Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Four Men, a Guy and a Girl

I do apologize for posting only once last month, but I have a very good excuse.  After twelve loooooong years of living with cream-colored, wall-to-wall carpet in my living room and dining room, it is finally gone and I’m a very happy woman. 

That carpet was the bane of my existence from the day we moved in.  My husband liked its cushy feel, but I wanted to rip it out before we moved in.  Unfortunately, the timing just wasn’t right.  I hated it, and I could never keep it clean. 

A psychiatrist friend once told me that people who have white carpets in their homes don’t like guests.  They’re sending a subtle KEEP OUT signal to anyone who dares to invade their space.  Definitely NOT a message I wanted to send.

So, after twelve years of entertaining, dinner parties, workmen tramping through and cats having accidents all over them (My late, darling Victor was a champ at projectile vomiting.), I had finally had enough.  Those damned carpets were coming up if I had to rip them up with my bare hands!!!!

Seeing the desperation in my eyes, not to mention in my clenched fists, my husband finally agreed.  He was sure we could do it ourselves.  After all, we’d done it before, in our previous home.  Of course that had been more than 30 years ago, so I was a bit skeptical, but he was sure we could handle it.    

And so, we set aside the week before Thanksgiving for the project. 

We tackled the living room first, moving all the furniture into the dining room.  That went well.

Then, we started pulling up and cutting the carpet in sections.  The padding came up next and, to my delight, there were the pristine hardwood floors that I knew were there all along (yahoo!!); however, someone had clearly gone postal with a staple gun.  I spent an entire day pulling up staples with needle-nosed pliers while my husband carefully pulled up the tack board around the edges of the room. 

It was back-breaking work, and I suddenly felt all of those 30 plus years in my hands and back.  Still, it was definitely worth it.  The living room was back in order, with the addition of an oriental rug, in about three days.  On the fourth day, we rested.  God didn’t need to rest until the seventh but, let’s face it, being divine has its advantages. 

Source:  The Rye Historical Society

The dining room was next.  So, once again, we loaded up and started moving the furniture into the living room.  So far, so good……until……..after emptying the china cabinet of its contents, we realized we had come smack dab against an immovable object. 

Even empty, that heavy, pecan wood, two-piece china cabinet refused to budge.  We needed help.  So, my husband said, “I’ll go grab a couple of the neighbors to give me a hand.”  I guess he thought he was back in the good ‘ole days when you called up your buddies and said, “Hey, I’m moving, can you give me a hand?”  Guys would do anything back then for free beer and pizza, but those days are long gone. 

Group of Old Men Source: Alamy
Warwick fossil committee

Suddenly, there were four men in my dining room standing around surveying the situation and discussing how best to do something none of them could do, because they all had bad backs.  Finally, one of them said he had a nephew who was a handyman.  “I’ll give him a call,” he said, “and tell him to come over with at least three other guys.  It looks like a four-man job to me.”  They all agreed.

Gérard Depardieu plays the Handyman in "Green Card"

Twenty minutes later, Mark, the handyman arrived……………..with one tall, thin girl. 

“Did your uncle tell you that a very heavy china cabinet had to be moved?” I asked. 

“Yep,” he replied. 

“Shouldn’t you have at least three other guys to help you?” I asked eyeing the thin, young lady nervously. 

“Nope,” he replied.  “She’s stronger than she looks.”  And with that, they moved into position on either side of the china cabinet, lifted the top into the air, carried it into the living room and lowered it gently to the floor; then they did the same with the bottom piece. 

“Give me a call when you’re ready to put it back,” he said.  I did.  

Two days later, the dining room was back in order, with the addition of an oriental rug, and all it took were four men, a guy and one stronger-than-she-looks girl.  Who knew??


  1. Congratulations!
    I love reading all your posts!
    Now, if only my husband would finishing building our house...........

    1. Try doing what I did.....desperation in your eyes and clenched fists. He'll get the message. Although.....building a house is just a wee bit more involved than moving a china cabinet, n'est-ce pas?

      Thanks for stopping by, Irene.

