December 30, 2009

christmas vacation

I'm about ready for classes to start up again. Why? Well, let's just say I'd like to meet whomever started Lowes and beat him with a garden hose. Home improvement. I hate it. I have a shirt with Homer that says DDIY - Don't Do It Yourself. But before this journey started, we had ripped out the carpet of our downstairs floor. At the time, our beloved dog of 13 years (best dog I've ever had) had begun to lose control of his functions. My wife and I both hate carpet anyways so out it came. We were going to put down a nice wood floor. Oops. I got into med school. So long salary. So long wood floor. Hello, concrete. Concrete in a stunning but functional gray with glue leftover from the carpet starts to look a bit tacky, even by my redneck standards. So as a present to us, my dad and brother helped, well drove really, a project to stain our concrete. My brother builds custom cabinets for a living, really nice stuff. For fun, my dad built his house from scratch on a whim. Me? Those construction genes must skipped me entirely. So needless to say, they know what they're doing and if they don't, they have enough experience to figure it out. If it were me, I would've quit after scraping the paint on the concrete for 5 minutes in futility. (photo credit to my wife on the pictures)

Quickrete advertises 3 EZ Steps - Prep, Stain, Seal. It's that simple....yeah, right. Here are the three of us prepping the floor. Want to know why it's expensive to have someone stain your concrete floor? The materials aren't terribly expensive when compared to wood or tile. But there's a LOT of prep work. My bro is on the left hand scraping the paint overspray with a putty knife. Not fun. My dad is happily grinding the concrete. It took the three of us two days to get the floor ready.

Next came the staining. There was a bit of a learning curve on that, like never, never, ever use a pump sprayer that has any metal parts in it when using an acid stain. They failed to mention that in the directions. I still should've figured that one out but to my credit, the acid didn't hurt skin so I thought brass would hold up to it for more than 3 minutes. There's a lot of waiting in between steps. At this point, it's stained and dry. I'm pulling out the leaf blower to remove any dust that's settled on it before sealing.

I sealed myself into a corner, well, out of the house really. I actually was smart enough to plan it that way. I then climbed a ladder into a window along the stairs. This was at 12:30 am so I'm more than a bit tired at this point, never mind inhaling fumes for 4 hours. It's still drying right now but so far it's looking like it'll be really pretty.

Here's what it looks like after drying about 12 hours. One of the cool things (or detriments to perfectionists) is that you never what the staining is going to pattern like. The concrete is highly hetergenous so you get a highly variable staining pattern. I think it makes it beautiful. After the initial round of stain dried, I went back with a squirt bottle to add some "character spots". See the stuff on it? That's in what horses eat. I needed all the fans I could get so I borrowed some from my dad which were stored in his barn. At the previous step, that stupid box fan blew for over 24 hours straight without so much as a stolon of hay errupting from it's crevices. But after I put the sealant on? It decides to vomit it out in great quantities. My wife wanted rustic...well, she got it.

All in all, I'm really pleased with it and very much graciously indebted to my dad and brother. I'm going to be providing them free healthcare for as long as I practice in return. I don't think many people realize the degree to which whole families kick in to support someone through med school. It's kinda like marriage. You're not just marrying your spouse. You're marrying their whole family. Same deal with med school. Everyone, not just the student, goes through it in some way. But I've had enough of this stuff. I'm ready for something cerebral now.


Steve Parker, M.D. said...

It's gratifying sometimes to have a job with a finite beginning and end. Then you can stand back and admire your work.

Very different from office practice caring for 80-year-olds who never quit complaining and gradually decline towards death despite your best efforts.

BTW, I like the new look of the blog. Easier to read.

Isaac said...

That's one of the reasons I am still considering ob as a specialty. Most of the time, you're left with a healthy baby full of promise.

Regarding the look, I was informed that the white on black was horrible to read. I never read my own blog so after I tried reading it, I had to agree. Black on white seems so much easier on the eyes.