It’s time for the male perspective on this here blog, and that’s where I come in. My wife Olivia is the designer, refinisher, and brains of this operation. She is also the more handy of us two, a statement it pains me as a man to admit. That said, I am most definitely the brawn. And while my strength was never exactly in question, last weekend more than solidified my place as The Muscle.
We got the call early last week that the bamboo flooring we ordered was in and it needed to get acclimated with its new environment. Sounds easy, but there was a catch…ok, a few catches. First, we don’t own the house yet. Second, we don’t own a truck. And third, we didn’t have a babysitter.
The one thing going for us was that the current homeowner has been nothing but accommodating and invited us to move the floors into the home ten days prior to installation (and settlement), per product specifications. Sunday was the day, 12:30pm was the time, and every able bodied man we knew was busy. No worries, I thought. I had Olivia for help and it was only 2,000 pounds.
Here are the floors we ended up going with. We originally wanted to go a bit darker but then we realized that might match too well with the paneled wall in the living room and den areas. We decided to lighten it up for better contrast.
Enter catch #2. We borrowed a full-ton pick-up to haul the wood thinking we had it covered, but the lumber warehouse had their own ideas. Our flooring was not 2000 pounds, it was 5500 pounds. And the nine 4-gallon buckets of adhesive were another 500 pounds. That’s three tons. My muscles and joints screamed at the sight of two huge pallets being fork-lifted toward us. I instantly started to sweat, a reaction I attribute to the weight before me, not the 95 degree heat.
Two and a half times more wood posed a problem, a big one. Making two trips was not an option due to time constraints and the warehouse was unable to deliver on a Sunday on such short notice–even if the weight snafu was their mistake. We had to borrow another one-ton truck and fully load them both. I spent 30 minutes in the parking lot carefully distributing the weight of the payload in the overloaded trucks to eliminate any issues. The ten minute drive took 15, but there were no mishaps en route and the shocks held up. I wish we had stopped to take a picture of the load in those trucks.
We were just a couple with a toddler in tow and knew unloading all this flooring would be interesting. Grandma had just been down for two days so we could have a yard-sale and go to a wedding. A third day of babysitting was not in the cards. The plan was to have our son with us and we could take turns watching him. What were we thinking?
When we arrived at our new home we realized not having a babysitter was a big mistake. Our well-behaved son soon turned into our extremely bored son. He was not going to be cooped up in a room with Mom as she opened 88 boxes of wood flooring and he certainly was not going to roam free in the yard (remember the bomb shelter?) semi-supervised while I made trips back and forth to the house. He would however, get into everything and try to escape his parents as soon as a back was turned. We did the best we could and made a little progress before his meltdown. The realization that little boys need naps and don’t like doing so in strange houses or pick-up trucks quickly settled in.
After an hour we decided that Olivia would take the baby home for a nap so I could maybe get this job finished. Of course, as this had not been the original plan, we had spent the last hour unloading the wrong truck. The pick-up with the car seat in it still had over a ton of wood in its bed. In a last ditch effort to get the baby home ASAP, Olivia hopped up into the truck bed and hoisted each box to me so I could move it onto a pallet in the driveway. Not as productive as actually getting it into the house, but after 15 minutes at least she was free to take the truck. The little one just stood there watching and eating his peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Miracle of miracles.
When I returned to hauling the boxes inside (so thankful for those short bursts of AC) the current owners were watching the Orioles game. I got to catch glimpses of the early innings with each trip and they shouted updates to me as I worked which was appreciated. The hardwood boxes were easy to move one at a time for maneuverability. Carrying two at a time came with the added risk of slippage and dropping a box so I made 88 trips in all, 62 pounds apiece.
The only issue with the wood was the sheer volume. The real pain came from the “handles of death” on the nine 45 pound adhesive buckets. My meaty paws constantly slid from the petite plastic handle pinching at every turn. There were a few trips two at a time, until I nearly dropped a bucket in the slate hallway. My machismo took a back seat to common sense and I finished up one at a time.
I did a little dance when I was done moving the buckets, but I wasn’t finished. The boxes were sealed in plastic and tape that would not allow for proper acclimation. I finished up where Olivia left off and opened each end of every box so the wood could actually acclimate to its new environment. Using an Exacto blade with jelly arms made for some super crooked cuts, but the job got done.
Nearly three hours after I began to unload our floors I was exhausted, sunburnt, and proud. I had won this battle; the flooring had succumbed to my strength. I have pictures and a Slurpee to prove it.