Weekend Update – in which we almost break up.

Yesterday was a backbreaking and potentially marriage wrecking day..

It started off innocently enough: obsessing in my usual way about what color to paint the trim, a lovely trip to see the dining room set from craigslist etc. But our ho-hum weekend was interrupted by an unexpected call from our floor guy that he was back from vacation and ready to start on our floors the VERY NEXT DAY!

The problem with this otherwise exciting development is that even though we’d gotten most of it up in the bedrooms, there was still a rather thick layer of black mastic potentially asbestos laden tar on the floor of our upstairs hall:
tar on hall

Figuring we had at least 8 working hours left in the day, I told the floor guy to come on over and that Jeff and I would power through the scraping that night and get it done.


I wasn’t quite prepared for the resistance I would meet from Jeff.

You see I was the one that did the research online about the vinyl sheet tile and the potential dangers lurking beneath it (in the form of the paper backing). And I was the one that called an asbestos expert and listened while he told me that whatever we did – DO NOT SAND THE TAR.

The general consensus is that scraping will not release tons of asbestos particles into the air in an inhalable (i.e. dangerous) form but that sanding sure will. So naturally I didn’t want the floor guy sanding that stuff off even though its a service he offers.

Jeff apparently doesn’t share my concern.. I don’t know if its because he hears “I read it online” an instantly discounts it, or if its because he didn’t hear it first hand from anyone but me? Whatever the reason, this disagreement about whether to let the floor guy take care of the tar vs. us scraping it began a full on screaming match in which he threatened to leave (rather inconvenient with the clock counting down to the arrival of the floor guy) and in which I had to call my mom in for reinforcement and the two of us scraped for about 6 hours straight.

Thankfully Jeff and I eventually came to a truce of sorts and he put in about an hours worth of scraping and put the 10 ton radiators into the closets so the floor could be done underneath them.

And now here’s a peak we got into our house’s history from the wall behind the radiators:

behind the master bedroom radiator

Behind the Master Bedroom Radiator

wallpaper behind the guestroom radiator

Behind the Guest Room Radiator

So with all that tar and ugliness behind us, we are very much looking forward to seeing those floors, the backbreaking hand-scraped labor of love turn into something beautiful.

The best part about this story?

I don’t think the floor guy showed today after all.

13 Responses to “Weekend Update – in which we almost break up.”

  1. Isn’t that typical that the guy didn’t show? So frustrating! But at least you got the work done, and it will be SO worth it when those floors are all done and gorgeous.

    We have some funny spots in our house where you can see the wall paper from the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. Ug, ug, ug, and ug! In theory, I want to like wallpaper, but generally it is hideous and a pain to get rid of. Still fun to get a glimpse of the past!

  2. I actually see tons of wallpapers that I love the design of, but I have too much fear of commitment for wallpaper! I can barely pick a paint color and that’s much easier to change.

    It was fun though to see the various decorative incarnations the rooms have been through over the years!

  3. I’m sorry, but shame on Jeff. You were doing the right thing for the health of the both of you. He owes you and your mother professional massages for your work. Tell him I said so. :)

  4. ok, so I’ve been reading this blog with my tongue held since day one, but after my wife’s over exaggerated one sided post I cant hold back any longer.

    First off Ariana has been in rare form all week. attacking all who dare to stand in her way.. (I must admit this is true – Ariana)

    So yesterday while Ari was out shopping for more furniture we DO NOT NEED I was at the house painfully finishing the crown molding and dripping with sweat. She called me right about the time I had finished the crown and began digging ditches with her father to tell me “good news, the floor guy will be over tomorrow morn, 1st thing, stop what you’re doing and scrape the floor”.

    Now I don’t know how many of you have scraped mastic off a 90 year old floor but its about the equivalent of plucking out all your body hair one strand at a time.

    Anyway after being abused all weekend the floor (which may or may not contain asbestos) was the straw that broke the camels back.. Also keep in mind that 3 bedrooms had already been scraped (yeah, mostly by me! – Ariana) and both my hands have quarter size blisters in the center.

    So as you can clearly see yesterday’s dispute was all Ariana’s fault!

    Ok I feel better.

  5. Jeff totally owes you (and Mom!) massages and a “Sorry I was Stupid” cake. Sometimes I have to spell it out for Sam (my fiance…) that while he may not agree with a method/project that I want to do — it is IMPORTANT to me…and I need him to consider the IMPORTANCE to me rather than the project itself from time to time. It doesn’t always work…but sometimes it gets him over the hump.

  6. […] makes all of the hours of scraping and bickering seem worth it.. (yesterday’s post even provoked a first time appearance by Mr. Becoming Home) and today the floor guy puts the first […]

  7. OK, Jeff is forgiven! LOL

  8. Thanks for sharing what most renovation bloggers don’t – the ugly reality of compromise.

    Hard to imagine while in the midst of angry exchanges, but near marriage ending arguments are part of the rights of passage for couple renovations. Consider it a badge of honor :)

  9. Thanks Mrs. Limestone, I hope you’re right!

    The true problem is that Jeff and I have completely opposite ways of going about things.

    I obsess over every detail and decision to the point of complete stagnation. When its done, I second guess myself and obsess some more because i think it could have been done better.

    Jeff treats every project like a race to the finish line with all the subtlety of a bull in a china shop. (are you reading this Jeff – I love you honey..)

    These different work styles are completely fundamentally at odds and like you said, renovation projects can be stressful so it tends to bring out the worst anyway.

    While it does feel good to vent here(for both of us) I do promise to try and keep the dirty laundry to a minimum!

  10. I feel your pain. Mr. Limestone is my antithesis when it comes to renovating and decorating decisions. I swear he sometimes disagrees with me just to annoy me.

    But we always work it out somehow – you will too :)

  11. Oh, how funny! I just love the pics from behind the radiators — I know that is what we will find if I EVER get around to remodeling. We bought an ancient farmhouse out here in the middle of the cornfields…with nary-a-road to get here….but perfect! You are giving me LOTS of good ideas!

  12. A little late in the game posting here…But this sounds like EVERY SINGLE conversation we’ve had about the dangers of asbestos in the kitchen floor mastic. I insisted that we buy 6 mil plastic to seal off the kitchen for good measure. Eh. The plastic ended up being put to use as painting drop cloths. At least I won the OSHA certified respirator battle!

    I too worry and fret over every decision…

  13. Amalie, are you my long lost twin? :)

Leave a Reply