April 6, 2019:


The income taxes are finished and were taken to the Post Office yesterday to send out via certified mail, which now costs nearly $16 for two 8 1/2 11 envelopes with return receipt. Yikes! But worth it because I have proof positive once I get the little green cards back that the returns were delivered and received. And just in case, there are tracking numbers that I can also tap the U.S. Post Office for to verify that delivery was made. In these times, it's better to be safe than sorry

I have been working in little bits and pieces outdoors whenever a window in our crappy weather has presented itself. Today, however, was the first day where I was able to spend an extended period of time outside. First, I cleaned up areas on the sidewalk and driveway along the edges where pine cones and branches tiny branches blown off during the seemingly wind storms we endured over fall and winter 2018-2019. After resting for a bit, and removing the winter hat, gloves and jacket, I moved to the back yard because I'm sick of feeling sick to my stomach every time I look at it through the patio doors in the dining room and window above the kitchen sink. This winter left it a true disaster zone. I worked steadily raking small areas and filled two trash can size black trash bags full of debris blown down from my arborvitaes and neighboring trees over the winter, in addition to about half a ton of nut shells. The nut shells are my fault because I feed all the neighborhood squirrels. They are so entertaining, and very smart! I also made a small dent in starting clean-up of the flower beds, where the "mild" (ahem) weather and thawed earth has encourages perennials to start popping through, whether I'm ready for them or not!

All in all, a somewhat decent start to making a larger dent in clean-up operations. I worked outdoors about 4 hours off and on. I didn't want to overdo it, and truth be told, I'm pooped! It's humbling to not be able to work as long or as hard as I used to. I can get it done, but I have to take lots of rest breaks so it takes quite a bit longer now. Good thing I'm retired


Monday, June 24, 2013

The Carpet Is OFF The Stairs!!!!!

Woop woop!  I am so fricking proud of myself, darlings!  I did it all by myself.  I didn't think I could, but I got the last of the carpeting off the stairs from the landing to the second floor tonight.  Late last night I dug out a new tool from my #1 Junk Drawer that helped a lot - a very sharp razor edge cutter (much sharper than my box top cutter) that made short work of the carpeting as I worked my way first up, and then down, the stairs from the top step.  Being able to tug at a short cut edge of the carpeting gave me much better leverage with my pliers and made a big difference in how quickly the carpeting came up.

My arms feel like they're going to fall off...

The last of the carpeting was tucked into the trash bin for pick-up tomorrow morning.

I really lucked out on the landing bullnose and the bullnose at the start of the second floor hallway because the carpet installer (Bless His Soul) cut and separately stapled the carpeting around each of those bullnoses (is that a word?), so I did not have to cut the carpeting and then worry about how I was going to attach it under the bullnose, as I do not own a staple gun and the thought of trying to use one scares the crap out of me!  Instead, after gingerly feeling all around those landing bullnoses with bare fingers, I determined that the carpeting was separately stapled (thank Goddess for our wonderful Sense of Touch), I was able to dig around with my pliers near the top of the tread underneath each landing, grab the carpet, and tug it away, more or less leaving a clean line of carpeting above it.  YIPPEE! 

I'm too tired to examine it more closely tonight, but I think I'll be able to get up underneath each bullnose and tuck any "loose ends" of the carpeting (once trimmed with that super-sharp razor cutter) into the seam between landing and riser.

Here are some photos of the upper stairs, now stripped of carpet, hooray for Moi!  Like my Dad was fond of saying in his worst imitation of Boris Badinof's accent (anyone out there besides me remember the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show???):  You strong like Bull!  You betcha, Dad.  Hathor the ancient Egyptian Holy Cow Goddess (no, I am not kidding) is mighty proud of this here midwestern American gal tonight. 

In total, I removed carpet from seven stairs on the steps from first floor to landing, and from five stairs on the steps from the landing to the second floor hall.  Whew! 

