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Sanding floors

My nose is dry and stuffed. My ears ring. My anxiety rises as a result. When I look around the room, I can’t decide if my glasses are dirty or is there really a film of dust wafting through the house? I suspect the latter.

We’re sanding floors.

Two bedrooms and the hallway upstairs on the second floor. It’s a dirty, awful job that I’m paying someone else to do. The end result, I hope, will be beautiful – at least as beautiful as 100+-year-old pine floors can get. Knotty, unevenly sanded, remnants of stain and lacquer remain in spots.

I just have to put up with the dust. And the noise. The noise has already set me on edge. I’m tempted to say, “Let’s eat out tonight,” but instead, I’ve put chicken in the oven, asparagus in the steamer, and water on to heat to make rice. Perhaps we’ll eat outside on the patio, away from the noise and dust.

Maybe you, like us, embark on these projects when you have guests coming to visit. These projects have been waiting, latent, patiently, to be completed for years. We tore the carpet up upstairs – or rather paid someone to tear it up – the year we vacationed in PEI. That was 2016. For three years, we’ve walked on an ugly narrow-planked oak floor splattered with stucco from the ceiling installation and paint from a previous decorator; a floor with large holes in it, uneven where dampness had buckled the wood or caused it to turn black. An oak floor that once was beautiful, I’m sure, but no longer held its lustre or its attractiveness.

We tore up that floor. Or, rather, we paid someone to tear up the floor. When it came up, it revealed the original pine floor underneath, but also more holes. Soft spots, slivers, cracks and rips. The floor needed help.

The holes have been mended. The bedrooms and hallway look better, but still a bit piecemeal. I kind of like that, though. After several trips to the reclamation outlet – where you can find reclaimed wood for any antique floor, or any new one, as well as custom furniture, chalk paint and just about everything you can glean out of a house before it’s demolished – we had enough wood to finish the repairs.

As my son uses the hand sander to edge each room and the hallway, the noise persists. I take my tea outside, along with a book, so I don’t have to listen. But the cup is empty, the chapter finished. I’ve made the most of a beautiful day, and soon it will be time to make dinner.

It’s pizza and dust for dinner tonight.

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