Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Oh, this sweet, sweet agony!

No, the title of tonight's post was not intended to bring to mind a smut novel. :o) The "sweet agony" I am referring to is actually the pain of several days' hard work on the house, balanced by the joy of seeing it really start to come together.

This evening Michael and I went back to the house and pulled up the carpet in the living room. The floor was about as I expected: pretty much beautiful, with only a couple of flaws: worn spots in the three doorways (front door, kitchen door, and office door). I'm hoping to be able to sand these spots a little, match the stain of the rest of the floor as closely as possible, and apply a new layer of finish to the entire floor. Wear like this happens precisely because over the years, people haven't taken the time to reapply the finish when it starts to wear thin; once the finish is gone, footwear starts to go through the stain and then the wood itself.

In any case, the floor looked beautiful with the ivory color we painted the walls, just as we'd hoped.

Pulling up the carpet didn't take long, so we decided to start removing the hardwood laminate in the front bedroom (office). This was much more difficult, as apparently the stuff doesn't come apart as easily as it pieces together. Also, we felt guilty for pulling it up, as the sellers were obviously very proud of what they did to fix up the house (although we don't know when they installed the laminate), so we tried to keep as much of it undamaged as possible. We got about two-thirds of the office done before we decided to call it a night.

The office floor will also look great with the color of those walls (called cherokee rose, but it's actually more brown than rose - a very pretty earthy tone). The finish is, for the most part, better in there - to be expected, as the room would have seen less traffic over the years. The only flaw was a couple of long grooves between the boards where someone thought it would be a good idea to stuff it with putty. It's pretty ghastly, at first glance, but I'm hoping to stain it to match the wood. At the very least, it's in an area that'll be mostly covered with a small area rug I've had my eye on.

Despite a few flaws, the floors are really terrific. They are all that glorious reddish-gold color we saw in the corners when we peeked under the carpet. A little scratch cover, a touch of stain here and there, and a new coat of finish should do wonders for the hardwood, without destroying the character and ambiance that we like so much. I promise, I will post the before and after pictures soon.

Back to the "agony" part of my title: I hurt. I was stiff and sore after yesterday's long hours of painting; it's funny how you don't notice while you're working, but 10 minutes after you sit down you swear you'll never get up again. I hurt so bad that I didn't sleep well last night - every time I moved, my muscles would cramp and my head would pound. (My neck and shoulders were very stiff, which I think had something to do with my headache.) Today wasn't much better, so I snuggled in with a heating pad and took a nap in the afternoon. Even so, I quickly forgot about all my aches and pains once I was getting ready to work on the house again this evening. I'm sure it'll come back to haunt me tomorrow.

It occurs to me that my blog hasn't had much on writing during the last few days. Obviously, that's because writing has - remarkably - not been a big part of my life. This morning I searched the markets, wrote a bunch of emails, started gathering interview materials for an article due mid-week, and wrote a bunch more emails. Even though it'll be a relatively slow week, I still feel guilty about not working very much. I was planning to catch up on some work tomorrow, but it appears I may have to bail out one of the families I babysit for - their nanny was sick today, and may be tomorrow, too. If my remarkable childcare skills are needed, catching up will have to wait until Wednesday - just one more day, yet it seems unforgiveable.

In any case, to prove to you that I haven't forgotten that this is, first and foremost, a writer's blog, here is a preview of upcoming topics:

How to get into writing mode quickly. This is a struggle I face frequently. I often need time to warm up, and I often don't have it. I do have a few lessons learned that might help other writers.

The self-employment tax form. When I posted about what forms you need to file taxes as a freelance writer, I left this one out. I'll explain why - and why you still need it - in this post.

The estimated tax nightmare. I was really worried about calculating and paying my estimated taxes, but I think I've got it figured out now, and it's not so bad. I'll blog on this once I complete my form, hopefully later on in the week.

Upcoming how-to-write book reviews. I looked into a few more books for writers, and a couple are waiting for me at the library. I'll blog on them once I have a chance to look through them.

And, naturally... More updates on my beautiful house! I am deeply in love with my house and my life, so I can't help but share the good news! I'll let you know how the work is coming along, and why I think this house will make me a better writer. :o)

That should be enough to whet your appetite for Swan's Blog!

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