As you can see, the padding - cheapo thin padding, has yet to be removed.  Call me silly stupid, LOL!  I was kinda wondering Saturday night after laboring for hours on removing carpeting from the first flight of stairs just why that padding wasn't moving.  But it wasn't until this evening that I gingerly tugged it on a corner on one tread and saw that it is firmly stapled to each and every tread. 

Damn damn damn!  Well, I should have known these otherwise in pretty darn good shape stairs would come with a cost besides uber-sore muscles!

The second set of stairs also has some issues that the first set of stairs does not.  Check out these photos:

Oh yeah, more than quarter-inch wide gaps along the left side of the stairs.  I don't know if it was just not so carefully built as the first set of steps from first floor to landing, or if the house has shifted a lot during the past 23 plus years.  Hmmmm.  In any event, these gaps will need to be addressed somehow, someway, when I get to refinishing the stairs and risers.  A couple more photos -- the gaps persist all the way down to the landing:

Holy Hathor -- looks like a dead mouse head, eek!  But nope - it's just some carpeting stuck in there.  Whew!

Look at that -- a crack where the riser meets the stair narrowing down to nothing!  Well, that one at least I can probably caulk.  Now I'm going to have to learn - seriously darlings - how the heck to caulk! 

And what kind of caulk to use.  Cuz the risers are going to be a creamy white and the treads are going to be stained red mahogany (did I spell that right?), and the bannisters and trim pieces on either side are going to get a good rich coating of red mahogany and after 23 years, the woodwork on the staircase will finally be stained the way I'd always envisioned.  My B-I-L Fred, good guy that he is, stained the staircase for me way back in 1990, but he did it like a man.  Well, I guess he can be excused, since he is a man.  On the woodwork that I stained in the house, admittedly taking forever to do it, I did coat after coat until I'd built up a rich lacquer-like finish that is truly deep rich mahagony that almost looks like antique cherry with a dark gloss over it.  So, I'm going to take my time and do it - just so and try to get that look on the stairs like I have on the little "ranch style" baseboards upstairs and in the front room. 

Or maybe not - do I have the patience to do that NOW???  Probably not.

And the ballisters - I'm actually thinking of painting them to match the risers.  Now talk about WORK!  But, I figure I can unscrew them, a few at a time, and that will make them way easier to paint, at least for me, and then reinstall and continue painting a few ballisters at a time until they're all finished.  I'll see...  I'm pretty sure I remember correctly that I read that it is easier to paint over stain than to try to stain over paint - and yeah, how could one possibly stain over paint?  It would have to be removed!  So

My staircase is certainly not "traditional" in its styling, but I'm thinking a traditional paint job will look pretty darn cool.  A far cry from my original "quicky" vision of just dumping a coat of red mahogany stain on any unfinished wood and calling it a day.

More later - like -- how to deal with the issues!  But right now I'm going to finish my glass of wine and then take a nice long hot shower.  Oy -- did you know that pulling carpeting off stairs is actually great exercise for your butt muscles?  Yep -- my butt muscles were hurting like the dickens today and since the only out of the ordinary exercise I had this weekend was pulling carpeting off stairs with all my might, it has to be that which caused sore butt muscles. 

Hmmm, maybe if I start renting myself out as a remover of carpet from stairs person, I will obtain the coveted Buns of Steel after all these years...


  1. Hey Jan - just letting you know that you're a no-reply blogger in case you didn't know - so I've been replying to you on my actual posts!
    If you come by - there's a " button " called Sharing is Caring - click on it and there's an easy fix!
    Big hugs,

  2. Jan,
    How are you going to refinish the stairs?? I thought about removing the carpet bt I am afraid that I would be more prone to falling without the carpet on the stairs. I will be getting pergo max wood floors through out the down stairs in Sept. I am so looking forward to that!!


    1. Hi Deb (and Suzan),

      I think (I hope) I took care of that "no reply blogger" thing. Anyway, Debbie, I answered Suz separately and owe her a visit too. Was disconnected from the internet for a week plus, now I have to catch up! About those stairs - well, I am going to do a post on that. It's going to take me a long time to get it all done, but I will get it done, just not as "quickly" as I had thought I might be able to do it. I'll stop by soon to see what you've been up to.