The New Bedroom, Part V

Ooooooooooh, boy…. We “finished up” Meg’s room on April 11th. We’ve been working on our bedroom basically since then without many breaks except for that first weekend and Mother’s Day. To be fair, a lot of this length of time was working around furniture refinishing and plastering (more on that later), so there have been a lot of moving parts….

…but first, back to the beginning….

So, we originally thought our room may go somewhat quickly because of the vinyl wallpaper that was already peeling in some spots (especially certain corners). As we would eventually discover, nay, it definitely did not “go quickly”… The vinyl layer came off easily, yes, along with a thin, white layer underneath. Yet, underneath that, we found a floral pattern…and underneath that, we found yet another floral pattern.

Those bottom two layers did not go quietly into that good night.

As we were doing this during Coronapocalypse 2020, I was doing scraping on the walls for 3-4 hours a day before or after my “virtual office hours,” while Brooke was at work. So I’d have to take breaks here and there to make sure the kids weren’t burning down the house, but as the weather was finally getting a little warmer, the kids were able to go outside sometimes, so that alleviated some of the constant bickering…

For the most part, I got into a groove and made solid progress. We ran into some issues with the ridiculous amount of wallpaper on the walls though, mostly on the top and bottom of the walls where the moulding was….because they put the moulding on top of the wallpaper!!!

…..sigh…..

I did my best with it, but we ultimately use caulked over it to try and obscure it as much as possible. It definitely isn’t a perfect solution, but the prospect of removing and replacing the moulding again wasn’t exactly at the top of our priority list…

I should also note that there’s a bed frame in this image. I should also I know that yours truly is the one who assembled this bed frame, and it is also yours truly that couldn’t figure out how to take it apart again… I’m assuming there was some special tool that came with it that is buried somewhere on the work bench out in the garage, but for the life of me, I couldn’t find any tool small enough to fit into the hole that held the nut that attached the head- or footboard to the side rails. Sooooo, we just decided to leave it in there and cover the surfaces of the bed with the old curtains that we were going to replace anyway. It got annoying here and there, but for the most part, we were able to work around it and still use the ladder.

The wall between the south window and my closet door was, by far, the worst one. Spoiler alert: Brooke ended up spending quite a bit of time plastering, sanding, plastering, sanding, plastering, and sanding this thing….

But while she was doing all of that, she was also messing with the bed frames, mostly on the weekends.

We got these frames from my parents, who got them from my Uncle, who has had them for a few decades, but he got them from my grandfather. These frames were his and his brother’s growing up, which is really cool! The less cool part is that they needed some TLC.

This involved quite a lot of paint stripper (the stuff in the blue bottle, not the white bottle, because Brooke found that only the stuff in the blue bottle worked well at all….), and plenty of spray painting. And some welding (more on that in a bit).

She’s pretty sure there were 3 layers of paint on one of the beds (two white, one black), and 2 layers of paint on the other bed (both white). There wasn’t a good way to know if it was lead paint or not, but we didn’t want to take the chance, so she used a carpet square from Meg’s room to catch the paper towels she was using to strip the paint. It took awhile to figure out her order of operations, and that first footboard (pictured above) took about 8 hours for her to finish (!!!!!!). By the time she got through to the fourth of these things, she cut that down to only a couple hours, so now she’s a pro!

But there was another issue with the beds. We took various measurements and discovered that one of the beds measured 53″ wide by 57″ long, which is the standard size of a modern full size bed. The other bed, however, measured 53″ wide by 69.5″ long, which is the standard size for literally nothing in 2020. Soooooo, I asked around and talked to a local welding business to see if there was something they could do to modify the off-size bed. I put these things in my Forester on Good Friday, ready to take it all over to the business, but apparently they took off that afternoon and I didn’t think about it, so the frames just sat in my car until after Easter.

Brooke met me there so we could talk to the guy and see what he thought, so everyone would be on the same page. We showed him the stuff while it was still in the car, so I didn’t have to unload it (which is not trivial, by the way….it takes a few people to finagle these into the back of a small SUV). He asked us a few questions about it, we chatted about potential options. And then he asked, “Did you try just flipping them over?”

Brooke and I just looked at each other, then said, “Uh…no?”

