Christmas Decorating...not Decorations, decorating the walls and sanding the floor?

Not Christmas decorations but decorating in time for Christmas

Well, it's Sunday evening, the date is the 19th December 2010 and we have spent the whole weekend sanding our wooden floors because a few weeks ago my ever-loving perfectionist decided we needed to decorate the front room in time for Christmas. That was about the time we started painting the walls. Not much to that you might say..however, do you know how many different shades of white there are?

When we moved into our house it wasn't quite finished. The damp-proofing still needed doing in the front room and so our skirting boards never quite made it to the...well...skirting area. So three or four weeks ago he got the damp-proofing machine out (bought off eBay about 12 months ago) and starting making holes in the brick work ready to squirt, (after having chipped the plaster away at the foot of each wall about 12 months ago). He has never used this type of machine before so the liquid made a bit of a mess but as he got used to it - he squirted precisely! Let it rip at 60lbs and watch the bricks soak it up. We waited for it to dry and re-plastered.

Next, the decorating. Now when I was a kid I saw the adverts that said, 'so easy, a child could do it.' And you'd think that you can't go far wrong with MATT WHITE, can you? A paint brush and roller and away you go - so off we went and painted the walls white on dirty white, cleaned up beautifully but then you look at those walls in different lights and patches appear everywhere. So off you go with your roller again. the paint gets thicker on the walls and the patches become more visible especially when the wall lights are on or the sun catches it in a particular way.

Maybe if we get on with the ceiling the walls will look better later. So out come the step ladders. Now these aren't just ordinary ladders, they are his dad's pride an joy bought from a car boot sale so they must be ok. They are about 50 years old, wooden and do not reach Health & Safety standards at all! Any way up he goes to begin painting the ceiling and all is going well when he passes down the paint brush 'Just put that on the lid,' he says. So I turn, put it down, he steps back but there are no steps on that side of the ladder and no bar across. So down he goes, he yells in pain as he braces his shoulders and back for the crash to the floor. This all happens in a split second - in that moment when I turned away from the ladders to put the brush down. His legs are tangled in the ladders and he is trying to sit up. I untangle him from the ladders. He is in obvious pain. His shoulders had taken the landing and probably that's what saved him from breaking his back. I rub his shoulders and his back and think of what could have really happened. He is very lucky. He gets away with a bump on the head and sore round his under arms and across his chest but like an old soldier he gets back on the ladders and finishes off that ceiling.

Over the next few days, he is still in pain, but he checks out the walls and the ceiling in all the different lights and keeps seeing the patches. We change the bulbs in the wall lights and he thinks the walls look much better. As time goes and the paint drys he is much happier but he still has some pain. After a discussion with the nurse at the clinic it turns about he's broken a few little bones in the rib area and bruised his ribs.

Me - Sanding
Me - Sanding

Will we finish the floors in time for Christmas?

  • 33% Yes
  • 0% No
  • 67% Maybe with a bit of flexibility...
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Undeterred, it's time to sand the floors which brings me back to Sunday the 19th December. It's been snowing outside, has been for a good while now - yeah I know it doesn't snow inside but then maybe it does when your sanding - the bits get just about everywhere and I mean everywhere - I found sanding bits in places I didn't realise it could get.... There are no curtains at the windows. Our log fire isn't burning because we don't want bits and dirt on the floor and the central heating isn't on because we don't want a huge bill now do we. We have both got the most stinking colds ever - possibly even flu but oh-hey, we admire the newly sanded floor and he spots the dints left behind by the sanding machine that we hired from the hire shop. We have learned over the weekend that the lower the number on the sand paper the rougher the sandpaper - at least that what I have learned. He knew that all along. We also discovered that you go up and down the grain - not across!! Especially round the edges and along the brick hearth. The edging sanding wasn't as much use as our own little hand sander. In fact, our hand sander worked a treat at getting the burn marks out that the edging sander left behind. All that aside, he has spotted the divits left behind and we work our way through them with the hand sander.

We have an incredibly early night!

Monday 20th December, it's freezing outside and still keeps trying to snow - he returns the sanding equipment back to the hire shop and retrieves our deposit less the sanding sheets we used. I have had to go into work, so he purchases some white spirit and a lint-free cloth to wipe the floor over and spends most of the day doing just that. The front room is now out of bounds. We are living in the kitchen, the TV is nowhere to be seen having been packed a way upstairs and we are fighting over who can use the laptop. Our kitchen is not really big enough for both of us and the cat. The cat is clearly cheesed off because he cannot leave the kitchen, he eats, sleeps and well does all the things a cat has to do when he has to do it - in the kitchen - in his litter tray!!!

