My Life

The Giant Crack in the Night

Firstly, I feel it is my moral duty to point out that this post is not about any of the salacious imagery some of you may have imagined upon reading the title. Normally, I wouldn’t feel compelled to make this disclaimer (after all, I am the most chaste and pure thing to have ever been birthed in Oklahoma, said no one, ever). But as some of you may recall from a recent post, Unexpected Penetration, this site has been the target of certain unfocused individuals seeking sordid stories of a coital nature.

Whilst I welcome one and all to Bonnywood (please sign the guest book and take advantage of the complimentary nibbly bits), it’s only fair that I let said seekers know that this post is not going to satisfy their carnal needs. Please continue with your Internet journey by clicking on another link, hopefully one that will help you find your people and you can all celebrate your inability to mature. Bon voyage! (By the way, please delete your browser history after leaving Bonnywood, as I don’t relish being innocently ensnared in the porn scandal that will inevitably knock on your door. Well, your parents’ door. Mom and/or Dad will have to lead the investigators to the basement where you have been living in social awkwardness since high-school graduation.)

Secondly, none of the above should be construed as my disapproval of erotica or outright pornography. Far from it, as I have done extensive years of research in both realms, partly due to my firm belief that all cultural aspects should be explored and partly due to the unattended firmness of other things. (That sound you hear is the gasping of a few readers as they click the “unfollow” button. So be it. Sexuality is not the enemy, despite the hypocrites who try to stifle any healthy discussions on the matter. One of the main roadblocks to our progress as a society is that some people refuse to accept humanity in all its messy glory.) Some of my favorite bloggers write exquisite erotica, lush and hypnotic, and I will happily read any piece of good writing, regardless of plot or gender or poorly-chosen couture. If someone has a great finesse with words, it’s something to be respected. We’re losing that in this age of sound bites and acronyms and standardized testing that rewards conformity and negates creativity.

Bit preachy there. I just don’t understand those who refuse to understand that Point A to Point B is the only acceptable route.

Thirdly, the actual crux of this post: Wooden floors.

One of the main drivers for purchasing this house wherein I have dwelt for decades is that it had wooden floors, the old-school, build-it-to-last kind that can take a licking and still keep shining with that special glow that only solid oak and a good Minwax patina can provide. When I first toured the home, I wasn’t sure if wood floors were in the offering, as everything was swathed in a hideous lime-green shag-carpet layer of outrage. (Further proof that questionable style decisions were constantly being made in the 70s.) My realtor, eager for his commission, sent the owner and opposing realtor off on some dubious mission, dragged me into one of the bedrooms, slid open one of the closet doors, and then proceeded to pull up a corner of the carpet.

Yep, wood floors. I trembled in lust.

Later, as the four of us sat around the kitchen table and the two realtors bickered with one another in bartering one-upmanship, the homeowner, a lovely woman who was at least in her own 70s, and possibly 80s, turned to me and asked: “Do you think you can love this house?”

I was touched by this, and I assured her that I would, and the deal was done, no matter the swordplay of the clueless realtors who were only invested in impressing each other. Sometimes you just know. And I did, as did she.

Ripping out the offensive carpet was an easy task, accomplished in only a few days. The second phase, however, was much more laborious. There were thousands of carpet staples embedded in the wood from one end of the house to the other, proving that the lime-green abhorrence was just one of many atrocities over the life-span of the house. I spent most of a year, working late at night after working all day at Verizon, plucking out those staples with a pair of needle-nose pliers, many of whom refused to budge without extreme cursing and due diligence, hand-sanding away most (but not all) signs of the rude penetrations in the wood. Eventually, finally, there was a semblance of what once was, and I coated everything in that Minwax. The warmth of the amber glow, especially when accented by candlelight, satisfied me greatly, a sensation only understood by someone who promises to love a house and does whatever it takes to make it so.

But lately, my affections have been tempered. As anyone who lives upon old hardwoods knows, things settle over time, no matter how lovingly you fight against it, and now my beloved amber planks creak like the hounds of Hell.

It’s not so bad during the day, as my partner and I go about the many insignificant things people do in the daylight hours. Creaking and groaning are not so offensive when the sun is shining, especially since both of us have reached the chronological point when we creak and groan ourselves. It’s the darker hours when the beast is unleashed. I’m a night owl, and a retired one at that. My partner is still enmeshed in the corporate cogs, biding his time until certain pivotal numbers are achieved and he can tell the cog owners to blow it out their preferred orifice, which means he needs a good night’s sleep in order to deal with the madness.

And I try to respect that, I really do. As I quietly bang on my keyboard at the other end of the house from the bedroom (See? Respect.), crafting my little stories about nothing and everything and the clock ticks toward 3am, I do my best to not violate the sanctity of my partner’s slumber. But there’s a rub in the mix, and it essentially involves my aging bladder and the hand-sanded planks. Because I type for hours after Partner has nocturned for the night, and I often have an adult beverage or seven during such, I must go pee at least 47 times before I succumb to the beck and call of the mattress.

