I should have known that 2011 was going to be the year of house repairs when we spent New Year's Day drilling a big hold in the floor (for a laundry chute). It's now been three weeks into the year and we have already attacked another room.
When we bought the house 8 and a half years ago, we had hard wood floors throughout. I was largely pregnant so I was unable to do a lot but Steve and his dad rented a big sander and sanded all of the floors and also re covered them with polyurethane. The floors looked pretty nice but we then had a baby who was going to be learning to walk and I worried about the hard wood floors. Plus, the floor was loud from old wood boards and sound vibrations. For these reasons, that first tax refund in this house was spent on putting carpet in our living room. Being a clueless new home owner, I picked a light tan color for the floor.
Eight years, two potty trained kids and a potty trained, flea ridden puppy later, our carpet is disgusting. I was a proponent of the "let your kid run naked to potty train" method, which I still believe was the very best route to go. It was so easy. But it did bring some unexpected surprises once in awhile. And of course, the puppy was just a plain nightmare when she was training, not to mention that every time she got fleas (which is more often than I think is normal), we had to treat the carpet and furniture and I was never quite sure that I got every inch, which may have been why the stupid little bugs keep coming back.
And then add to that the fact that we use the front door for entry during the winter. We started that since our side door has a very small landing on the top of a stairwell and I always had the fear of someone falling down the stairs while taking off various winter weather in that small area. When we started using the front entry, the inevitable boot stains resulted. There was a strip of nasty dirt, mud and another stains that made a streak directly across the floor from the front entry to the hallway.
So while we were sitting on the floor playing a game a few weeks ago, I got grossed out. We vacuum every week but it was still just plain gross. So I pondered aloud what it would look like of we pulled up the carpet. Steve started into his typical list of twenty problems that could arise if we pulled it up. I had pulled up carpet in a house when I was a teenager and remember it not being too much work. We talked about needing to repaint the living room anyway and maybe someday replacing the carpet too.
But last Sunday, we were sitting around doing pretty much nothing and I once again found a flea on the dog. I thought we were finally rid of them and I had had it. So I started crawling on the floor, looking for a place that the carpet might be peeling. Steve caught me and actually agreed to just do it. So, we put a movie on for the kids (Pippi Longstocking) and went to work.
It took a few minutes to figure out our strategy. Once we got going, it was kind of fun. Steve worked on cutting up pieces of carpeting to get it out of the room while I attacked the board strips along the edges. The kids were a little taken aback because we had to keep moving them to different chairs while we were moving things around. But they took it pretty well.
I couldn't help snapping a few pictures of how gross the back of the carpet was. I knew it was going to be necessary when I started having some regret over what we were doing (which I have).
There were a few moments when we did think it was important to get the boys involved. We have a hutch full of breakable glass items that needed to be moved. I had a small injury in my arm left over from the job at Kohls that still causes me pain every day so we asked the boys to help with the moving of all of the items and after a small amount of hemming and hawing, we had a nice assembly line going. The nice thing was that Noah then asked if he could do something else. Steve immediately told him no but then I didn't see ant reason why he couldn't. So I set him to work pulling up the staples in the floor from the pad. Noah usually avoids doing any work more than what he has to, yet he set into this full force and even asked if there was more when he was done with that first strip of staples. He went slower than we would have, but he did such a great job and he loves to say that he helped with the carpet.
As we were pulling it up, I did notice not only how much louder the room is, but also that it is a little colder in our already drafty old (uninsulated) house. But the floor looks really nice. Instead of the somersaults and cartwheels that Aaron did in our carpeted living room, it is now a full fledged skating rink for them. I guess boys will be boys, no matter what the environment.
I am not so sure about it. I will probably want carpet back in here again if we can afford it at some point. But the boys love the room. I like being able to come into the room to take off my boots and not worry about the carpet. I liked giving Lily her latest flea treatment with hopes that the war we've waged on the bugs possibly being successful this time. Hopefully we will have a few dollars left of our tax refund this year to get at least a rug for the middle of the room.
There are so many "real" improvements that this house needs. But they all take money. This was a small thing we could do to the house to make a huge difference and it is a nice change for now.
I'm not sure if this trend will continue this year. I'm hopefully going to be subbing next week and finally bringing in money to try to get this household where a household with children should be. And who knows? Maybe 2011 will be the year to add a second toilet to this house of ours. I know THAT improvement would make this house a much happier place :)