But low and behold, it was a great idea! You see, the beds are very similar to each other, but they aren’t quite identical. One bed (the actual full size one) has rails that slide in on their sides, but the one that’s too short has rails that connect on each end to the head- and footboards, which results in extra bits of metal (you can see all this in the image above) that would be in front of and behind the box springs.

If you flip the rail upside down, then instead of resting in the “L” shape of the bracket, that “L” is now upside down, so the box springs just sit on top of it! The problem with that is that the box springs can then slide side-to-side, and potentially off the rails.

So, after we took the pictures above, I took the rails to the welding company and told them we wanted them to just put on some bits of metal on the sides to prevent slipping of the box springs. I suggested 3 or 4 bits of metal would probably do it. Brooke also wrote “top,” “side,” and “head” on them so they would know how to orient the rails to put them in the right place.

And that took 2 weeks to get done……but on the plus side, the head- and footboards were still here, so she could keep stripping those while the rails were getting worked on.

More on that next time!

The New Bedroom, Part IV

That looks better…

As I mentioned in the previous post, it took multiple coats to get through this, likely 2/3 of a gallon of paint. I used the roller twice on it, then Brooke came back through with the same off-white color we used in the other bedroom, so it matched. Then she had to come through again with the “Evergreen fog” paint to cover any extra white she’d gotten on the color of the walls. Just a lot of back and forth, really…

Is this the worst part? It may be the worst part…

I took care of the carpet this morning, cutting it roughly into quarters, then pulled up from the edges. The carpet actually came off relatively easily, but it took awhile to “find my groove,” since it’s been awhile since I did this.

The ongoing coronapocalypse is making trash pick-up difficult, so we’ll try to dispose of the carpet as best we can, but for now, it’s rolled up in those quarters on our back porch. Not ideal, but it is what it is. There’s furniture in our garage awaiting some painting, so it’ll be a bit before we can move the carpet out there. Overall, I think we were able to keep most of the dust from our wallpaper scraping on the carpet so it wouldn’t get all over the floor underneath.

The hardwood looks similar to the other bedroom.

Pulling up the tack board around the edges of the room took forever. I’m pretty sure that was Dad’s job the last time we did this, so I don’t think I’d done much of it before. This was another time it took me a bit to “find my groove” and finally feel like I was making progress. Pretty sure it took me an hour and a half to get just that part done. Brooke came up and joined me for pulling up the staples that was holding down the pad under the carpet, and while that was tedious, it went pretty well.

For now, we went ahead and kept the carpet in the kid’s closet. It will get removed, but we’ve got some time for reasons I’ll get to momentarily…

(Mostly) finished product!

After a round of vacuuming, then wood cleaner, then more vacuuming, we were done!

So, this project began on Saturday, March 28, and we finished it up on Saturday, April 11th. Technically, we still aren’t done, as we’re waiting on Meg’s bed frames to get fixed up. The frames are from my Dad’s father and brother, so they’re very old, but also only kinda fit modern beds. One of them is a full-size bed frame, but the other is about 5″ too short in the length, so it won’t fit a frame properly. We’re going to try and get a welder here in town to try and adapt it so we can have two full beds in the room.

We’re also getting a wardrobe for this room, so the closet will be mostly Calvin’s, though maybe we’ll hang a few things of Meg’s in there, too. We’re also going to move a dresser into Meg’s room, so there’s more furniture to go in, but again, it’ll take awhile for the beds to be done, and it’ll take awhile for a wardrobe to arrive.

Soooooooo, in the meantime, we’re moving on to our bedroom. We’re letting Meg sleep on a sleeping bag in her new room for a few nights, and then we’re going to break down and transfer our bed and furniture into Meg’s room while she moves back in with Calvin. Then, it’ll probably be another two weeks until our room is done, but then we’ll be mostly “project complete” for 2020. That will give us a few weeks to get the furniture situation figured out so Meg can be in her own room long-term!

On to the next project!

The New Bedroom, Part III

The kids got in on the “fun”…

Back in December 2016, we de-wallpapered, de-carpeted, and painted one of the upstairs bedrooms, so the kids could share it with bunk beds, leaving the bedroom next door (connected by a closet) into a “play room,” of sorts.