Both bathrooms in this dwelling are located at the other end of the house. I’m certainly not going to use the one off the master bedroom, as this would have me traipsing past Partner and accusations of sleep deprivation would ensue. So, I opt for the guest bathroom, somewhat removed from the boudoir but still in close proximity. And really, it’s not the location of the bathroom or what I might do in there that is the issue.

It’s the damn long-ass hallway leading to such, lined as it is with amber planks, that creates havoc.

As many of you who dwell in a habitat with older wooden floors know, you learn over time where the trouble spots are located when it comes to cacophonous belligerence. You avoid certain places, and you can generally motor about without too much aural truculence. But this clever strategy simply does not apply when I need to pee in the middle of the night.

I take one step into that hallway and, despite my careful foot ministrations, each of the planks responds with an overwhelming crack on par with a musket being fired in the trenches of France during the Napoleonic wars. By the time I make it to the bathroom, everyone in a 74-mile radius is sitting up in their beds, clutching a crucifix and praying for salvation. I just sit there on the toilet and tinkle in shame and degradation.

But still and all, the wood floors still look fabulous, especially in candlelight, and I kept a promise to love a house.

Cheers.

 

28 replies »

  1. Preachy, not! Good sense and honesty are far too scantily aired in this age of degraded political correctness. What you say is utterly completely and refreshingly true true true. In other news, I am so so glad you found your house to love and that you have kept the promise that you would. The floors are simply letting you know that they love you back – like cats and dogs their language is sometimes a little less than palatable but they can’t help that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “We’re losing that in this age of sound bites and acronyms and standardized testing that rewards conformity and negates creativity.” Beautifully phrased and so true.
    The sad fact is that the big five push for books written at the third grade level, the more white on the page, the bigger the print run. That’s not what saddens most; it’s that our children are getting passed out of third grade unable to read.
    Regarding floorboards, the house where I grew up was built in the mid 1800s and the planks in one room were irregularly shaped and over two feet wide. Hope they’re still there.
    Thanks for another fascinating blog post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And thank you for your comment. I’m greatly intrigued as we fumble our way towards getting to know one another, and it’s always a delight to meet someone, essentially out of the ether, who exhibits so many signs of a kindred soul. As for the Big Five and their insipidness, well, it’s up to the indie authors to make things right again, yes?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Uh huh, sure, your first thought was of glowing patinas. I think I’ve somewhat figured you out, at least minimally, and it thrills me that we have thought patterns that are very similar. And yes, always keep searching for a house that you can love. It’s a satisfying thing to seek…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. When I bought my mama and daddy’s house from my sister (yep…she was given everything), I set off to restore it. Bless his heart, he had put indoor/outdoor carpet all over the house and the only device he had at hand was tar. When I pulled it up, I came a little closet to Hell’s gateway and the cursing could possibly be heard all the way up tot he Golden Gates but I succeeded. There’s nothing like hardwood floors…creaky or not.
    Hey….here’s an idea. How about you get yourself a chamber pot? I used to collect them. I’ve got regular ones and hooter ones (for those male bits.) LOLOL

    Liked by 4 people

    • The tar must have been a terrible mess. With the floors here, the various carpet pads had disintegrated over the decades, turning into a layer of stone-hard nastiness, and it took forever to chisel that mess up. But tar? Ugh.

      As for a handy chamber pot, I have seriously considered that from time to time, but in the end I always make the march of death down the hallway…. 😉

      Like

  4. Okay. You made me smile and my heart is that much lighter from reading about the giant crack/creak (well you did say ‘crack’ first). Laurel has a good idea there, you know. I realize it’s icky in theory (I shudder to think of touching anything that has human waste in or on it, despite the fact that one isn’t really TOUCHING it any more than one is touching oneself when one goes. Did you follow that? If so a gold star is for you). But my sainted father in his last years used a portable urinal, it was of heavy duty plastic with a tightly closed lid. I wish hubby had done the same. Elderly male plumbing can be fraught with leaks and soiling of carpets, floors and the elderly pet who doesn’t get out of the way in time. Pops was logical, hubby was not. Hubby, when he drove (for lo those many long years) always carried around a plastic bottle of varying degree in size, for those emergencies when one is piloting a big heavy vehicle and one cannot stop for Mother Nature, no matter how urgently she is knocking. There are options IF you are truly intent on saving your husband his rest and you are worried about him being crabby and getting dark circles under his eyes from lack of sleep. Has he said anything to you? If not, you might be worried for nothing, even though it did garner you a nifty post. And “unattended firmness of other things”? Ah sir. You did wander, however briefly, into the realm of salacious. Place to visit, wouldn’t want to live there though… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • While the concept of a portable potty does have a certain appeal, based on the astonishing rate of decay that my body is exhibiting, it’s probably best that I save such a contraption for the time when I really need it, as it is surely on my horizon. I fear that I am going to be one of those horrid older people that none of the staff in the nursing home where I am eventually placed will want anything to do with. I’m cranky enough as it is currently, so it stands to reason that I’m going to be an extremely bitchy old man when my sun starts to set…

