The Hardwood Floors Dilemma

I have beautiful hardwood floors throughout most of my house. I say throughout most because there are two spots in which the floors look like hell. Two spots that just happen to mark the place in which my computer armoire has been located.

Or should I say that the two spots are where my chair was located in front of my computer armoire. I am responsible for these blemishes and I need to take care of them. The obvious question to be asked is what did I do to create these marks and why didn’t I take steps to prevent that from happening.

And the answer is that in the first situation I was completely oblivious to what was happening. Ok, not oblivious but due to a small issue with lighting I didn’t spot the marks until they had gotten to be large enough that they were very noticeable.

So I moved the armoire and equipped the chair with four felt pads that for quite some time did a fine job of serving as a great defender of the floor. In time though the pads gave up the fight and the nemesis of the hardwood floor “Marty Scuff” was able to set up home in one more place in my home.

The reality of the situation is that I can’t refinish two small spots and not the rest of the floor. While that would solve that problem it will create another in that it will make the rest of the floor look like it needs to be done.

While I would like to redo all of the floors at the moment I am a bit short on the funds to do it all so this is one more project that I am going to have to put on hold for a bit. In the interim I am in search of a bandaid that won’t look like a bandaid.

One potential solution is to try and turn the scratch into some sort of artwork. I can envision taking the scratch and making it into some sort of rose. There are two issues with that.

First, while I can imagine it working I don’t think that I am artistically talented enough to do it. More importantly my fragile male ego can’t take the idea of carving some sort of rose into the floor. I’d consider the Mudflap girl but something tells me that other people in the house would be less than appreciative of this.

I suppose that for now I’ll put this on my list of things to do. Speaking of my list of things to do it kind of reminds me of that bag that Harry Potter and company used to store their gear. You know the one that never ran out of space. That is what my list is like. No matter how many items get crossed off an equal number are generated to replace them. And that my friends is why I need to run now as I must take a moment to try to at least finish two more line items today.

Memories of a House Part 2

You can find the first part over here.

Our landlord called me at the office to let me know that he was serious about evicting us and suggested that I could make life easier by cooperating with him. I told him that if had been a mensch about things it would have made life much easier for him. There was a long pause on the other side of the line and I knew that he was trying not to blow up at me.

I didn’t give him time to say anything and told him that I appreciated his position. I explained that I understood why he wanted to move quickly and I told him that we weren’t going to wreck the place. I asked him to understand that just as he was going to look out for his best interests so would we. I said that if he wanted to work out a better arrangement it would be wise for him to discuss it with me.

Again there was a pause. I knew that I was testing his patience and that he felt like we were in the wrong. But I also knew that while I sat in my office there was a newborn in my home and as a new father I was nervous and inexperienced about a lot of things. That nervousness translated into making me a bit more intransigent. It should be added that sleep deprivation probably helped to make me a bit more cranky.

We went back and forth and eventually I told him that I didn’t see any reason to continue speaking. We had been given 30 days notice to leave and this was only five days into it. Continued discussion was just going to turn into an unnecessary pissing contest. I wasn’t going to destroy the place and I wasn’t going to waste time arguing with a ignorant fool.

Life is funny in that you can’t ever really plan for things. I mean you can plan for this and that, but things happen. I was just short of 27 when I got married. At that time buying a house seemed like a pipe dream. Yet just a few years and two jobs later I had made enough to come up with a down payment. It wasn’t quite as much as I had hoped for, but it was enough.

In truth I was excited at the idea of moving back to the Valley and buying a house. I felt very old, I was a father and going to be a homeowner. It was all so surreal.

Next came the process of trying to find a realtor. I didn’t really know any who handled where we wanted to be, but I figured that someone would be able to recommend someone good. With limited time I was most interested in trying to figure out where to live. Debated moving in with the folks or in-laws.

Neither one sounded good to me. I remember trying to sell myself on the idea, thinking that maybe we could live rent free for a few months. After all the big kid was the first grandchild on one side and the only one on the West Coast on the other, surely they’d love to have more access to him.

But the idea of living with either set really didn’t sit well with me. Even if they let us stay rent free it was unlikely to give us that much more for the down payment. I figured that I needed six months to make a real difference and I was definitely against that. We had enough to buy a place. I figured that we’d find a starter house, somewhere to live for a few years and then leverage to buy a bigger place.

Out of time to write more now. I’ll come back to this late.

Sunday- Household Chores

ba68bhus9ma-jake-melaraAnother Sunday is almost on its way out the door. It is after dark and I haven’t managed to take a shower yet. Had I not spent the majority of the day attending to various household chores I’d call myself a slacker. Truth is that I wonder where the hell the time went. It feels like I woke up an hour ago and now the end of the day approaches.

I find it irritating this feeling of wondering where the time went. Although I can account for my time, I still don’t feel like I got enough done. Just for the heck of it let’s create a list and see if it makes me feel better.

1) Cleaned up four bookshelves.
2) Organized the home office.
3) Steam cleaned the carpet.
4) Got rid of various piles of papers that I had been saving to look at.
5) Made a list of things to do for the jobs that pay the bills.

And that is just a partial list of the things that I did. It should make me feel better. I should feel like I got things done, that I was productive, but I don’t.