We have another incredibly early night!

Tuesday 21st December - He drops me off for my bus as normal and heads off for clothes to put the dye on the newly sanded and white spirited floor boards. Mid-afternoon he rings me at work to tell me that the floor is stained - antique pine. We have to leave it for a good few hours - preferably overnight. Tomorrow is my day off and tomorrow we varnish...three coats to be applied with two hours in between! Tonight he asked me to read the instructions to him on the varnish can 'Ronseal DiamondHard Floor Varnish' - I read and when I get to the bit where it says 'The floor is ready to walk on after 8 hours BUT allow 72 hours before subjecting the floor to heavy foot traffic..' he declares that we will have to have our Christmas Dinner on Boxing Day! At this point I suggest we put the table in the middle room and use that...now there's an idea...we go to bed incredibly early, again!

Wednesday 22nd December - my only day off work this week due to finishing for Christmas on Christmas Eve (Friday) and we get up and start the day. First we have to wipe the floor with these special cloths to remove any bits and residue. Tack rags I think they are called. A light wipe careful not to remove the stain. This takes about an hour in total with me working from one end of the room and he from the other. Time for the first coat of varnish. Two or three floor boards at a time, rolling the brush along in the direction of the grain. This takes at least an hour and a half - then we have to wait two hours before we can apply the next coat.

We have a coffee, a nice coffee with cream and chocolate topping (see my hub on making the perfect coffee using a cafetiere) some lunch and then go for a walk along the frozen canal. The canal looks absolutely fabulous...

At 3 o' clock we apply the 2nd coat - it becomes more difficult to apply because we are losing the daylight and the room lights are not really of any help. By 5 o'clock the 2nd coat is finished and we decide to leave the room alone for the night.

We go out to his parents house to make sure they are OK - what with the weathern'all. A quick shop round Netto and back to Kitchen for our evening meal and guess what ---another early night....

Will we get the floor finished in time for his parents coming for Christmas Day....watch this space....

Hi, Happy New Year.

Well the good news is, we finished the floor at tea-time on Christmas Eve. The following morning Christmas Day, we gingerly put the rugs and furniture back before I hit the kitchen to prepare veggies and turkey for our Christmas Day meal. Meanwhile, my perfectionist crawled about the floor examining every inch looking for flaws - floor flaws!!

Gradually his eyes turned to the walls and ceilings - was he satisfied? He was still spotting patches.

As I peeled, scraped and chopped, he carried out investigative procedures that would put any crime scene detective to shame. The only crime that had been committed was the dents the sanding machine had left in the otherwise perfect wooden floors and the slight patches the paint roller had left behind - patches that would eventually disappear once the walls had dried properly and given that there was a certain amount of snow on the ground outside and no heating inside then drying time would obviously take a while longer than normal.

As things started to heat up in the kitchen, he decided now was the time to put the central heating on - oh and make the fire in the log burner in the newly decorated, floor sanded, stained and varnished living room.

The pans were on, veggies were steaming, turkey was cooking, the freshly made onion sauce and apple sauce were warming in the lower regions of the oven and the roast potatos were sizzling in the top of the oven and of course I was warming up and stripping off in the newly acquired and sudden heat all round. The time was drawing near for his parents to be collected along with their beautiful old antique dining table purchased for £8 two or three years after they married - post war.

After one last magnifying look at the floor, walls, new curtains, etc., off he went to collect his mum and dad.

The table was soon set following their arrival and it didn't take long for us to dish up a wonderous feast in the middle room where as yet the floor remains un-sanded (in part), a floor in waiting for stain and varnish at a later date. We chatted and dined and eventually moved from the table to the living room to admire the hard work that my perfectionist had put into it. Within about half an hour of the xmas pudding being digested they were off again, homeward bound and beating last years home trek by about 5 minutes.

I am not sure what my perfectionist expected but the wind had been taken out of his sails. I think more praise, more interest from his mum and dad...I adore the floor, the walls, the curtains but most of all I adore him and his enthusiasm and his wit and charm and charismastic...anyway...at least we got it finished. Until next time...you know sanding the middle room is going to be interesting - not sure how we will get from the kitchen to the living room or to bed for that matter!! It will make an interesting addition to this hub though. Pictures of the finished floor will follow...

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© 2010 Leni Sands

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Comments 17 comments

leni sands profile image

leni sands 5 years ago from UK Author

attemptedhumour, hiya, Happy New Year - we do watch grand designs but one never learns, nice to hear about your weekender...and thanks for the hot Melbourne cheer comparing to a VERY VERY COLD ENGLAND. Oh and funny ha ha re: Leni 'sands' by Leni Sands - me and my sander....lol. I've had a look at your poem I really enjoyed it! Will soon be adding the completed piccies and finishing the hub...


