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Friday, November 13, 2015

Double Family Whammy and Living Room Floor is Done

Yes, it's now confirmed as we feared.  My step-father Lowell has pancreatic cancer.

My step dad is temporarily in Ohio with Mom in an apartment... they are close to the docs of his choice and his daughter and son.  Mom is trying to keep it all together, but we will probably head down there sometime soon to see if we can help and use up some vacation time.  They live in Florida, but chose docs in Ohio that my stepsister knows and works with and easier to get into than the VA in Florida. I don't know how my mom is going to get through this. This is gonna be rough for the holidays on all of us.

This news is on top of my father having lung/kidney/bladder cancer.  My father's name is Steve. Yes I am daughter of a Steve, sister to a Steve and also wife of a Steve.

We are helping Dad as best we can. My Steve is working Mon-Fri so we are still bound to staying by home during the week.  Running up to my dads is 250 miles round trip each time. I try to go up once a week during the week to help out.  I do all I can to set up things and handle stuff over the phone, or mailing up packages.  "You Fit It Ships" boxes are handy....  He is on Hospice, has visiting nurses, has Meals on Wheels now, and he is no longer driving or even walking outside to the mailbox.  My brother Steve was there on Wednesday and got him up to a doc appointment, and picked up things he needed.  We are so thankful that sibings can help out and take turns.  It is tough when we all live so far away.

Please keep us in your prayers and send kind thoughts our way as our family gets through this.  We are doing what we can to help, but the reality is that both father figures in my life are struggling with this horrible disease. Prayers and kind thoughts are most appreciated.

Trying to keep my mind busy and keep me from going crazy, I need to be "doing something"... ya know?  

Since Steve ripped out the wall-to-wall carpeting in the foyer, livingroom and diningroom, I have been slowly sanding, staining and sealing sections of the floors with coats of polyurethane.  Last week I finished the diningroom.  This week is the livingroom.

When Steve removed the carpeting, the floors were in great shape structurally.  No holes or warpage.  We cleaned them up and dampmopped them.  There are some water rings that left marks in the varnish around the fireplace.  The previous owner's daughter said that was probably from the Christmas tree stand.

 The varnish finish is "dimpled" with marks from the texture of the carpet padding.  
There are deep splotches of something near the pocket doors.

Although we already had put a large wool oriental rug in here, we really wanted to redo the wooden borders around the room.  The doorway into the foyer area was the worst, with some blotches of something that could not scrub off, it was through the varnish and into the wood.  

Some folks might wonder why don't we just bring in a big floor sander and start from scratch and redo the entire floor from raw wood on up?  Well, we could.   But.... (there is always a but)  you could never get that same golden/reddish hue of the old wood. There is a shine to the woodgrain that looks like that tigereye jewel stone.  Like you can look into the wood and see glints of gold down deep. 

You could never replicate the lights and darks of the 101 years of yellowing or gaining that patina that only old wood has.  If we sanded it all and stained with new, it would look like ... well... a new floor!    Call me crazy, but I wanted to do it this way. My way. 

Out came my little sander with the "finger" attachment that lets me sand just on the bad spots.  It lets me pick and choose and get in between the lines of the hardwood. This area between the livingroom and diningroom is the worst for wear and spots... some paint spots too from over the years were able to be sanded out as well as the blotches and scratches.  

You can see the definite line from an area rug that laid here for many years, 
with the outer edges of the room exposed to UV but the center protected.  
That isn't a problem because we are putting the big wool oriental rug back in here. 
I sanded some of the paint spots that were in the light areas too...

Even though I had done the foyer in the spring, there were two bad spots that I never really ground down on or restained. (I was too scared to mess with it back then)  but now that I know what I am doing, I also got those two areas completely redone too. 

Once I had all the sanding done, then I shop vacced it good, and tack cloth / damp mopped with a swifter pad too.  Now it was time for my "magic" of blending some Valspar red oak stain, and then some Olde Maple Minwax Polyshades... I am able to get close to the same color as the existing wood.  On some of the water mark rings I had to go a bit darker, but it covered them quite well.  

After letting that dry, then I did up two coats of quick drying floor poly.  It is low-odor and fast drying. I use a wide pad on a long handle and spread it evenly without causing bubbles.  I did the first coat in the evening and spread a second coat right before bed... so it could dry overnight. 

The floor just GLEAMED in the worklights...
and we gated off the way into the diningroom just in case the doggers got through.
See that part that I had sanded previously? It is all stained to match now...

It's a good thing we live in a house with two staircases.  We could use the kitchen and laundry area, and spend the evening upstairs in the bedroom.  We were cozy with our laptops, tv and the doggers on the bed.  They didn't seem to mind, eh? 

We awoke to let the dogs down in the early morning darkness to see what we did....
they wanted to know where their furniture, toys and comfy sheepskin were????
They were perplexed. 

Steve helped me put most of the furniture back. I still had to finish the little 8x3 spot where the couch had been the night before. It didn't take long and was dry by the time Steve got home from work.  Now it was time to put the room "back together" .... Steve cut and nailed in the quarter round trim strips (but we are short two lengths and have to go buy some more and stain/varnish them to match) 

I know the rug takes up a large portion of the room, but it also covers that transition from the dark to the light wood, and seems to pull it all together.  It's not a very big room.  The diningroom is actually larger. But when we close the pocket doors and light the gas fireplace, it's pretty cozy. 

We decided to switch around the two corners... and put Steve's chair by the window.
Moving the tv to the other corner made more sense, but we had to run a new antenna coax. 
Steve had that done in about five minutes, what a guy! 

The foyer came out much nicer this time... and I was able to remove the worn spot near the front door. It was made from many years of people standing in the same spot, and grabbing the doorknob to go out to get the mail.  It think all those years of pivoting with a shoe on the wood wore it down... Now that its refinished, I think because we wear socks, it will stay nicer.  I hope. 

The dogs were VERY happy to find their sheepskin
restored to it's original spot...

I had a tickle in my throat last night before bed... and this morning woke up with a congested chest, coughing and sore throat.  I am going to slather myself with Vicks now and head up to bed to rest.  I simmered chicken veggie soup all day, and the house smells great.  Hope I can kick this out of my system.  Steve is coming down with the same thing too.  If we are sick, we can't be much help to the other family members who need us so much more! 


  1. Karen, so very sorry to hear about your Dad and Step-Dad. Hugs to you and your family during this really rough time. The holidays will be challenging but hope you will have some more good times with both of them.

  2. so sorry for all you are going thru because of the illnesses. prayers

  3. Karen wife of Steve, Sister to Steve and Daughter of Steve, I love all your posts and think of you often. What a wonderful blessed life of sharing and caring ~~~ and I love your home and your family. How very amaZING for you to share ♥ Continued prayers for your dad and your step dad. Take care of your self and those furn kids too ♥ ♥

  4. Karen, I'm so sorry to hear the news about your Dad and Step-dad. It's difficult to deal with one illness let alone two, especially with two people who are special to you. May God give you and your family strength to help your parents through these tough times. Your family is in my prayers.

  5. I think you did a great job on the floors. I like them a lot. And now that the dogs have their bed back, they seem to like it, too. Sorry about the health problems in your family.

  6. Sorry to read about your Dad and Step-Dad. I know from experience all you can do is take it one day at a time. Otherwise, it can get to overwhelming. Of course, that is easier said then done. Sending Prayers.

    Celebrating the Dance


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