IMG_1535 IMG_1534 IMG_1533Intrepid.  The word is usually applied to people who climb Mt. Everest or explore the North Pole.  But today, in fact all this week, I have been applying it to myself, though others might look at what I’ve been doing and call me foolhardy.

I come by my sense of intrepidness honestly, as I’m quite sure I inherited it from my father. Daddy may have inherited it, or maybe it was chiseled into him as a result of being born into a poor family in the middle of the Great Depression.  All I know is that I watched him try all kinds of things–from building swamp buggies and airboats and baby beds–without ever doubting that he could pull it off.  He just plunged into it and lived with the results.  Just like I do.

I remember Daddy buying a sewing machine, our family’s first, and then sitting down and sewing my sister a dress just to prove that he could do it.

Daddy’s efforts were seldom beautiful–though some of his woodworking doll beds and cradles were beautiful in a primitive style–but his swamp buggy was something else.  :-/   Some of my efforts are less than lovely, too, though the woman in me strives to be aesthetically pleasing.

In our family, I’m always the one who fixes things.  As my father’s daughter, I know how to wire light fixtures, hang ceiling fans, and replace toilet innards, and the frugal part of me would rather do it myself than pay someone else to do it.

Once, in an effort to find the plastic doll’s boot that my toddler daughter flushed down the toilet, I pulled the entire toilet up from the bathroom floor and set it in the bathtub.  Eventually I had to call for help because I couldn’t find the toy and had no idea how to put the toilet back together — and keep it watertight.  My horror of a flooded bathroom forced me to call a plumber, who only laughed at my situation.

Now–the adventure at hand is a result of Dani, the mastiff with the mischievous brindle gene.  In her puppy days she was prone to urinary tract infections, which meant that we had a hard time house training her. And you know how it is–if a dog smells a spot where she has previously peed, she will pee on that spot again, naturally thinking that it’s an officially sanctioned pee spot. Well, Dani peed in my dining room, and my efforts to eradicate that spot only resulted in making things worse. So I put down a wood-looking vinyl floor that covered the spot, and some day when I can afford it I will have the floor repaired.  (These repairs are NOT inexpensive–I checked.)

But Dani had also peed in our bedroom, creating a large spot at the foot of our bed.  I kept covering the spot with throw rugs, but she kept peeing on the throw rugs, ruining them, and I finally realized the only way to get the smell out of the floor was to replace the floor boards.  Fortunately, I had some spare boards in the garage.

So Sunday afternoon I went out and bought a circular saw–I bought a jigsaw last month, and my successful use of that power tool left me feeling empowered.  So I brought the circular saw home, read the instructions, and proceeded to mark and cut out a huge section of our wood floors.

Now–all the “how to repair wood floors” internet pages assured me that the fix was simply a matter of cutting out the ruined pieces, cutting new pieces, and then fitting them into the tongue and groove slots.  Presto!  What no one informed me, was that the wooden floor boards in my house had been GLUED to the floor.

What could I do?  After chiseling out the first bit of board (you cut the wood into smaller pieces, and once you get the first one out, the rest are SUPPOSED to be easy), I couldn’t stop.  So I spent Sunday afternoon and evening and most of Monday chipping out pieces of wood and glue.  On Monday night I crawled into bed and everything hurt–my fingers, my arms, my back, my legs — I woke up at 4 a.m. realizing that my HANDS were in pain.   Tuesday I finished by cutting new boards to fill the empty places and adjusting them to fit.  Okay–the final result is far from beautiful, but once I get some gaps filled with wood putty, I think it’ll be passable.  Especially if I put another throw rug over the area.

Last night, however, Dani peed again on a rug in a different spot in our room.  I lifted the rug up to dry the area beneath and discovered ANOTHER urine stain, which explained why Dani kept peeing in that spot.  So last night I hauled out the circular saw again and started sawing away.  Trouble is, the circular saw tends to set off the smoke alarms (am I doing something wrong?) and that woke up the Grandest Baby and convinced the Daughter that I am completely insane.  I much prefer the word intrepid.

Anyway–this area was much smaller, and now I know what I’m doing–sort of.  And while I chipped pieces out of this section this morning, I found a sizable crack in the concrete floor beneath. I filled this with grout, which won’t do much for stability, but might keep an ant or two from crawling into my house.

So–again the floor is finished, and though it’s not gorgeous, it’s serviceable.  Except now we have a new problem.  Because the repaired places are not glued to the floor, they feel a bit hollow under foot, and my dogs won’t walk on them.  Dani spent all Tuesday night barking at the flooring, letting it know she was not pleased.  Billy keeps jumping up on the bed and barking because he doesn’t want to step on the new floor.

Sigh.  At least–perhaps–they won’t get close enough to pee on it.




  1. Kathy Cassel

    This has to go into a book someday 🙂

  2. Daphne

    I loved today’s email. I too have been intrepid and when it didn’t work too well for me, I gave it up-hah! However, Dani, is so adorable I would have a tough time getting upset at her. I have an idea for a future book-I loved your book about the gorilla. I was thinking maybe you could write about your mastiffs. I am a sucker for animals. May god rain extra blessings on you, SPH


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