Saturday chore

Our story so far: We had 2,200 square feet of hardwood to refinish in the 126-year-old Methodist church we were turning into our dream home.

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We’d pretty much agreed, Tyler and I, that we’d do something other than work on the church on weekends—shopping, chores, socializing, resting—but the pressure of finishing the floors began to eat away at our best intentions. We couldn’t install cabinets until we finished the floors, and we couldn’t install countertops until we had cabinets, and we couldn’t have sinks until we had countertops, and we couldn’t have running water until we had sinks.

So one Saturday morning in June, I agreed to sand floors for four hours. If we returned the sander within four hours, we paid less than using it all day. It seemed a good way to get an unappealing chore out of the way first and then enjoy the rest of the day. Plus, we figured to be done before the hottest temperatures of the day, predicted to be in the nineties.

So we got out of bed at 5:30 a.m. and rewarded ourselves with breakfast out. Only the diner we settled on was a cook short and experiencing problems with its electronic ordering system. A thirty-minute treat turned into seventy-five minutes of Chinese water torture. So we didn’t get the sanders rented and into service until eight o’clock.

This is an edge sander. The black parts are handles. Imagine finding a place between your legs for the inflated sawdust-catching bag.

We donned ventilators, safety glasses and ear protection. Tyler used the orbital sander on the second floor, and I used the edger. The sander had so much power and I so little core strength, I could only control it by leaving one knee on the ground and using the other leg and both arms to propel it in the direction I wanted it to go. I probably looked like some sort of middle-aged spider trying to control a panicked fly.

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Tomorrow: Which has higher priority? Hunger or vanity? Read about the dilemma here.

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