In & Out of the Kitchen: Floors refinished — the longest days

The writer’s kitchen floor shines again (inset photo at left) after being refinished for the first time in 17 years. Background photo shows the floor before refinishing. (Caroline Lee photos)
PHOTOGRAPHER:

The writer’s kitchen floor shines again (inset photo at left) after being refinished for the first time in 17 years. Background photo shows the floor before refinishing. (Caroline Lee photos)

Over three very long days, we had our wooden kitchen floor refinished. Same guy as last time, same finish, same routine.

How long had it been? Will came over to check out the floor and give me a price. Last time we’d had the floor refinished he was 8 years old; now he’s working with his father and engaged to be married.

They were starting on a Wednesday. Thursday evening we could go in carefully, wearing socks. Friday, same thing. By Saturday it would be all dry.

You don’t know how much stuff you have until you have to move it. We are tidy and fairly minimalist, yet I ended up distributing kitchen items all over the house.

The day before, I put away the countertop appliances and wrapped up my knives, took down the curtains and pictures, and dragged out the small bookcase. The kitchen table is heavy but the top is round, so once I got the legs off I could roll it into the first-floor bathroom.

The coffeemaker was set up in the dining room and there were tea bags, coffee pods and sugar. The plastic container of cat food went on top of a high piece of furniture and emergency cat meds were stowed in the dining room buffet on top of the Wedgwood dinner plates.

I ran the dishwasher, cleaned out the fridge and strategically placed wine bottles and a carton of half and half in an unheated back hallway that we could access via the cellar door, which I’d unlock in the morning.

We could go out through the dining room French doors to the deck and access the cellar, bypassing the kitchen.

I was working on a project, painting the upstairs bathroom, but could easily go outside then into the basement for my supplies. I was all set.

The night before they began I cooked the last supper: stir-fried beef tenderloin with broccoli, onions and red pepper jazzed up with garlic, ginger and orange peel. The countertop was strangely empty and the cooking noises amplified and echoed.

The first day was noisy.

“Look at that gorgeous wood,” I said when I popped my head around the door. They were spreading clear polyurethane over beautifully grained bare pine and were almost done.

“I closed and locked that cellar door for you,” said Will, helpfully. I looked across the expanse of wet wood into the now inaccessible back hallway, to where I’d put the wine and the half and half.

So I bought more wine and half and half, and put them outside in a cooler on our squirrel-overrun deck, and hoped for the best.

Our diets reached a pandemic low during this time, with breakfast sandwiches from the fast-food place for three mornings (darn good). We ate dinner at a restaurant for the first time since last spring (excellent) and got takeout soup from the supermarket (not great) another night.

The work proceeded as expected but the days passed slowly. The cats got annoyed and we got irritable.

But it is done and looks beautiful, and we are all set for another 17 years when, perhaps, Will may be bringing along the next generation to help.

Categories: Food

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