Monday, August 12, 2013

Past Deadline: Rip, Scrape, Sand and Add Grit

Here’s Past Deadline from the Aug. 1/13 issue of The Perth Courier.
Rip, scrape, sand and add grit
 I have a love/hate relationship with our stairs.
Actually, that’s not true. I have never loved them, and it would be more accurate to say I fear them more than hate them. Let’s just say I have a healthy respect for them.
Since moving into our house almost 14 years ago I have fallen down our stairs three times. I am gifted, apparently.
The first time was not long after we moved in. It was late. I subconsciously decided to go the fast way down the stairs to make sure I’d turned out the lights. “I’m okay!” I said.
Later, in shock, I decided to try fainting in the bathroom.
Good times!
That little trip resulted in a doctor visit, a prescription for anti-inflammatories and a brand new donut cushion thanks to a broken tailbone and an injured rotator cuff (I had braced for impact, which shoulders don’t appreciate.)
The next episode was dramatic because it happened while I was carrying baby Girlchild. Fortunately, I took the brunt of the fall (which didn’t involve most of the flight like the first time). Girlchild was alarmed but unhurt, and I escaped with a few bruises and a reminder to pay attention on “the stairs that hate me.”
I hasten to add here that it’s not as if I gallivant, traipse or partake in tom foolery on these stairs, it’s just that it’s an old house with a steep staircase made of treads for, apparently, small-footed (not to mention sure-footed) people. Or perhaps mountain goats. (For the moment let’s just ignore the fact I seem to be the only one who has trouble with the stairs, although many have commented on their steepness).
The third (and let’s hope final) time was a sleepy slip of the foot last autumn that found me careening down a half flight. That led to more quality time with the donut cushion, a lot of Advil and a busted (again) tailbone that has had quite enough of my shenanigans, thank you very much, and has not completely forgiven me.
Where am I going with this? Well, we decided to rip up the ancient carpeting on the stairs (only to discover an even more ancient green runner underneath).
Ancient green runner found under the ancient carpet.
Next comes the yanking out of a kazillion nails and staples, plus scraping and sanding.
Next comes the yanking out of a kazillion nails and staples, plus scraping and sanding.
Play safe when renovating, kids!
Play safe when renovating, kids!
Scraped, sanded...ready for painting.
Scraped, sanded…ready for painting.

That “distressed” look people pay hard-earned cash to achieve? We’ve got it in spades.
Next comes the painting.
Now, you might ask, is painting these treacherous (for me) stairs a wise move? Only time will tell.
We hope it will be just pretty, and not pretty dramatic.
Groom-boy picked up the paint for the treads the other day, and as I ran my finger over the splotch of colour they dab on the lid of the paint can, I panicked. “Groom-boy!” I said. “This doesn’t feel gritty! Didn’t you get the gritty stuff so I wouldn’t fall down the stairs?”
Groom-boy is heading back to the store for paint grit.
So, yes, if you come to our house (not recommended for anyone with dust allergies), then I am hopeful you will have traction on our vintage mountain-goat stairs. Personally, I hope to avoid having column fodder about my latest epic journey down the stairs, assuming I survive.
For now, in addition to utilizing stair grit, I will continue to hold the railing, descend slowly and show the utmost respect for the stairs.
Or maybe I should just tie the donut cushion to my bum as a preventive measure.

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