Thursday, July 05, 2007

Whines and Spirits

I certainly hope I am nesting. We didn't accomplish half the things I wanted to today...but I did do the dishes, make lunch, and help refinish the baby's dresser. That means that we didn't do the shelves in the storage closet, nor did we clean up the rest of the house. I didn't take a nap today either, though, so that alone is an accomplishment.

We actually didn't finish the baby's dresser today, either (that will, hopefully, be Saturday).

The dresser really was pretty ugly, but it's a good, solid dresser.

Abra repainted it sometime a long while ago. She used acrylic paints to make pink and white swirls on the dresser, and then used silver permanent marker to decorate the handles and things. She told me it was cool. I thought she was cool, so I thought the dresser was cool long after anyone else did. I kind of inherited it after she moved out of the house, still under the impression that it was cool. I was 13--what can I say?

Well, obviously it isn't that cool (sorry, Abra), so when it was our only dresser we hid it in our closet. We then got a nicer dresser from Aunt Nikki and moved this dresser into what has become the baby's room. There is no where to hide it in there, so we decided that in order to celebrate Independence Day we would be independent and refinish the dresser.

Our first step was to call Andrew's mom and ask her what she thought we ought to do. She lent us some of her power sanders. We borrowed Jacob...and then set out to do everything else all by ourselves. See how independent we are?

We went to Home Depot to find our supplies, with Jacob. That was an adventure. He's a moody teenager with a little bit of hyper activity going on. That makes for an interesting combination.

He was eager to come with us, we think, since he hurried to exit his computer game and follow Andrew out the door...but he complained the whole time. He complained about changing his clothes. He whined about the music we listen to. He griped that he had to leave his friends. He muttered about Andrew's driving. He fussed about getting back home on time.

At Home Depot, Andrew left Jacob and me to choose a finish while he found sandpaper. Jacob was frustrated because I didn't know what we were looking for, and certainly whined about that too. Instead of helping, he pushed a cart around and around and around and asked questions that had nothing to do with choosing varnish. By the time Andrew came back I was going crazy.

"He's driving me crazy!" I said.

"Oh, it's just good practice for when we're parents," said Andrew, who then whistled to Jacob like you would to a dog and said, "Here, Jakey!"

Jacob immediately put the brakes on and started following Andrew around obediently.

I have yet to determine if Jacob started behaving better because he was embarrassed by Andrew or because he's somehow intimidated by him.

Well, we finally found everything that we could think of needing and headed home. The boys went to work sanding the dresser while I started scrubbing the handles. It took us both a little bit of time to work out a system. In the end, they had Jacob doing a rough sand and then Andrew smoothing it over, while I soaked the handles in vinegar and then scrubbed them with a scouring pad. Both systems seemed to work pretty well.

Andrew and Jacob with the power sanders
The boys didn't get all the sanding quite done today, although they did get a lot done. Andrew was very glad to have Jacob over because he wasn't sure how he would have gotten this far without him, as I refused to sand in my pregnant-state. Alas, Jacob had to go help out at the Stadium of Fire, so Andrew and I gave up on sanding (for now) and moved on to the varnish.

The drawers were all done so we stained those today. We hope that they end up matching the baby's crib...I'm not sure if they really will, but it doesn't matter because they look a lot better than they used to.

Nancy paintingYes, I'm wearing a Canada t-shirt

Andrew painting
I haven't done a lot of painting in my life, but apparently Andrew has done even less. The first thing he did was dip his brush in to the very bottom of the can, so it went almost all the way up the handle. He then gave me that brush and then broke out another brush for himself. I told him how to dip properly, and he did a lot better.

It took us very little time to put a coat of varnish on the drawers, and soon we found ourselves cleaning up.

I took the brushes inside to rinse them off. Little did I know, varnish acts very differently than paint does and it doesn't wash off in water. After running my brush under the water for a while I noticed that nothing was coming off of it, so I touched it.

Varnish is very, very sticky. I put the brush down, got some soap and scrubbed my hands both my hands were sticky.

I tried to pull off my wedding ring. It wouldn't budge.

"Andrew," I hollered, "I think we have a problem!"

He came inside and I explained my dilemma to him. He had also gotten some varnish on one of his hands, and I warned him not to touch anything with it. It's very sticky.

He got the can and read how to clean it up. It said to use mineral spirits.

"What do we have to do," he asked, "Pray to the minerals to help us?"

We decided that that probably wasn't what the can meant, so we looked up mineral spirits on the internet. Actually, since Andrew was the only one with a varnish-free hand, he looked up mineral spirits on the internet.

"It says it is like turpentine," he said.

"Great," I said, trying to unstick my fingers from the sink, "Go and get some."

"Where?" Andrew asked.

"A hardware store!" I said.

Andrew wasn't quite sure that you could find mineral spirits at a hardware store. He was thinking that he might find them among wines and other spirits and he was not prepared to enter a liquor store, so instead of just heading to the hardware store, he phoned his mom (see, we're independent).

"Where can I get mineral spirits?" he asked.

Thinking about which store was closest to us, she answered, "Lowe's."

"Oh," he said, sheepishly, since I was totally right and he was way off, "Is there anything else we can use? Nancy's kind of stuck to the sink."

After, I'm sure, a good laugh, Karen suggested nail polish remover, but since we didn't have any of that, Andrew headed off to Lowe's and was back with the mineral spirits within 10 minutes.

That stuff works wonders! Just the tiniest drop of it took all the varnish off our hands, and then soap and water took off the mineral spirits. It was a great feeling to be free from the sink, and not have my fingers fused together any longer.

Now that we actually know what we're doing, both with painting and sanding, I'm sure the rest of our project will go a lot smoother. We will be sure to continue to use Jacob's whines and the mineral spirits, as they certainly were helpful today!


  1. You guys are so funny! I am sure the dresser is going to look beautiful. I guess that maybe, if we are awakish, Josie and I can even look at the finished product on Saturday.
    Love Mom

  2. Haha! I love the "I'm pregnant" sitting pose... the one that says, I can't bend over and paint this and sit how I would normally sit, because there's this BABY in the way! Which in your case is still tiny. But it's fun!

  3. When I was in high school my best friend and I took my beautiful wood dresser and painted it blue and white because I thought it was cool. It was a phase! Anyway Jason and I are betting you go a few day early. We're planning on seeing an actual baby when we get out there. (I can't help it...I love wagers :)

  4. Thanks for betting in my favor! I'll gladly go a few days early!

  5. It was fun to see you guys tonight. :)

  6. Wow, that's quite an improvement on the dresser - good job guys! It looks like you are pretty much set and ready for this baby - I can't believe you're almost there already!!