The beauty of owning your own home is that there are always projects to be done. I need to attend to my sprinklers. Over the summer I replaced most of those that reside in my front yard. Recently some kind soul decided to break one, nice of them to do so in a more complicated way. I can’t just take it apart. This one requires a bit more effort. Thus far it has thwarted my attempts to remove it.

It is not that I can’t fix it, I can. The issue is how much work is going to be required to do so because what should be a simple task is not.

Ack. Don’t quite know what ack means, but it sounds right. Or maybe I should say bleah because that is how I feel. I feel unsettled like I can’t relax and I hate that. Some people hate holding still, not me. I am pretty good at it. While I like being productive I also enjoy doing a nice impression of a statue. I s’pose that I should add that most statues don’t snore and that I do.

So here I am blogging about the endless list of chores and my distaste at the feeling of not having completed enough of them. I’ll cross my fingers and hope that my blogging therapy assists me in overcoming this feeling.

My house has beautiful hardwood floors. I love them. There is something warm and inviting about hardwood. Unfortunately over time they have reached a point at which they really need to be refinished. I can do the job myself. I know what to do, but the question is do I really have the time.

Here I am bitching about feeling like I didn’t get enough done. What the hell am I thinking about taking on another project. Sometimes it is worth paying someone else to do a job that you can do. If for no other reason then it is worth saving you some time so that you can do something else, like put up a new post.

Memories of a House Part One

Memories of a house sounds like the title of a book. I suppose that I should Google it and find out whether it is or not. If it is not already taken maybe I’ll grab it. Who knows.

We bought our current home in August of 2001. A little more than a month before 9-11 turned much of the world upside down. Prior to that we had been renting a condo in the city. We had lived there for a good five years or so. It was a place to live, but it never quite felt like home to me.

Located just behind the Fox Hills Mall it had been a suitable location for the time, but suitable locations are not how you want to describe the place you hang your hat. Instead of traveling south to see my friends on the Westside I now headed north. And even though I didn’t have to take the 405 it still took just as long to get there.

I resented that.

Initially the condo was great. It was bigger than the apartment that we had lived in and had some amenities that hadn’t existed in the old place. But it had all sorts of little things that I didn’t like. I suppose that part of the reason that it never really felt like home was because I never got beyond my irritation with those little details.

They may say not to sweat the small things, but it is those little details that can add and enrich your life or make it really irritating. Having to walk down three flights of stairs to do laundry wasn’t a big deal until Little Jack’s arrival necessitated a huge increase in the amount of laundry.

Did I mention the problem with the A/C and heater. It might have been the city, but the summers were still really hot and the winters relatively cold. So I often found myself unsatisfied with the temperature. And I could mention that I found myself disappointed in the selection of movies theaters, restaurants and bookstores.

That new shopping center off of Howard Hughes Parkway helped to alleviate that, but it didn’t show up until the last six months we lived there.

A couple years into life in the condo I was fed up and it became house hunting time. Problem was that that little thing they call a down payment was virtually non-existent. One income and grad school tuition made it too difficult to look seriously, at least for a while.

But perseverance and a change in employment made a huge impact and suddenly the question wasn’t whether purchasing a home would happen, but when. Once the cash flow improved and purchasing became a reality my mood changed. Hanging out at the condo was more tolerable, but only because I knew that if I could hold off about a year I’d have saved up enough to buy the house I wanted.

That plan was my first mistake, or should I say voicing it out loud. Within three months or so of mentioning it the landlord decided that he wanted to get in on the nascent housing boom and asked if we wanted to buy it.

I remember the day I took the phone call asking what I thought about owning that amazing place I had been living in. As he listed its benefits I almost choked. I couldn’t believe that he thought it was worth what he said that he wanted to sell it for, but I didn’t say anything. All I did was ask for a week to consider the options.

And then for the next week we tore out our hair trying to figure out if there was a way to buy more time. Didn’t happen. Landlord insisted on a decision and so I thanked him for the opportunity and said that we were going to pass. He said ok and made arrangements to come see the place.

The old man as I thought of him (he was probably same age as I am now) came by and walked through the entire place and said how pleased he was that it was in such good shape. He was surprised by Little Jack’s appearance, or should I say his existence. When we signed the lease the kid hadn’t even been a gleam in my eye.

Anyway, landlord looked me in the eye and told me that if I cooperated with getting it ready to sale he would be generous in allowing us to stay long enough to find a new place to live. What I didn’t know was that he was going to renege on his promise of a couple of months or that he was going to demand access several times a week for himself, handymen and realtors.

Maybe it was inevitable, but the relationship soured very quickly. I had told him that cooperation wasn’t a problem, but he needed to provide more notice than an hour. And so in short order he dropped off paperwork saying that since our lease had long since gone to month-to-month we were being evicted.

I remember reading that note, the one in which he said that we were evicted. As a brand new father I was less than pleased by this turn of events. I understood that he wanted to take advantage of the rise in real estate prices, but I wasn’t going to let him hurt my family so that he could make a buck.

So I called him and explained that as a result of this notice I was going to refuse entrance to his people. I would still allow him access so that he could see that the place was in good condition, but he was going to have to wait until we left to do any work on it.

In the next section I’ll share some more memories about this and how this led to a rush to buying a place and a thirty day escrow. More on this later.

Crossposted here.