Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Laminate Flooring Comes Straight From Hell

There's this room in my house that you have to walk through to get to my bedroom and I have no idea how any of the prior owners of this hundred-year-old place used these two rooms. I wish I could sit them all down and find out. But I can't. Because they are literally all dead. Well, except for the two guys who sold it to me. But they never lived in this place. They just flipped it and probably thought it was a miracle that some idiot was willing to buy a house that has a bedroom that is only accessible by walking through another bedroom.

When I bought the place I decided that I would make the back room my bedroom and the odd in-between room an office.

And thus began three years of treating the largest bedroom in my house as a "just throw it in there" space. Because despite my professional ambitions, I have never furnished or treated the room like anything even remotely close to an office.

Last week I panicked. Well, actually Skylar panicked. You see, on the very rare occasion that Skylar is in town and not earning Holy Virgin Mother Mary Celestial Being Status at some Marriott, he works from my kitchen table and keeps Mr. Doodle company.

I thought he was enjoying this arrangement until I got a call from him last week in which he screamed things like "I CAN'T WORK IN THESE CONDITIONS" and "HERMINDA SCARES ME" and "WHY DO YOU HAVE A LARGE PORCELAIN DOLL COLLECTION."

Apparently Skylar was getting sick of working from the kitchen table and not being able to more permanently set up what the kids are calling "a computer monitor" and so he asked me "when the hell" I was finally going to turn that room into an office. I told him I was thinking about making it into a nursery instead. He reminded me that I'm probably infertile because of Ironman and that it was best that I didn't try to have any babies anyway considering that there's a large bag of old clothes that's been sitting by my back door waiting to go to Good Will for 9 months now and I'm not exactly sure how these things are related but he did scream the word "RESPONSIBILITY" at me when he was explaining it so I'll let you fill in the gaps.

After I got off the phone with Skylar I decided to just go ahead and order a desk I've been eyeing for the better part of three months now.

And thus began a very "if you give a mouse a cookie" situation.

Have you guys read that book? No? SYNOPSIS AND SPOILER ALERT:

This mouse wants a cookie so some idiot gives him one instead of just killing him like the good Lord intended. But once he gets the cookie he wants a glass of milk. And then a napkin or something. Eventually he decides he needs to take a bath. And by the end of the book he's the president of the Philippines and he returns to the old tree to sit on its stump.

I may have made the Philippines part up. And I think I ended up going into The Giving Tree for a second. But you get the idea.

Once I ordered the desk I decided that the carpet in that room needed to be replaced with the same laminate flooring that is in the kitchen and most of the rest of the main floor. So I immediately texted Matt and Adam, who responded with variations of "nu fone hu dis."

After visiting every flooring store in the greater United States of God Bless America, I eventually found the exact laminate flooring I needed.

Side note, when we were checking out I had Duncan with me and the sassy middle-aged woman asked what his name was so Skylar told her it was "Mr. Duncan Doodle" and without the slightest hint of hesitation she responded "that's what they called me in high school." So that woman now lives with me.

The store sent me to a warehouse to pick up eleventy hundred million tons of flooring materials that cost enough to send all of your children to college. IN SPACE.

I had some Airbnb guests checking in soon so I sent Skylar back to my house with instructions to let them in and show them around if they got there before I made it home. He obliged.

An hour later I pulled in and carried one of the boxes into the house. Immediately we realized that I had ordered the wrong shade of flooring so it did not match what was in the kitchen.

There were great lamentations throughout the land.

I then marched downstairs to check on some laundry and saw that the Airbnb guests were already down there, something that Skylar could probably have told me before I embarked on a barrage of profanities upstairs.


I apologized to the group for anything they heard. I discovered that they were all med students and so in my best Cathie McCann voice I started in on a whole speech about "well Skylar upstairs is applying to medical school" and "did he tell you that?" and "he got in the 98% percentile on the MCAT" and "NINETY-EIGHTH" and "we are all so proud of him" and "you should talk to him and give him a lot of advice."

Eventually I made my way upstairs to find a red-faced Skylar who said these exact words: "YOU ARE WORSE THAN MY MOTHER AND I NOW WANT TO DIE."

The point is, I had to take all eleventy billion supplies back to the warehouse to exchange them for the right material and the warehouse people deserve a Nobel Peace Prize for helping with this without once using any of my kitchen profanity that we don't even know what that is.

Finally I got it home.

The next morning Adam showed up bright and early to help me install it because I couldn't do this alone because incompetent.

And Adam stayed all. day. I'm going to place his name in italics for the rest of this post so you remember to read it in hushed voices because that's how we now say his name at my house.

And the reason we so revere Adam is because as it turns out, installing laminate flooring is the most difficult thing that anyone has done in the history of ever.

I'm not kidding you about this. I had to saw things using tools that I didn't even know existed until this weekend.

It was the most laborious task I've ever tried to complete in my life. And about every five minutes I would just be like "let's just throw all of the boards onto the floor and pour glue on them and call it a day" but fortunately Adam was like "no. If we are going to do this we are going to do it right." And then he would spend the next 9 hours carefully carving a microscopic splinter off of the end of a board we weren't even going to use.

The point of the point is that it was very hard. And there were only two of us. Well, three if you count Skylar, which I don't.

Actually Skylar was really helpful as the "errand boy." Partway through the day he walked into the room and said in a very strong southern middle-aged female voice "can I fix you boys some sandwiches."

