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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Floor Waxer Rodeo

So, Tom and I arrived bright and early Tuesday morning, the 27th, in order to get the floor waxed and covered with the carpet remnants (that I'd been collecting from around the county) so that our Timber Framer Extraordinaire could start assembling the wall sections directly on the slab. We'd rented a floor waxer/buffer and purchased the appropriate application pads, and we were confident. Why wouldn't we be? Of course the heavier-than-sin contraption came with no instructions, but we are capable people with college educations. We weren't worried.
We carefully centered and placed the pad on the bottom of the machine (start with the coarsest, we were told), and I stepped into position at the handles of the waxer. A depression of the button and a turn of the clutch-like handles, and I was off! R-O-D-E-O time! Yee-haw! All across the 3-season porch I went and into the livingroom. I was doing spins and circles like you never saw before - running over the thick power cord time and time again! While I frantically looked for a kill switch as I desperately held on for dear life, Tom ran to yank the power cord from the generator. Silence fell and all was still . . . still enough to see that the coarse pad (with no wax yet) had eaten a crazy trail across and through two rooms down through our freshly stained floor right to the grey cement.
My ever-gallant husband decided to step in at that point to show me the finer points of floor buffing. So, I plugged the cord back in, he hit the switch . . . and AWAY HE WENT - frantically clutching the machine as it spun him backwards and off the slab. What the hell?! What's the problem here? Well, we obviously needed some wax on the floor. That would help.
As I returned with the gallon can I mentioned how I never expected it to sound so - liquidy. But, no matter, this was what they'd told us we needed. So, I opened it up and splashed some on the slab. Splashed?! Wax? Wait a minute . . . this isn't wax, it's sealer! THEY GAVE US THE WRONG PRODUCT!
Frantic moments ensued of flying through the fine print on the can to see what the antidote was for this stuff. Soap and water, and plenty of it. The 2nd-in-Command Timber Framer (the only witness, thank goodness, to this debacle) came running at the sound of our cries, and the three of us moved faster than we might ever have before. Tom ran to the trapper cabin to get soap, the timber framer ran to get every drip of water we had close: our drinking water jugs, his spray bottle for his equipment, you name it. That gave us about a gallon. Tops.
So, while I scrubbed away at the setting sealer with the meager supplies I had, Tom and the timber framer threw the water drums into the pickup and flew down to the river. They loaded up 110 gallons of water in a matter of moments. As they came hustling down the driveway, Tom turned the pickup around so he could back in for easiest access. And, there was no doubt - it did create the easiest access to run right over our timber framer's perfect set of sawhorses. The noise was so horrendous Tom thought he'd ripped the axle out of the truck. But, there was no time for dawdling: the two of them threw the mangled sawhorses out of the way, and a frantic bucket brigade began. We soaked that slab within an inch of its life.
We got the sealer off, but, when the cement was dried, we were left with grey loop-de-loops through the livingroom with nearly half of the 3-season porch floor gone due to the buffer rodeo and then the massive scrubbing following the accidental sealer application. We had gotten the floor to look just how we'd wanted - and now this. Poor Tom was nearly beside himself, and I think I was just beyond the point of reaction. To top it off, Tom was having a particularly busy week at work, so he had to leave that mess and head back home to work.
I was just finishing the re-application of the acid stain (did I mention that I ran out of one of the colors just short of being done?) when our timber framer arrived. He'd had a similar morning. It must have been something in the air that day. He looked at his sawhorses, nodded his head, and said, "Perfect." Now we know that whenever that word escapes his mouth, things are NOT exactly perfect.
Set back now by a good 1/3 of the day, I re-cleaned the (yet again) newly stained floor and we waited (yet again) for it to dry. Ever wait for paint to dry? It's pretty much the same.
But, back to the wax. I had ordered two colors to use simultaneously: clear and cola. The clear was what we'd actually been given in a different product all together, so all we had to work with was the darker cola wax. And, with the supplier over 300 miles away and the waxer already two days late being returned, we had to make some executive decisions. While waiting for the slab to dry I hand-applied some of the cola wax in an inconspicuous part of the floor. It looked good. Darker than I'd wanted, but we didn't have many choices. Besides, I figured it would soften over time and with wear and tear. So, our dear, dear timber-framer-turned-mason-now-turned-waxer (who'd lost an entire day due to our little snafu) stepped onto the slab, clapped his hands, and said, "Okay! Let's wax!"
Now, did you know, that darn waxer runs by voice commands?! THAT was our problem! When he would say, "Left!" it would gently slide to the left. When he called, "Right!" it glided to the right. Who knew? After the first couple courses of me holding the heavy cord out of the way and slopping down the wax (with a much softer pad on the machine) for him, our Knight in Shining Armour handed me the reigns. Tom didn't believe me when I told him that, by the end of the day, I was running that thing with one hand (of course, during the learning process, I did run over and freshly wax my patient instructor's shoes!). But, it's all in the handling. Gentle upwards pressure on the handles makes it go to the right, slight downward pressure makes it go left.
And, at the end of the day, the floor looked gorgeous. I just wish we'd not had to go through all that to get there! Oi vey.

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