh.  Here are the basement steps going down from the hallway (between the front room and the kitchen/dinette) to the basement landing:

And here is a photo of the second set of steps from the landing down to the basement:

Not bad, heh?  They've got a bullnose edge and they're made (according to the builder's specs) out of pine and birch.

I cannot believe I'm doing this.  Have I gone totally insane?  Hmmm...

After spending the entire morning (since 6:35 a.m.) watching online videos of last season's HGTV Star in-between bouts of doing loads of laundry and house-cleaning, and since it was horrible outside (hot and icky humid and it rained for nearly 12 hours, since about 9 p.m. last night until about 9 a.m. this morning, it's too wet to cut the grass), I decided to tackle the carpeting that has been driving me nuts for the past several years. 

Blame it on HGTV!  I pulled out a screwdriver and a putty knife and gently pried up a corner of the carpeting at the end of the lowest step in the hallway, just to see what kind of wood was underneath.  I was surprised by how easily it came up.  Now I realize that it was a trick played upon me all those years ago by whoever installed the carpeting...  I was able to pull the carpeting up and -- sure enough -- there was the nice pine tread with a bullnosed edge, just like the basement stairs!

And so, I kept going...

Yucky stuff, but less that I would have suspected after all these years, came out of the carpeting, but it came up easily enough, for awhile...

I pulled out an assortment of different tools.  Unfortunately, I do not own a wrench, highly recommended by Thirfty Decor Chick for aiding in carpeting removal -- I learned how right she was! 

Working off and on for several hours, I finally quit about 7:20 p.m. when I basically collapsed in an exhausted heap and decided to cook myself a fancy steak dinner instead of trying to remove even one more damn carpet staple.  Ironically, although I started at the bottom of the stairs, that step has yet to be stripped of its carpeting.  Instead, I cut the carpeting underneath the bullnose on the landing and worked my way down the stairs, figuring that it would be easier to pull the carpeting DOWN toward me than to pull it UPWARD. 

I was wrong.  Either way is equally hard.

I am very disappointed to have discovered that I am much weaker than I thought I was.  Damn! 

I am still not done removing the carpeting from the first seven stairs leading up to the landing.  From what seemed like hardly any staples at all holding the carpeting on the stairs to what seem like thousands, my poor arms just do not have enough strength to pull the carpeting up. Well, at least, not any more tonight!

I still have two treads and three risers at the bottom of the staircase to remove the carpeting from.  But right now, I'm going to go take a long hot bath in the hope of heading off what I suspect could be a bad case of aches and pains tomorrow, and then go to bed!

I also have several scratches to treat with tea tree oil. I had gloves on to protect my hands and eye protection, but only a tee shirt on working inside the house.  Should have been wearing a heavy sweatshirt to protect my arms.  The scratches are inadvertent, from brushing up against the carpet staples as I worked to remove the carpet from the stairs.

One good thing I discovered -- there are NO carpet tack strips!  Nope!  My carpeting was stapled into the treads and risers near the seam between tread and riser and underneath the bullnose on the tread, so I will not have to remove tack strips.

Another thing I discovered -- how chintzy my carpet padding was.  Geez! 

And, fortunately, many of the staples are coming up with the carpeting instead of tearing through and staying embedded on the treads and risers, because I'm tugging the carpeting out so slowly (because I haven't eaten my spinach and do not have arms like Popeye, alas).  And so, while there will be staples to be removed after the carpeting is all gone, there won't be near as many as I feared.

And, at least eyeballing it while tugging this way and that trying to get the carpeting off the stairs, there do not seem to be as many holes that will need to be filled and sanded as I saw in the accounts posted online by many other people who have gone through this process. 

So, my sore muscles are counting their blesings right now.  Good night.

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