      Cheers, M-T

  2. I loathe carpet (hate vacuuming, have multiple dogs and cats) and have pulled it up in this home (10 years ago) and my previous one (almost 30 years ago). Oh, yes, the staple gun was used with indiscriminate glee by the carpet layers at each house - I used horse pincers and a flat bladed screwdriver, there is a definite rhythm that works. Also my weeding kneeler from the garden. And definitely noticed it took longer and a greater toll on my body second time round!

    My first house was older, so there were more layers to remove, which is always fun. And the carpet was a lovely soft pink.... lovely quality wool, but deeply impractical.

    While I didn't have any immovable objects when ripping up the carpet in the first home, by the second one, I'd inherited a big, heavy wardrobe which I use to hold paintings (I have too many and regularly swap them out - love picture rails!). I hired three men to move it for me (and yes, even with all the drawers out, it took three burly blokes to handle it! I've also got a two piece bookcase - impossible to move if you try to do it as one piece, easy as pie if you unscrew the top and move it separately. Smart design :)

    1. Wow, Erika, you've clearly been there, done that, don't really want to do it again!! Pink carpet. Oh my! Deeply impractical indeed, not to mention that it's rather a specific color that may not work w/what you had. Since I'm not a gardener (love looking at them; hate tending them), I didn't have a weeding kneeler, but we did use knee pads, which worked well. Of course, it's always the back that gives out first.

      The second time around is always harder on everything, except the heart. I've had friends who've found love the second time around and found it just as, if not more, exciting as the first time around. What a pity our knees and backs do not follow suit.

      Please stop by again. Great comment, Erika!! Enjoyed it so much.

      Cheers, M-T

  3. Dearest Marie-Thérèse,
    Loved this humorously told story!
    Oh, we women have to fight for having carpets pulled up... Haha, we did have wool with cotton all over the house, except kitchen and bathrooms. And on the stairs, the builder had used an ugly dark green remnant of industrial carpet he had left over from a big project.
    In 2007, after 17 years of living in the house, it got pulled up and Pieter did admit that he had no idea how much dust still gets accumulated inside. Despite of vacuum cleaning it, there's no way you get it out. That was the year that I was using the pump for my Asthma... that did help speed up the action!
    When we got all solid oak planks in the living, master bedroom and later in the dining and guest bedroom and office, I was still staring at the ugly stair case but Pieter said: NO!
    Until my cat-girls were playing tag while Pieter was painting the railing in the staircase area. You guessed it; they knocked over a full gallon of glorious antique white that ran down the ugly green staircase. The day before Christmas. I was laughing so loud that in the end, Pieter laughed too and he said, now you got your way! We had to host a dinner for 15 with the staircase area closed off, too embarrassing for having people come up there. But than it got pulled up and we got solid oak as well.
    Hindsight I often wonder how in the world could we all live for decades with carpet? In The Netherlands I had woolen Berber tiles... My Parents changed from wooden floors to carpet and still have it. My Dad will not change that...
    A lot easier and a lot healthier to have wood or tile flooring!
    Hugs and congratulations!

    1. Dearest Mariette,

      That white paint story is just toooo funny. I laughed so hard as I read it. Wish I'd been there to see the "girls" in action. Isn't it funny how fate and felines often take a hand in our plans?

      As always, your comments are just the best.

      Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Gros bisous, ma chère amie,


  4. Oh, this is a funny one! Bravo for you and your hubby to take on such a job! I love my wood floors and I hope you enjoy yours.

    1. Definitely brave of us at "our age." To be honest, I have the same carpet on the 2nd floor, which I plan to rip up, too. That's the next "BIG" DIY project, but since our bedroom contains my triple dresser, my husband's armoire and a platform bed w/a large headboard, we're definitely calling the handyman and his troop(s) to help us w/that one.

      Thanks for stopping by, Cheri
      Cheers, M-T

  5. Loved this story. Too funny, with your visuals. We do have cream carpeting throughout our house. I actually like it. But my first choice would definitely be wood flooring. If I had hardwood floors underneath it all, the carpet would definitely be gone! Kudos to you for all that hard work.

    1. Thanks so much, Deborah, for the kudos. It certainly was a "back-breaking" project, but well worth it. Of course, we still have three more floors to do. We have a four-story house. But....that will have to wait until spring. The opera season is in full swing and NYC calls.

      Always love it when you stop by.

      Cheers, M-T


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