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

PS Hi Leni you should call this hub Leni Sands By Leni Sands.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Hi Leni you two need to watch Grand Designs more often to realise that tight schedules usually blow out. We have a Californian bungalow in Melbourne about five miles out of the city. We bought it in 94 and we have almost finished renovating it. My clever wife managed to find a shack out in the sticks, about one and a half hours drive away and we have spent the last few months renovating that. Yes we had to lay a floor, well i did, on top of the old one, then sand and varnish. It wasn't our first time of course but hopefully it will be the last. It's only a weekender but it is nice to get away from the hustle and bustle and is ideal for writing. I enjoyed reading your ongoing hub and will await the verdict. I managed to finish the boiled egg poem whilst up at the shack. Another poem with your stamp upon it. I hope you enjoyed your xmas in the broom cupboard and good luck in the new year. Cheers from a very hot Melbourne.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 5 years ago from UK Author

b. Malin - of course it's funny...if I never see another wooden floor (unvarnished) I'll be happy but as I said after Christmas we start on the dining room. We will look back and laugh about this one day but at the moment (after we had words) - he has gone to bed and I am "playing with my laptop" his words not mine! I would love to listen to the Jewish girl but everything is packed away - maybe I'll download it from itunes on to my laptop...Have a good Christmas!


leni sands profile image

leni sands 5 years ago from UK Author

Grandma's House - thanks for your vote of confidence...not only did he have a nasty fall and survive but when he was staining the floor he got a large nasty splinter through his finger...honestly I can't leave him alone for a second (lol) Yes, I guess we will remember this in years to come as being that year when Christmas dinner got postponed until Boxing Day, maybe. Have a good Christmas.


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leni sands 5 years ago from UK Author

kathryn1000 - he was worn out before he started (lol) - Have a good Christmas.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 5 years ago from UK Author

Ashantina - thank you - I am loving those wooden floors as well at least I will when they are finished - The Dining room is next!! Have a good Christmas...


leni sands profile image

leni sands 5 years ago from UK Author

mistybella - I will put a decoration on my hub - howsat. Our Christmas Tree has been brought up from the garden and is thawing in the greenhouse in anticipation for it's favourite place at the side of the fireplace - not too close to the fire I hasten to add. Hopefully we WILL have everything in place before I go to bed on Christmas Eve otherwise Santa mighten be able to pick up his mince pies - he might even get stuck to the varnish on the floor...thanks for dropping by - have a good Christmas.


leni sands profile image

leni sands 5 years ago from UK Author

richtwf - I glad this made you smile. Seems like you started yours in good time. Thanks for the Christmas message - hope you have a good Christmas, too!


leni sands profile image

leni sands 5 years ago from UK Author

Poohgranma - he heals quickly (although his moods don't) - we both have a really bad cold at the moment - could be flu but we are soldiering on. Thanks for the Christmas message and the luck I think we are going to need it! Hope you have a good Christmas, too!


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 5 years ago

It's not funny...but in a way it is, and next year you will laugh about it. The things we do in the name of Christmas. Sometimes it can take the joy out of it all. But don't let it, raise those glasses high, put up some "Mistletoe and Holly" (Listen to the Jewish girl)and it's never to late to pick up a Tree...


Grandma's House 5 years ago

You'll get it done and it will be a great memory by next year. It might be known as "the year we had Christmas in the middle room" with photos of the floor, your family together and the wonderful, antique pine floor! I'm glad he wasn't hurt worse by that nasty fall and hope you all have a lovely Christmas :)


kathryn1000 profile image

kathryn1000 5 years ago from London

He'll be worn out


Ashantina profile image

Ashantina 5 years ago

You'll have a wonderful Christmas Day, just because you have each other. And I'm loving those wooden floors!! :)


mistybella profile image

mistybella 5 years ago

why didn't you put a christmas decoration thats kinda sad because that kinda means that you don't really like christmas only if you do.... who nows but you should put up deccorations like a christmas tree??? thats a start....


richtwf profile image

richtwf 5 years ago

Made me smile reading this as I was decorating only about six weeks ago. Anyway I hope you get everything done and dusted ready in time for your celebrations. Just keep going - You're nearly there now!

Have a great Christmas and wish you all the best for the New Year!


Poohgranma profile image

Poohgranma 5 years ago from On the edge

Talk about adding to the stress of the Holidays! What an undertaking for any time of year, let alone now. I hope he heals soon and well. Merry Christmas and good luck! And MANY blessings too.

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