      But you do make a good point with hubby, in that he has never really said anything about the nocturnal gunfire, and he normally doesn’t hold back when he has anything to say about my relationship performance. It’s probably all much ado about nothing. But I still feel shame when I trod the wooden mile…

      Like

  5. Have you thought of working on your keyboard in one of the bathrooms, thus avoiding 47 trips back and forth down the hall? Just put a plush cushion on top of the toilet seat so you won’t get behind-itis on the job, and you’re good to go (just remember to remove the cushion when you do).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Laughing – but not too hard otherwise I will have to “go”.
    I also have wooden floors, ad they had sticky black crap all under the carpet. This house came to my land in 4 pieces, put back together and moved into when “nearly” finished. “Nearly” being that the said black sticky stuff was still all over floors.
    Picture me, my Mum, my cousin and various rotating family members, the day before moving in, trying to get that stuff off any way we could – and me finally succumbing to crying cause my littlies would have to live in a house with crappy black stuff all over the floor. Was my only bad moment really in the whole 4 part house thing.
    In the end I just threw old quilts, sheets and whatever over it until I found the dosh to get it sanded back professionally. Now I have lived in old boards, still with nails showing (i prefer that look) that speak to me and groan in sycophantic empathy when i walk. 🙂
    Plus, dead easy to clean up child drool (the grandie – not me!) off wood floors. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, along with the staple debacle, I had an astonishing amount of goo on the floors caused by disintegrating carpet pads mashed into the wood for decades. It took FOREVER to get all that mess up, and there are still a few hidden places that could benefit from a little more elbow grease. I like that you prefer the nails showing, as I chose to do the same. It’s a great look. (My partner, when he came along, professed a yearning to do something about that. I had to pull rank with my seniority, having lived here longer than he, and the uprising was quashed.) And yes, cleanup is a breeze with wood floors. Just a quick run of the mop and we’re all back to good…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I would never give up my shiny wooden floors – even with all its various creaks and scars from the horrors inflicted upon it by the previous home owners.
    … although there have been the nights I’ve popped wide awake from an unexpected groan of a floor board. Then I lay there with my heart hammering wondering how long I have before I’m hacked to death in my bed 😱

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The first home we owned was in Nebraska and it had wood floors, covered in a hideous mustard yellow carpeting. Yes, I remember those staples, as well as the creaking. But lordy I loved those floors. I’d gladly go back to them in a heartbeat, but not Nebraska. Though I guess there are worse places to live. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • What is the thought process with these folks who decide to cover beautiful wood floors with hideous carpeting? It’s a double violation, with the mere fact that they are desecrating coupled with their inane color choices. There was just something fundamentally wrong with residential design choices in the 60s and 70s. Another thing that grates my nerves (and I might be crossing a line here, as I don’t know your thoughts on the matter) is when folks buy an older home and then gut the interior to make it an “open floor plan”. That’s not how the house was designed. Why did you even buy the house if it’s not what you wanted? I blame HGTV for this…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I blame HGTV for many things.
        As for carpeted wood floors, I’ve heard it from many older people: it’s all about comfort and non-slippery floors. Beauty has nothing to do with it. (I fear this mindset more than anything else about growing old. Give me Alzheimer’s, give me gassy indigestion, but please dear God, let me hold on to good taste!)

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh yes, I get it! Our stairs and upstairs landing sound like someone has put a microphone and speakers on for all the neighbourhood to hear at night. My husband is a heavy sleeper but I wake at the sound of a spider shimmying around the ceiling and whenever he gets up, I wake up too. But worst is when our young grandchildren are staying. Like you say, you mostly know where the worst offending boards are, but I swear they switch places when the kids are here!
    Your post is particularly apt, for this week we are taking up another carpet to restore the old parquet flooring in the downstairs hallway, having already done the two downstairs rooms in the past two years. Everyone admires them, but my mum, bless her, having regarded them and commented on the cost as well as the appearance summed up her real thoughts when she asked what kind of carpet we were thinking of covering it with!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Is IS amazing how a house reacts differently when guests are on the premises. This house makes noises in places that it has never made noises before, especially when my youngest sister is visiting. She’s in a wheelchair, and the floors react as if a bulldozer has breached the interior, much to her annoyance. I think Osyth is righ, in her comment above, that a house speaks to you, and I think my house is saying, in those times, that there are far too many people within the walls for decency to prevail.

      By the way, I’ve been following your renovations, and I must say that it’s exciting to see what you are doing. I love it when folks take the time to make a house a home, finessing bits until everything is just right. And then starting all over again when you decide that you like different bits… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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