Monday, August 23, 2010

Ain't that the kick in the head?

Life can really be unfair sometimes. But don't worry, I'm not in the mood for Deep Thoughts on the meaning of life, or anything like that. No, instead I'm going to tell you a thoroughly superficial, wholly shallow story about the death of our Orange Shag. And it will bring tears to your eyes.

When the Orange Shag Adventures first began, anyone that heard about our awful shag carpeting would say to me, almost verbatim: "But you live in an old farmhouse, right? Does it have hard wood underneath?"

Sigh.  If only.  My husband and I are both active in our local historical society, and we would love it if we could restore existing hard wood as opposed to putting in laminate or even manufactured hard wood.  On Saturday, we ripped up one section of the room and sure enough:  subfloor.  We already knew it, but since the carpet was probably 30 or 40 years old, I wouldn't say we were 100 percent sure about what was lurking under there.

Terrible lighting, I know, but still: there it is.
Pay special note to the lower right-hand corner of the picture.
We started by only removing the back part of the room.
As I took this picture, I was still standing on shag.

We started with the back section because that was where Blake had been peeing.  I can't even express what a relief it was to get the worst of the stank out.  We ran out of time on Saturday and just left the carpet only partially removed.

Skip forward to the next day (yesterday).  We kept trucking along ripping up carpet, and discovered in due speed that underneath the remaining shag there is still some of the original hard wood.

Woe!  Oh, woe.

Absolutely filthy, of course.  But it had been cozily hibernating beneath a warm shag blanket for the past 40 years, why wouldn't it be filthy?  I looked past the grime and felt tears sting my eyes.  It would have been perfect.

Old, old planks (we can't be positive, but undoubtedly it's the original wood from when the house was built in the early 1800s).  We're fairly confident in saying that because we can see the original sandstone foundation in the basement, so it is not unreasonable to suspect that this is original wood flooring.  From local trees.  Put in by pioneers.

Our hearts burst because we can do nothing about it.  There's a line down the middle of the room.  Half of the gorgeous wood flooring is gone.  Apparently it was ripped out ages ago due to previous tenants and out-of-control pet stains (the irony is not lost on me).

There isn't enough of the hardwood left to do anything with. It's just enough to tease us with If Only. To tauntingly say, "This is what could have been! Muhahaha!"

It's a very small section; not big enough to transfer to another (smaller) room.  Or if it is, just barely, then it wouldn't be worth it.  How bizarre would it be to have our bathroom (the only room close to being small enough) original hard wood and the rest of the house laminate?  Yeah, that's just too weird.  We're left with no options but to just cover it up (gaahhh! I can't even say it!) with the laminate.

Does the fact that it breaks our hearts to do it absolve us from what is assuredly a historic homeowner's sin of massive proportions?

Even utterly filthy and in desperate need of refinishing, you can see how similar in color the laminate we picked out is to the existing, unusable hard wood.

The line between the hard wood and the subfloor (under the
sample) goes right through the center of the room.
The weird checkerboard pattern is just from the pad under the shag.

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