Thursday, October 9th, through Monday, October 13th:


On Monday of this week, iFloor told us our floor had arrived in Massachusetts. On Tuesday, it was transferred to the local delivery company. On Wednesday, they tried to deliver it to our old apartment--and without telling us in advance, besides. On Thursday, our floor was supposed to be delivered, finally, to our new apartment, and since Robert had to go to New York for work for the day, Jef and Pearl came over to help me deal with the floor. The floor did not arrive. I do not recommend iFloor: I was now trying to deal with four different companies when I had only placed an order with one. There was iFloor, who never calls me back or answers email, and who had charged my credit card on the 9th of September for this stupid order; there was Smooth Corporation, the bamboo floor manufacturer in Georgia, who I'd never heard of but seemed to be causing problems; there was Roadway Express, the shipper iFloor hired to get the floor from Smooth to me; and there was Cape Cod Express, the local shipper Roadway hired to get the floor to me. Cape Cod had the wrong address; iFloor had the right address. You try to figure out where the chain broke down--I sure couldn't. Cape Cod refused to deliver without additional consignment charges being paid for having to change the address, and they tried to charge Smooth Corporation in my name. Naturally, since I'd never dealt with Smooth, they denied the charges and had no idea of either one of my addresses. Roadway finally came to the rescue (not iFloor, that's for certain), and on Friday, Cape Cod actually delivered the floor. The clinker? We had ordered a stair nose for going over the two steps down from our raised hallway, and the stair nose never arrived. Now I'm fighting iFloor for my $63 back for the stair nose. . . .

Nineteen cartons of hardwood bamboo floorboards (each 36-inches long) are quite heavy--about a thousand pounds altogether. I got the boards off the truck and onto the stoop, and Dad, Robert, and the delivery guy hauled them up four flights of stairs. Mom and I then set about opening the packages to let the boards acclimate to the temperature and humidity, while Robert tried to figure out how he would actually do the floor.

On Saturday, we rented a nailer (actually a pneumatic staple gun) from Home Depot in Everett, near the Krispy Kreme, and Robert and Dad started doing the floor. It was hard, slow work: by dinner time, they'd done about 2/3 of the small bedroom, and it was so difficult cutting the boards near the edges that we're going to have to get 1/4 round moulding for most of the room. We broke for dinner, and Robert came back and laid another two rows by himself afterward. Now completely exhausted, headachey from the floor dust and saw dust, and body-achey from kneeling on floors all day long, Robert was not looking forward to doing the remaining 2-4 days of work it would clearly take him. Meanwhile, I had named our floor "Honey," for its beautiful color; several (okay, all) family members commented that normal people do not name a floor anything.

On Sunday, Robert and Dad laid another row or two, just until the very difficult final wall of the small bedroom, and then we gave up--we returned the nailer to Home Depot, tried (in vain) to return the giant box of staples we'd had to buy for the rented gun, and started calling floor guys. Kevin Lee Hardwood Floors called us right back, and since he was one of the top-rated hardwood guys on Angie's List in Boston, and said it would be $4 a square foot (ballpark was $3-5), that he could do it in about a day, or at most a day and a half, and that he was available to start the next day, we told him to come by at 8:30 the next morning. Meanwhile, we set aside the thought of a floor and worked on other things.

All set up to start work, Saturday morning.

First few rows--done at last! (Time: Saturday, 2pm)

Robert cutting a piece of floor on the saw, wearing a mask to protect him from the dust.

Almost done with one room: status as of Sunday, 10 am (quitting time).

Carpentry and small painting:

On Thursday, Jef and I repaired the built-in door under the stairs, sanding it down so it fit, and glueing some of the cracks. On Sunday, Robert hung moulding around the unfinished doorway to the laundry closet. Between Friday and Saturday, I assembled, sanded, and stained some wood shelves and boxes for the kitchen, and sanded and stained a wooden desk for myself, while Mom sanded and painted some unfinished wood cubes for near the front door. On Monday I finished staining and finishing moulding to go around our front door (there was nothing--just a gap between the jamb and the wallboard), but we didn't have a chance to mount it. I also finished painting the brick around the fireplace: in the past, someone had painted it a sickly yellowish-cream, but much of the bricks themselvs still showed through. As long as they were painted, we decided to repaint them thoroughly, and they actually make quite a nice contrast to the exposed (unpainted) brick in the rest of the apartment. I'm actually standing on the mantle to paint them, although it's hard to see in this picture.

Painting under the stairs, after removing some very narrow shelves--what am I going to put on a five-inch deep shelf? We had to get them out so I could hang some real shelves in there (read: shelves that can support, oh, say, a couple hundred books). Again, in this picture I'm kneeling on the built-in platform under the stairs, above our Christmas storage area, and although it may not look it, I'm about three feet off the floor.

Our bamboo blinds in the bedroom, hung last week but just photographed now.

Moulding in the big bathroom.

Electrical work:

Robert added a dual outlet and a quad outlet on the living room wall, and a dual outlet in the floor of the big bedroom. He also managed to get a not-too-minor shock, and (in a separate incident) inadvertently kill all power to the house while the professional floor guys were here using their tools and--in a possibly separate, possibly related incident--knock out the lights in half of the big bedroom even after the rest of the power went back on. On a side note, I became good at patching drywall with screening and spackle to repair the many holes Robert made doing his electrical work.

Kitchen touches:

Pearl did a lot of cutting in in the kitchen for me on Thursday, and a full second coat on most of the wall. Dad continued and finished the job on Saturday and Sunday, getting in three coats on all surfaces. Then, we put on endcaps and toe-kicks, and we tested for leaks and seemed not to find any. The kitchen looks really nice, now, and all that remains to do here is one light and a few small things.

The kitchen is actually much more green than it looks in these pictures, most likely--so much for color matching!

With Dad screwing on baseboards, and Mom and I cleaning up paint, Robert tried to pose us all for a family photo "action" shot. Yep, just look at all the action in this shot!

The outside of our gleaming, gorgeous double sink--note the two soap dispensers, one for handsoap and one for dish soap, per Robert's request.

The inside of the sink--hopefully leak-free at last!

Finished kitchen wall. . . remember, it's really a more lime-y green.


Some people do leaf-peeking on Columbus Day weekend, but when it rained, we went around the apartment spotting leaks that ranged from tiny (thank goodness) to significant. The condo people got a roofer out on Monday to patch some places and put in a work order for repointing some of the bricks on the back stairwell. Everyone was very nice, and fairly prompt, considering the whole holiday weekend thing, but if this isn't completely resolved soon, I'll start withholding our condo fees.

Flooring again:

On Monday, at 8:25, Kevin Lee arrived to measure the area to be floored. He said he'd send his brother and an assistant over later today or tomorrow, and I started panicking again, as he left with a check for half the job, that no one would ever come. Come they did, however, two men at 10:15, with two staple guns, one compressor, two power saws, very little English, and a lot of experience installing flooring. Three hours later, they were entirely done: baseboards had been trimmed and had floor laid right up to them with no visible gap, everything was perfectly cut, even against he curves of the hall and the funny angles of the big bedroom, and--more importantly--it was entirely done!

So, we sat back and admired our floor, before, during, and after installation. It's a lovely honey color, and it really makes the rooms look finished. Now I can relax a little: I know that we'll actually be able to move in and put our furniture down on it. We probably will only get around to moving in boxes next weekend, and furniture the following one, but I am feeling much more relieved about the pace of the entire project than I was on Saturday, never mind last Thursday.

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Created: 10/13/03. Last Modified: 10/13/03.