Friday, May 01, 2009

Hoe, not ho

Read what Juanderlust has to say about my hoe. He knows tools. He gave me the belt sander I used to refinish the basement stairs after the carpet was pulled out after our basement flooded nine days after we closed on the house. We didn't get flood insurance because we are pretty elevated and we are in the 500-year flood plain and it still would have cost as much as our regular homeowner's insurance, but fortunately, this water came because of sewer backup, so we were covered, thank you USAA, whose agent had suggested I get the sewer backup rider for just $50 a year, which is less than I spend on cherry vanilla diet Dr Pepper every few months.

During. I think that belt sander is the one the contractor lent to me to get the cardboard that had been glued to the stairs. I used John's for the fine work.

USAA was there in a snap and handed us a check for $2,000 (well, direct deposited into my USAA checking account -- I feel so sorry for people who can't have USAA) and we got new carpet in the basement which was just fine because we hated the carpet that was there when we bought the house, not that we would have replaced it because there was nothing wrong with it other than it was ugly. We also got new door frames, oak, not particle board as was already there, because if it floods again, we won't have to replace the frames because oak will expand when it gets wet, as particle board does, but, here's the important part, it will also shrink back, and that's where particle board falls down on the job. I hate when builders go cheap. Buy nice or buy twice. I'm pretty sure that most of the stuff that is original to the house, which was built in 1928, is not particle board or other cheap stuff, but the things the guy who renovated our house a few years ago, like the finish-out in the basement, are just crap. I bet if he'd planned to live in the house he would have used better materials.

Look at the gloss on those babies.

Anyhow. We decided not to re-carpet the stairs because they were maple and who carpets MAPLE? We did tear out the carpet on the second floor and refinish the wood there, that is, we paid someone to do it, because again, someone had committed the crime of carpeting gorgeous wood floors. But with the stairs, I was not going to pay someone $500 to sand the treads when I was perfectly capable of doing it myself. SH was willing to pay but for $500? You can buy some really nice shoes for $500. Out came the belt sander from John, which I have used many, many times for furniture projects and I think of him with love and gratitude every time.

After. Don't you love how we matched the paint for the risers (the risers were pine and not worth refinishing) to the red in the carpet? Isn't the carpet yummy and cozy? Reminiscent of a north woods cabin? Those boxes are gone now, don't worry.


LPC said...

Kind of like a chic-er Wayne's World. No?

TosaGuy said...

Nice work. I am glad my dad was an industrial arts teacher and we built our own house when I was a kid. I have saved a ton of money on mine because I have some skills. Even if I bring in a contractor, I do the tear out and prep so I am only pay for the contractor for the skills I hired him for.

I have been pondering a change to USAA, but was wary on their customer service since I had heard some bad anecdotes.

class-factotum said...

LPC, very much so!

TG, I have been with USAA since I was 17 and have never had a bad experience with them, except for trying to get a mortgage. They are just not interested in being in that market, I think because the volume is not there for them. But other than that, they are fab. Run, do not walk to

And yes, I am glad to have a few handy skills myself. I wish I knew more. I am glad to have my college and grad school education, but man, I wish I had learned carpentry or plumbing, because I would be a millionaire by now. If you know how to do that stuff AND show up on time, answer the phone, give estimates and then invoice immediately, you can clean up.

John0 Juanderlust said...

Such kindness warms my heart, and, as you know, it's pumping ice water.
Good looking stair treads.
I highly recommend a Milwaukee random orbital for your next major furniture rehab project. Easier to use than it looks and fast.