February 8, 2016

Renovation - end of 1st week!

Moving day is in 19 days. The house is now stripped to the bricks in some places, to the raw plaster in others. Insulation is being installed and electrical points added where needed. The bathroom wall upstairs is being reconstructed after we stole 30 precious centimeters from another room, to make room for a shower.

Just a little project
Last night, Theo and I got started on a mini-project which we hoped would be easy: removing wooden floorboards from our current house, so we could recycle them and use them in our new bedroom. Did I say easy?

As we looked around the room, we weren’t sure where to start. The floorboards are pretty long, and they seem rather “attached” to the wall, or at least to the elegant wooden baseboards that go around the edge of the wall. So, we started in the entrance hall. Since it’s a small area, it seemed doable.

I may have forgotten to mention a few minor details, namely, the fact that my husband had left his toolkit in the new house, and oh yes, it was 11:45 pm on Sunday night. Last but not least, the floor had been placed about 20 years ago, just after the house had first been rented out. And of course, the hall was filled with a side table, a radiator on the wall, and was rather a cramped place to work.

Considering these minor issues, we may have been slightly overly optimistic in predicting it a simple task to ‘get started on removing the floorboards.’  Let me jump ahead to around 1:00 am, where I have multiple splinters in my hand, we have succeeded in removing 5 floorboards, 4 of which we damaged in the process of removal.

Lessons learned:
1.     If the floorboards have been glued together, then it will impossible to remove them without breaking those wonderful grooves which would be necessary to place them in the new house, (Unless of course, you happen to be a carpenter and can easily put new grooves in these planks, all within a week, while working fulltime, and doing other things such as running every day to the hardware store for new things you just realized you need, such as a new doorbell, a new smoke alarm*, a new lock for the door, a new...)
2.     Do not remove floorboards without gloves. Did I mention splinters?!
3.     Since we cannot re-use these floorboards in our new house, then a crowbar may come in handy.

Keep Positive and Keep Moving Forward

I had taken some floorboards to the house and shown one of the workers. Despite his poor Dutch, and my poor Polish, the woeful look in his eyes, combined with a sad shaking of the head said it all. I called my husband, “Listen honey, do you want the good news, or the bad news first?”
“The good news,” he answered.
“So… I’ve got your toolbox,” I told him.
“And, well, the wood’s no good. Needs the grooves.”
“Ach, never mind ‘schat’ (darling in Dutch), that means we can just tear it out and have the same kind of flooring for the entire floor. It’s better this way, really.”

Who says that renovation will be the death of your relationship? We are growing through this process. Each couple of days we have a new (but minor so far) setback, and each time, we both muster up the ability to see the half full glass. It’s tiring, that’s true – and hard to focus on our work, kids, friends, life, anything in fact that doesn’t live in a hardware store these days, but that just means we sleep very soundly at night.

And soon, our dream castle will be complete. Or at least livable. We hope!

*Coming up in my next blog: The story of the invisible chirping sound

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