So how many of you have attempted home improvement projects with your spouse? Let me just say for the record that laying flooring with a spouse is right up there with paddling a canoe together. You try your damnedest not to go in circles while taking swings at each other. Seriously, the marriage vows should go something like “Do you solemnly swear, in sickness and in health and in home improvements”.
Some background: this is MDH’s house from before we were married. We consolidated and moved into my house since all of his kids were in various stages of adulthood and living on their own. We decided we should stop bleeding money on his house and because the housing market hadn’t quite returned from the 2008 crash, we decided to rent it out instead of sell it. Last fall we found (what seemed to be) a nice couple to rent out the house. After a few months they told us they couldn’t stay, breaking the lease agreement. OK fine, but then we realized there were two huge bleach spots in the carpet we had just paid several hundred dollars to professionally clean prior to renting. Then the stupid wenchasaurus had the nerve to ask if she could get the deposit back. She claimed the carpet already had a bleach stains on it when they moved in. Nice try sweetheart. I had pictures of every room in the house and the bleach stains were clearly not there before. NO DEPOSIT RETURN! Hence, we were now paying for our poor judge of character by replacing three rooms with vinyl flooring that looks like wood.
This vinyl flooring is all the rage right now. It is not expensive, it looks great plus it is durable which is what we need for future renters.
But back to the flooring. Why do this ourselves you ask? Why not hire someone to do it for us? First because we are cheap as hell. We are not going to pay someone $3,000 (per quote) to do what we can do. Second, we like doing things ourselves (some of my first words were, “I do it!”) including learning how to do new things like laying flooring. At least that sounded good until we actually got to the task at hand.
So this flooring claims to be the easiest to install, ever!
This may be true, but easy is a relative term. ‘Scuse me, compared to what; building the Taj Mahal or the Empire State Building? These sheets of vinyl work by sticking two glue strips together on each piece. Once you stick the two halves together, you are committed. You have a few seconds to pull them apart and re-align them if they are off but it is not pretty and they may not re-stick. So as you can imagine the learning curve included a lot of swearing and yelling. At ourselves and at each other.
Let’s be real. This is back breaking work. Not as bad as prepping the floor a few weekends ago (now that seriously sucked) but laying the flooring was still hard.
To install the flooring I wore knee pads but they did little to avoid trauma to my poor knees. Not to mention that after many years of dancing I am left with the knees of a eighty year old hooker. So at one point I decided to give my knees a break and just install the pieces by bending over.
Being an ex-dancer I am still pretty limber. I can bend over and touch the floor and even bend my elbows a little. But after 8 hours of bending over, my hamstrings were screaming and I could feel the stiffness setting in to my legs and back.
MDH’s constant picking at my handy work did little to endear him to my heart either.
“I see gaps!” He would yell. My response, “Real wood has gaps!” all the while thinking to myself – Yeah buddy, “I’ll give you a gap you won’t soon forget”.
On top of that he kept stealing pieces of flooring from my box even when I would growl, “Get your own box!”. At least we were smart enough to buy extra boxes of flooring to account for the fuck up factor. And there were fuck ups aplenty. But after a while we settled into a groove (see what I did there) and I worked on the big swaths and he did the detail work around the edges because I have zero patience for that shit.
Here’s the finished product. One room down, two to go plus the quarter round trim to finish it all off. So lucky me, I have a few more weekends of marital bliss to look forward to.
So now we are back at our home. We smell like goats, our knees are chewed to hamburger meat and are backs are killing us. We resemble a scene out of the Walking Dead. But we finished laying our first room of flooring together. And while nothing will test a marriage quite like a good home improvement project, if you can both get through it, you might be a bit closer in the end. Bonus: now we have a common war story to embellish to friends and family. And who knows, if I’m given a good back rub tonight, MDH might just get lucky – as long as he doesn’t ask me to get on my knees.
So do any of you have any home improvement horror stories you’d like to share?