Friday, August 19, 2011

Surgery, Staples and Carpet Tacks

Poor little Jip.  He went to the vet for surgery this morning to be neutered.  I just called the vet about half an hour ago to check up on him and they said he came out of surgery fine and was just hanging out.  I left his woodchuck toy with him this morning so he would have something to play with until we picked him up.  I felt so bad leaving him there this morning, but he didn't even notice I was leaving.  He was so excited to see the girls at the vet who shower him with silly names and shove lots of treats in his face.  As I left the office, I turned and saw him walking happily into the back room, so happy to be around new people.  Let's hope he still likes going to the vet after today.

I drove home with an empty dog carrier in my back seat and worried about him the whole way home.  OK, I also stopped at the bakery to get one of the world's best donuts, and I took the fact that they did not have my favorite kind (chocolate frosting with toasted coconut) as a bad omen.  It was strange having only one dog in the house when I got home.  In two and a half months, Jip has successfully dug his way into our hearts, home, and wallets.  To release some of my nervous energy, I picked up a house-renovation project that was started the day we closed on our house in May of 2010 and hasn't been worked on since.  Before we bought our house, it was owned by an elderly woman who was living in a nursing home and was being rented by a girl and her toddler.  Not only was it full of the renter's stuff, but all of the owner's furniture was in the house as well.  So in the ten minutes that we looked at our house with the realtor (with the renter sitting there on the couch) we basically could not see what any of the surfaces actually looked like.  And we bought it anyway.  And then I thought to myself, I don't even remember what the inside looked like!

Joey's excited about the wood floors

Miraculously, by closing day, all of the renter's and the owner's furniture (except for a few stragglers they didn't want) were out of the house and we could finally see what we had purchased.  An entire house of shag carpet.  In bright orange and dirty yellow-beige.  We crossed our fingers and brought out our brand-new razor blades.  And were delighted to find hardwood floors in the downstairs and wood floors upstairs as well.  Unfortunately, it wasn't as simple as ripping out the house-ful of carpet and tossing it on the curb, because every room was covered with tack strips and staples, and on the first floor, glue.  No wonder the carpet had stayed for the last 40-something years!  We have removed the tack strips and each. individual. staple. from the downstairs and upstairs but somehow after pulling out thousands of staples by hand (by myself), I got a little burnt out.   And we never got around to removing the tack strips and staples from the stairs.  And since we found out early on that we cannot fit our queen size bed up the stairs, we barely go up there.  Also, the stairs are behind a door, so it is very convenient to ignore them.

My stairs this morning.  Yikes.

And so, a year after I ran out of steam for remodeling, started a new job, planned a destination wedding, got married, went on a honeymoon, had our first lambs, considered moving, decided to stay, and got a puppy, I finally feel ready to unpack all those boxes hiding upstairs and finish the house.  So I took my nervous energy and bundled it with a hammer and a flat-head screw driver and donned my gardening gloves and started ripping up tack strips.  I started out in my flip flops but then I couldn't remember the last time I had a tetanus shot, so I figured hard soled shoes would be best.  And since I've heard of nails going through the bottom of tennis shoes, I put on my cowgirl boots.  It was quite the get-up.

Before today, anyone staying overnight had to risk tetanus to get upstairs to the air mattress (sounds nice, no wonder we don't have a long list of visitors).  Now, the stairs are free of sharp nails.  But they are still riddled with staples and bits of carpet foam.  Those are next on my list.  Then sanding and painting.  The molding and walls also need painting.  And the list goes on and on.  But today, as I was hacking away at the tack strips I was thinking to myself how long I had waited for someone to help me work on the house again.  And I thought, didn't I just write a few posts ago that I was proud to show young girls that girls can do anything they set their mind to?  Wasn't I operating two tons of steel and steam last weekend?  And then it hit me:  how much time I had wasted wallowing around waiting for someone to help me work on the house when I could have been doing it myself this whole time.  Who cares if Joey would rather work on his tractor than work on drywall?  I can do anything I set my mind too, even home renovations.  I already painted the entire downstairs, installed two new light fixtures and ripped up more staples than I can count...why can't I do all the other things that need to get done?  Just because I don't know how to hang drywall or paint stairs or replace a toilet doesn't mean I can't learn!  I am an educated and determined woman, gosh darn-it!  And I want to live in a house where I and anyone who visits don't have to worry about tetanus shots!

So we'll see how far my can-do feeling will get me.  Maybe some friends will visit this fall and the upstairs will be painted and carpeted.  Maybe by Christmas our downstairs floors will be sanded and refinished.  Maybe by Jip's first birthday next year and our 2nd anniversary of home-ownership, 610 W. 3rd Street will be a little more live-able.

There's nothing like being nervous about your puppy going under the knife to inspire a girl to work out some nervous energy and rip out carpet tacks.  I just heard from Joey that Jip behaved fantastically at the vet and the girls said he didn't bark once.  One said they didn't want him to leave.  Next thing we know, they will be making up something just to get him in there to visit.  Can't wait to get home to see my little ladykiller.  And Joey (who broke a fair number of girls' hearts in college when they found out he was already taken, sorry girls, that tractor obsessed guy is mine.)

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