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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Where I've Been

Amazing how fast a week can go! I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted. I guess we've been busy. Dear Husband has been busy for the past few weeks tearing apart the floor trim in the entire lower level of our home (which is approximately 1700 sq feet) and trimming the perimeter of the wood laminate flooring that covers every room except the lower bathroom and lower kitchen, in which there is tile. Several weeks ago the flooring on that level began to create a massive bubble. Dear Son wouldn't walk on the floor and would stand to one side screaming, "No! It's bumpy! It's bumpy! I wanna hold ya! (which means, 'I want you to hold me')."

I did what most every American in my generation does to find out about things of which one knows nothing: I G**gled words and phrases like "laminate flooring bumpy" and "laminate floor bubbles" and within 24 - 48 hours I was informing my husband that I my theory was that "Bonehead" (otherwise known as our home's original owner) had not allowed proper expansion room for the floor to swell in hot muggy weather. Bonehead was the one who finished out the basement, just prior to selling it to us. He was, indeed, the nephew of the original builder of the rest of our home, which was built only about 3 - 4 years ago. Apparently he didn't inherit his uncle's building talent. I found all this out by chatting with our closest neighbor, who, despite hesitating to gossip, spilled the dirt to me when I quizzed her if she knew if Bonehead had installed the basement flooring himself.

During my chat with the neighbor, I found out why it looked as though no one lived in this house when we originally took a little look-see at it before deciding to purchase it. It looked like no one lived here at the time, because, in fact, no one did. It seems that the home furnishings were all "staged" to appear as though someone lived here, though we thought it odd they didn't have a washer and dryer. They did have a crib, a highchair, and living room and bedroom furniture. There were clothes in the closets, etc. etc. It seemed that someone must live here, and yet it seemed sparsely furnished, and exceptionally clean for having three or four children living here as we were told.

Apparently the couple, who each had previous marriages, had a combined total of at least four children. During the epic ice storm of the winter previous to our purchase of the home last year, the wife apparently ran off with the tree-trimmer who was out early spring doing his job of trimming damaged trees. So she didn't live here anymore. I don't know why the husband moved out before selling the house, but apparently he did. This would fit with the approximate time frame that the house hit the sale market in April, and would fit the approximate time line for when the wife would have met the tree-trimmer and begun her affair and moved in with him. He apparently lives only a couple miles from here. It also fits the story our Realtor told us, which was that the previous owners were in need of a quick sale because they couldn't afford this place anymore. What we didn't know at that time was that they had both moved into different dwellings and needed to ditch this joint. The husband's aunt was their selling Realtor, and so she apparently thought it important that the place not look vacant.

I digress.

So I did my research on the floor thing and called Dear Husband at work the next morning to tell him that apparently Dim Bulb had ignored one of the cardinal rules of laminate floor installation: you MUST leave up to 5/8 of an inch along all sides for expansion. "This is a floating floor," I informed my husband. "It expands and contracts with the air temperatures. You're also not supposed to lay the flooring through doorways without installing a T-molding, as each room is to be able to float and move independently." I went on, "Also, you're not supposed to install a solid length of flooring that exceeds 30 feet." The basement is quite open with only one completely walled off room in the back that serves as the fourth bedroom. Or, in our case, the office. This means that there is much much more than 30 feet from one side of the basement to the other. I went on to explain that this wasn't as bad as it sounds, as one could "simply" trim the perimeter of the flooring to allow the proper expansion space.

In the same conversation, Dear Husband informed me that he had taken a trip to Home Depot on his lunch break and found they still carry the same brand of flooring as the partial box left in the storage room of our home. Given the completely unnatural amount of rainfall we've had since February, we hadn't ruled out our worst of horrifying possibilities: that moisture had seeped through the concrete and we had water damage causing the floor to lift.