In the intervening years, Meg would occasionally ask when she was going to get her own room, and our answer became “when you’re 10.”

Guess who’s 10 now? Good work.

We were going to do the work this Summer, but due to the present stay at home order in Missouri, we went ahead and pushed up our schedule a bit.

So…much…wallpaper…

Like the last time, we left the carpet on while we removed the wallpaper. Most of the walls only had a single layer of wallpaper, but the one behind the door had a few layers….and layers of wallpaper on top of joint compound.

Brooke was not pleased.

There had been some…”work”….done to the walls…

Overall, there were relatively large portions of the walls that didn’t need a ton of work, but the portions by the closet (and on the wall with the staircase to the attic on the other side) already had a lot of joint compound on them from the last time wallpaper was applied. Brooke thinks the latest round of wallpaper was probably put on back in the 80s. Under the wallpaper, she found a handwritten note that was difficult to read, but someone wrote their name and what looked like “198-“….so it’s hard to know for sure, but at least it seems like someone tried to fix the room, thankfully, by not just wallpapering over the existing wallpaper.

The primer went on pretty well!

After Brooke was satisfied with the cleaning of the walls, I spent a lot of the week putting up some primer. I had to go with a few coats of it to cover up the wealth of joint compound just spread all over the place, and even had some of it delivered from our local hardware store.

First coat of paint. Definitely need another coat.

The paint Brooke and Meg went with was a color that will go well in our bedroom as well as her bedroom. She originally wanted something more purple-ish, but….we don’t want purple walls in our room, so we won out. This color is called “Evergreen fog.” Granted, I’m partially color blind, but I can’t really tell where the “green” is…

I’ll save the rest for another post. The painting took a few days to finish up, and we still have carpet to pull up!

Only Hope

The almond tree….. “It’s aliiiiiiiiiivvveee!!!”

I’ve got some time on my hands, as as mental health professionals suggest journaling, I may as well keep posting here, right?

Classes “resumed” this week for me, so I’m trying to get in communication with my students. I’ve only heard from a few of them at this point, which isn’t too surprising, but it’s a substantially different dynamic compared with what I’m used to. I’m hosting virtual office hours five times a week now, though I haven’t actually had anyone join yet. I’ve got my first committee meeting today, so it’ll be my first non-email communication with folks at the college in a bit.

The kids, on the other hand, are generally enjoying their new reality. Brooke’s still setting up a checklist for them that gives them something to do everyday, along with a little bit of variety in the daily routine. Animal Crossing came out last Friday, which Meg’s been looking forward to since last Fall, so it’s been a welcome diversion from everything that’s been going on. Thankfully, there’s a co-op mode to it so Calvin can play along simultaneously.

Brooke started her new schedule at work this week. Right now, they’re going to remain open, but have rearranged their consumers for isolation protocols so it’s easier to separate those that may have been exposed, should that happen eventually… As of today, there are no cases in Saline County, but Columbia and Kansas City both have multiple cases. As of yesterday, there were 183 confirmed cases in Missouri, almost half of which were in people under the age of 50.

On Saturday, I took a trip into Columbia to donate blood, as the Red Cross is canceling blood drives all over the place now. I dropped some stuff off at Goodwill to clear out space for the next remodel… We were planning on separating the kids into their own rooms this year anyway, so we’ve just pushed up the schedule on that now that time is seemingly more available… Brooke and Meg spent quite a bit of time this weekend organizing their toys, moving some of it up into the attic and getting rid of other bits. I also brought back some old bed frames from when my grandfather and great-uncle were growing up, so we’re hoping to restore those and put them in Meg’s room, depending on how they fit in the space.

Then again, if Lowes closes and we can’t buy paint for the bed frames, we’ll be slowed down considerably…

Aaaaaaaanyway, I’m catching up on TV, keeping up on school stuff, and otherwise trying to entertain myself. The weather is improving, though it’s been pretty rainy. We’ve had at least 4″ of rain in the last week, kinda spread out over the days. Temperatures should reach into the 60s later this week, so hopefully things dry out a bit! The kids really need to get outside more…

Brooke and I are watching This Old House every night now, trying to watch happy, positive stuff. Also, Jon Foreman is recording and performing a new song every day on YouTube.

At least the trees are getting their leaves back, right?