By the end of the very long day we had finished exactly one very complicated room. Because of hashtag if you give a mouse a cookie, as explained above, I decided to do the back bedroom as well. So the Matt Broome Construction Co. is going to be making a visit next weekend.

Here are some before and after pictures that are pretty terrible but I don't care because tired and hard labor and this face was not made for work.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. I really like the painting on your wall!

    And because of comment moderation, I can't see if anyone has already mentioned this, but you meant "pour" not "poor" in "let's just throw all of the boards onto the floor and poor glue on them and call it a day."

    I have a not-so-secret desire to Airbnb in your basement someday. Ha.

    Also, I moved to Africa last week (Gabon), so your readership has reached new international levels now. (I'm making the possibly baseless assumption you had no previous Gabonese readers.)

    1. I'm actually super famous in Gabon. Can't even fly over the continent without wearing sunglasses.

      Obviously tell us why you're there.

    2. Also, thanks! My great grandpa painted that painting in the 70s and I took it from Gmac's house when she moved last year and fixed up the frame. It's one of two I have of his paintings hanging in my house. I talked about this on Episode 15 of Strangerville.

    3. We're in Gabon, because the United States government sent us here. My husband is in the Foreign Service, and the kids and I are along for the ride.

      I'm very impressed by your great grandfather's skills. You're really lucky to have inherited (stolen?) ;) such a family treasure.

    4. Also, sorry, not sorry: You meant "and."

      "I decided to just go ahead an order a desk"

  2. I'm so sorry to do this, but technical writer here...."and *pour* glue"...

    Also, that floor is gorgeous! Not as gorgeous as your hair, but what can be?

  3. You missed a spot...and I'm not telling you where it is, but if I can see it on a picture....

  4. I believe you mean "There were great LAMINATATIONS throughout the land."

    ... I'll show myself out.

  5. We had a gospel doctrine teacher once when the book to study was the Boom of Mormon, and she was a recent convert of not too many years. Sweet, wonderful lady. Every single time she said "Lamanites" she pronounced it exactly the way you pronounce the type of floor you just had put it. It was hard for me, the straight face keeping, so they called me to Primary. ( Also, not to be outdone Gabon-living sister, when I was in Indonesia this summer I regularly checked the blog, so if Indonesia showed up on your stats map, that was me.)

    1. Ha. You so WERE in Indonesia this summer. I can attest to that. We even once considered entering through a hidden door in a scary puppet museum that had air that smelled like it hadn't been contaminated with fresh air in seriously decades, but it was really, really dark, and you weren't with us, so we didn't. But we did tell each other that Eli McCann would have taken the door less-traveled (the door probably-not-traveled-in-the-past-century) and then written a hilarious blog post about it.

      Also, Ames, "Boom of Mormon" is totes my favorite thing now.

    2. Ha. Yes, I should always double check when typing with my thumbs. And the door was at least a couple hundred years old, in the scariest puppet museum in the world, and certainly led to one of two places: Frankenstein's mad science lab, or Dracula's sleeping chambers. I am certain because of the smell. It's decided. Eli, go to Jakarta, go through the door, and tell us what's on the other side. Please.

  6. Haha. I usually start a project, get halfway through and have to cal my Dad!! Looks great!

  7. Your writing has always been very good and entertaining, but it is definitely continoulsy improving. I'm impressed! But not with your laminate floor whining. I just did my kitchen and hallways, and found it to be surprisingly easy. We installed new baseboards as well though, so that gives you more leeway with the floor. And managing constructions workers (or in this case father and boyfriend) is my day job, so I might have had an unfair advantage. #pieceofcake

    1. I think Merete just accidentally volunteered to help Eli with his next renovation project. Adam can breathe a sigh of relief.

    2. Adam, Matt, Skylar, probably even Mr. Duncan Doodle can all breathe a sigh of relief. This crew just got a manager!

    3. I'm extremely talented at telling other people how to do their job. And check things off lists. The next project will be done in no time! (and then be delayed at least five times due to "ordering" and "production delay")

  8. First of all, thank you!

    Second, there are a few complicating factors that I didn't mention. The room we did has THREE doors leading into it on three different walls, two vents, an oddly shaped closet, and two closet doors. I had to go around with a saw and cut gaps under the ultra thick hundred-year-old door frames to be able to fit the pieces underneath them (so three door frames plus the closet). THEN, because this house is older than your grandma, none of the walls are even or straight so we had to delicately shave all of the border pieces as microscopically odd angles so the boards would all fit together. Add to that that we were trying to match floor boards from the kitchen leading into the room so that it would flow nearly seamlessly, and the whole thing just took a lot longer than we thought it would. Still one room to go, but that room is much simpler, it only has one door, and we aren't doing the closet in there because it already has some old wood flooring that I want to just leave alone.

  9. The Giving Tree was my favorite childhood book! It's dedicated to Nicky and that's how I spell my nickname so I thought it was dedicated to me!

    Also - you go through the kitchen to get to your office to get to your bedroom? Who designed this house!?!?!?!?!

  10. If only there were people you could pay to do that kind of stuff for you. Someone needs to think of that.

  11. What I find so funny about this blog is that there is so much Mormon lingo thrown in here. "Every fiber of my being," "there were great lamentations throughout the land," etc. I don't think I've ever heard a nonMormon say "every fiber of my being" before. Maybe I ought to listen more carefully for it...

  12. That room was clearly meant as a secret sex dungeon. i hope it lives up to its intended purpose one day.