Author Archives: Jon Lowder

The Before: Final Prep for Hardwood Floor Installation

The hardwood floors are scheduled to be installed beginning January 30, so the past weekend was spent making final preparations. That included: removing the chair lift from the staircase, removing the carpet/padding/carpet tack strips from the stairs, making sure the floors were clean, and screwing down the subfloor to minimize squeaking. Let’s just say my back, shoulders, forearms, and hands are paying the price for a LOT of labor.

Morning Beers and a Little Known Hero

Two things I read this week that are definitely worth sharing:

Atlas Obscura’s piece on the three London pubs that still open for breakfast, and yes you can have a beer with your bacon and eggs. Here’s my favorite factoid from the article:

…drinking before work is fairly taboo in Britain, and most people wait until at least lunchtime. Back in the day, though, workmen would easily drink six to eight pints of beer every day, says Jennings. For what else could they drink? The water often came from sewage-ridden sources such as the River Thames, and there were no soft drinks. Tea and coffee eventually arrived, but they were expensive, foreign imports and, even once they became more common, subject to heavy taxation. “So people drank beer with their meals during the day. That lasted well into the 19th century for many people,” says Jennings.

The second piece that really caught my attention was this article from North Carolina Rabbit Hole about the man who led the team that disarmed two hydrogen bombs that accidentally fell near Goldsboro, NC in 1961. Here’s the opening paragraph:

On a cold wet day in January 1961, Lt. Jack ReVelle climbed out of a muddy hole in the ground, holding a rough, gray sphere the size of a volleyball against his chest. For the better part of a week, he and his crew had been digging in the swampy ground outside of Goldsboro, North Carolina. It had been raining and snowing, and the hole had grown to be larger than a football field. Jack was just 25 years old, but he was in charge. When he and his men finally found what they were looking for, Jack was the one who got to climb up the ladder and bring it out.

I definitely recommend reading the rest of the article to learn about a man who did something extraordinary, and yet no one knew about it for 50 years.

The Before: Kitchen Floor Demo

The flooring company took out the olden kitchen floor, which was something we didn’t think we could do ourselves and we were right. It took three guys, who do this all the time, the better part of a day to get it all out, and they had WAY better tools than we do for the task. New hardwood floors are scheduled to start going in on January 30.

The Before: Kitchen Demo Day

Friday (January 20) our contractor took out the peninsula cabinets and countertop in the kitchen, and took out the laminate “supposed to look like hardwood” floors. The flooring company will take out the layer of linoleum and underlayment next and then hardwood will be going in on the entire main floor. Here are pics from the cabinet removal.

Wallpaper and Underlayment

It feels like the past 7-10 days have been consumed with removing wallpaper and taking out underlayment. Actually, the 7-10 days really HAVE been consumed with those things. We’re working on the house after work during the week and each day on the weekend. Not fun, but we’re making progress.

The good news is that we have all the wallpaper down from the kitchen and dining room, and most of it down from the family room. We also have all the underlayment removed from the dining room, living room, downstairs bedroom/office, and family room.

The bad news is that we still have all of the hallway, foyer, and upstairs hallway wallpaper to remove, and the multiple layers of flooring in the kitchen to tear out, plus the underlayment on the landing upstairs to get out. The grind continues.

New Place for the New Year

Our family is ringing in 2023 by making a significant change: we’ve bought a new (to us) house a few miles away from where we currently live. We did so to get more space so that my mom can move in with us. Among the many things that attracted us to this particular house is that it already has an apartment built out in the basement so Mom will have her own space, but we’ll still all be under one roof.

But, as they say, nothing in life is free. This house is also approaching 40 years in age and we bought it from the estate of the original owners who passed away last year. They had not made any updates to the house in at least 25 years so we are spending the next 1-3 months tearing out carpet, stripping wallpaper, getting bids for new flooring, a kitchen upgrade, etc. We’re in the midst of the tearing out part, and I don’t see any reason to pay someone to tear things up when I’m perfectly capable of doing it and actually enjoy that part of the process, but I’m no spring chicken so I’ve been perpetually sore for the last two weeks and probably will continue to be for at least another two.

I’m going to try and remember to document the process here so I have a record of it later in life. To get us started here’s a little photo array of the “before” as well as the early stages of demolition.