I had all but ruled this out of my own thoughts as the evidence of improper floor installation was mounting as I did my research. I resumed discussion with Dear Husband about the likeliness of improper floor installation, and Dear Husband said he spoke with the associate at Home Depot about trimming the perimeter of the flooring with a dremel saw. "A dremel saw!" I exclaimed. "Oh no! You'll burn that thing up! It won't be powerful enough! You're gonna need a toe-kick saw for this job!" On his next visit to Home Depot, Dear Husband spoke with another associate about the circumstances, and the older and wiser associate supported the theory of lack of proper expansion space as well as the proper fix of trimming the perimeter to establish the proper space. He also asked my dear husband if he had the right kind of saw to do this job. Dear Husband confidently replied, "I'm planning to rent a toe-kick saw." To which the sage associate enthusiastically replied, "Yeah! That's the only way to go!" As Husband proudly told me about this conversation later, I smugly asked him if he had told the associate that he had learned from his wife that this was the saw he needed.

We were (relatively speaking) relieved that when the trim came off the walls, we discovered that Bonehead had, indeed, snugged the flooring right up against the walls. To Dear Husband's credit, he was the one that ripped off all the floor trim, trimmed the perimeter of the entire 1700 square feet with that crazy bad-ass saw, added the necessary T-moldings between rooms, made one helluva mess, and then reinstalled all the trim and retouched the paint as needed to make it look good as new.

Jobs like this take a long time around our house. The kids are at ages that require almost complete constant oversight, and Dear Son is a total Daddy's boy. This means that her requires lot of personal attention from his daddy. Our schedules do not allow time for these sorts of chores during the week. And so, a couple hours here and a couple hours there weekend after weekend after weekend has finally seen us to the end of this most annoying chore.

Additionally, sometime in the past couple weeks, in the midst of the flooring mess, there was a massive thunder storm that blew out the main computer in our home. I really don't understand all of this stuff the way my power-sawing, computer geeking husband does. What I do know is that I tried to boot up the desktop computer one day, only to discover that nothing happened. It think it was nearly a week after that before Dear Husband had the chance to do enough of an autopsy on the machine to determine that it was not the power supply as was his original (and hopeful) theory. Apparently the machine took a surge that fried the motherboard, and something about a network interface. All I know is that the flashes of blinding lightening and the accompanying kabooms were enough to light up the bedroom in the wee hours of the night.

This has happened before. Apparently the electrical currents in such storms are enough to turn on the overhead lights in every room in the house that are controlled in tandem with the ceiling fans by remote control. And so, during deafening thunder and lightening storms in the wee hours of the morning, we find ourselves lying in our king sized log bed jolted from our slumber by the blinding overhead light. Well, actually, during storms like this Husband is usually already awake, being unable to sleep through the racket. I, however, sleep with earplugs (which is another story of its own) and so I don't typically wake up. Not even in deafening thunder storms. Last time I even slept through the overhead light coming on. Dear Husband told me about it the next day. This particular night, however, I was jolted awake by the overhead light. I am not as thoughtful as my dear husband (who let me sleep through the ordeal the last time), and I'm quite foggy in the head when awakened from deep slumber. So I began poking with annoyance at my husband who was still snoring this particular time, and inquiring with great aggravation, why in the heck the light was on in the room. I am supposing that it was the same moment the electricity in the air caused the lights to turn on in specific rooms of the house that the desktop took a surge and fried the motherboard.

All this to say that we fortunately have two laptop computers in our home, as we don't function well around here without computers. I have been crippled, though, by not being set up to download photos directly to my laptop as we always store them on the desk top where they are backed up frequently. We've since remedied the situation with proper software to my laptop, and so hopefully I will soon be posting some pics of Dear Son helping his daddy cook, playing soccer in the backyard, and Dear Son tackling his older sister. Unfortunately, I forgot the camera when I took the kids to play in the downtown water fountain, so there won't be any pics of that.

Now that the basement flooring is fixed, Dear Husband can start rebuilding the desktop computer. I suggested maybe taking the toe-kick saw to it would help, but he has other lofty ideas about rebuilding it with new parts he has already ordered for the task. Whatever. That's the kind of stuff I don't even bother trying to G**gle.


Ed (zoesdad) said...

I need a nap!

MGM said...

That makes two of us.

A little rodent in the attic sounds easy all of a sudden, now, doesn't it?

CaraBee said...

I second Ed, that sounds like quite a week. Lucky you were able to fix the floor so (relatively) easily. When you first started talking about the computer being fried, I thought "no computer, how on earth did she survive!" I love the idea of taking the toe-kick saw to it!

(changed my name - formerly Mom O'Bean)