December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

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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