Stair Repair, Part the First

So I said I would tell you about our project to reclaim our stairs, and indeed I shall. Or, at least, I’ll tell you about the first part, because we’re nowhere near finished yet.

I don’t suspect we’ll be finished for a very long time, mainly because Budget. Also, if I am being completely honest, because Procrastination.

So if I were you I would settle myself in for a long wait, with a not-terribly-exciting finish when all is said and done.

Okay, so. Stairs.

Imagine yourself building a house. You have a small budget, plan to have children, and have (at this juncture) two cats. What do you do?

Well, if you are like BDH and myself in or around the year 2000, you buy a small house full of stairs. Hardwood at the time is exorbitantly priced. Hardwood-looking laminate is still not a thing. So you opt for carpet through most of the house.

But because of the plans to have children and cats, you know that the carpet will take a beating. So you decide on a cheap and cheerful plain carpet, but with good underpad, because you hope that in 10 years’ time, after both kids and cats, you will be able to take out the carpets and replace them, either with better carpet, or with hardwood.

Then your life happens. Kids don’t, for a while, but cats certainly do. FOUR OF THEM. AT ONE TIME, for the love of all things holy. And cats will scratch. Among other things.

WE MUST HAVE BEEN INSANE.

Ahem. So.

Imagine yourself with four cats, all of whom have hairballs they yack up from time to time.

Imagine yourself with an elderly, sickly, much loved cat who gets both really sick and then later senile, who you find has been peeing in corners. She also through no fault of her own barfs a lot, and often in extraordinary fashion, from a height or for distance. You buy a carpet cleaner and keep up with cleaning up after her, for the most part… or as best you can.

Then imagine you have a little bastard of a cat, who will use a scratching post if it is convenient (read: RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF HER and also to her liking, which is NEVER), but starts using the edges of your stairs instead.

Then imagine you have a big dumb lummox of a cat, who was never properly trained by previous owners, and is just too fat and lazy to go use a scratching post unless he’ll be rewarded with snacks for doing so, and who then rolls his big fat bulk over after a nap and just scratches on your carpet instead.

So. Over time, your carpet is stained and ripped up. Like this.

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These are just the very tiny holes that remain on another level of stairs. The ones that went out with our carpet were as big as my hand in some spots.

Okay. So we have established: CATS = DESTRUCTIVE BASTARDS.

So then time passes, and around 2008 our carpet is getting old. And then we have a baby. You know her as That Girl, previously That Baby, and before that our Mystery Baby.

And with said baby comes all the joys of parenting, including but not limited to:

  • pee
  • poop
  • projectile vomiting
  • food EVERYWHERE
  • sippy cup sprinkles
  • sticky fingerprints on EVERY SURFACE IMAGINABLE.

Including, I don’t think it needs saying, the stairs.

So then it is 2016 and suddenly your carpet is 6 years past your planned replacement date and one day you just say OH MY FUCK I CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE. And you rip it out.

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You also rip out the relatively unscathed underpad that you paid a bit extra for when you were young and stupid…

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…revealing the builders’ spills, dirt, and detritus on the relatively decent pine stairs and horrid particleboard landing underneath.

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You also find that there are quite possibly sixtybillionteen staples that need pulling.

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So you do.

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Then you sand and vacuum and sand and vacuum those fuckers to within an inch of their lives.

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Including in the corners because OH HOLY HELL DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO GET PAINT OUT OF CORNERS???

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Until you finally have a relatively stain-free, relatively undamaged, clean-ish surface that you can then stain and paint and put varathane on to make them look pretty.

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Which we will do. BUT NOT TODAY. And tomorrow’s not looking good either. Because BUDGET.

So we will live with the unfinished stairs and the OMG INCREDIBLY LOUD ECHO CAVE OF DOOM for a little while longer. (Seriously. It’s like a herd of elephants and the University of Moose Jaw Marching Band going up and down those things. Even the CATS are all THUMP THUMP THUMP coming down.)

Okay. Maybe the noise will only be a little duller once the paint and stain and varnish are done. We’ll have to see. And maybe once Lucy the Destructor of Carpets leaves the building, we’ll put a nice runner down.

OH WHO AM I KIDDING, WE’LL GET A FUCKING RUNNER PUT IN, LIKE, THE SECOND WE PAY OFF LUCY’S FINAL VET EXPERIENCE.

But until then… stay tuned for Stair Repair, Part the Second: The Staining.

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