Buffing Fun

floor 2 by 2

This is what the floor looked like after the first mopping. I got a two by two foot section done in one hour. It was pitiful.

I usually have some unrealistic expectations when it comes to getting stuff done. I always assume it will only take 20 minutes to weed my flowerbed, one hour to go grocery shopping and 2 hours to thaw a frozen solid pound of hamburger meat.

I’m usually way off.

Like when I decided to clean the cement floor in our rec room.

I started the first of July thinking I’d be done in less than an hour. Nearly one month later it’s finally done – even though I’m still not very proud of my work.

I seriously thought I’d be able to plop down on my hands and knees Cinderella style and happily and quickly mop it while sweetly singing something. I had a Lucifer dust-prints moment when I scrubbed for an hour and only got a two by two foot section done.

Now I don’t remember for sure how big our rec room is but I think it’s at least 600 square feet. I realized this was going to take a while.

Who knows when the floor was last cleaned? We moved into our house in the end of April. It could have been years since the floor’s been done. At one point there was carpet over the cement and so some grayish/black film was pooled in sections of the floor. Those sections were disgusting and wicked hard to scrub.

Over the course of a few weeks I tried a million different things. Ajax, Soft Scrub, bristled sponges, metal spatulas and I even borrowed a small buffer from my friend. Nothing worked.

Then last Saturday I was sitting at a Norwex party when a light bulb went on. When the demonstrator showed me the steel scrubby for grills/ovens I realized I might have something else to try – steel wool.

Which for some reason I happened to have in my craft closet.

That night I stayed up until 11:30 p.m. scratching and scrubbing the grime off. I did the same Tuesday night. I stayed up until midnight scrubbing on my hands and knees all the while sticking myself with steel wool slivers and scrubbing til my palms puffed up.

Besides being really hard on my 6-month pregnant boy, it was the most lonely, mundane chore I have done in a long, long time. Occasionally some nasty spiders would creep out from under the floorboards to watch me scrub. I didn’t want to stomp on them but they just sat and stared at me like I was crazy.

Here's a picture I took of one of the spiders who crept out while I was cleaning. Disgusting!

Here’s a picture I took of one of the spiders who crept out while I was cleaning. Disgusting!

And I was crazy. How could I scrub our entire rec room floor on my hands and knees with steel wool?

I couldn’t. Wednesday morning I went back downstairs, worked for an hour and then sat back and cried. I realized this was not going to happen. I needed the floor cleaned before two parties we are holding next week and I was out of time.

That’s when I finally caved and rented an industrial buffer. My husband had suggested it several times, but I didn’t want to spend the money. Let me tell you, it was well worth the $38.57 I ended up spending.

My boys and I picked it up after lunch and I had four hours to buff the floor. Luckily my youngest took a long nap. Unfortunately his brothers did not. It reminded me why I had been staying up so late to work on the floor. It’s much easier without their “help.”

They promised me they would play well on their own. Ha! They wanted to by right by me. It was awesome.

I wish all of you could have seen it when I flipped the safety switch and turned on the machine. It nearly pulled my arm out of its socket as it shot across the room. My husband warned me that it might take time to get used to but I shrugged it off. Man did it have a kick.

It took me a while to figure out how to keep it under control. My boys sat giggling at me every time it got away from me. Then I’d get mad at them and tell them to get out of there.

Good news is the buffer worked like a charm. Bad news is it worked so well it started to peel the paint off of the cement in powdery puffs. Mix that with the water that my boys so happily kept dumping periodically for me to keep the machine buffing well and we had a slippery, paint-filled mess. Wet paint was smearing across everywhere.

What more could go wrong with this floor? While I was trying to keep the machine under control my boys decided they want to help mop. They found rags and water and started splashing on the other side of the room.

Why did I let them? Because I couldn’t pay attention to what they were doing. I had to concentrate all of my efforts on keeping that machine in my grips. It was all I could do to keep it under control.

When I finally stopped for a second to see what they were doing they had paint splashes up and down their legs and they were creating a pond in the middle of the floor.

At that point I kicked them out. I couldn’t take it any more. I only had four precious hours with that machine and I didn’t have time to stop and clean up after them.

Too bad they don’t know how to play on their own. They kept coming to the rec room door every couple of minutes whining that they were bored.

When my 5-year-old darted across the paint-streaked floor behind me I nearly lost it. His bare feet were covered in grayish blue paint and I thought I was going to scream. I sat him down, wiped off the paint with some toilet paper, told him if he came in there one more time I was going to make him nap upstairs with his brother and got back to my buffer.

I buffed in peace for about five more minutes then decided I had to be done. I had earned my janitorial badge for the day.

But the floor still didn’t look very good and there were pools of wet paint everywhere. The stupid paint streaks were drying and it looked like one big smeared mess. It a rec room, it’s OK, right? Well it’s just going to have to be OK.

I needed to clean up the wet-paint streaks so I grabbed my mop bucket, my bottle of pine sol and mopped the entire floor one more time. My knees were killing me by the end and my hands were super swollen, but I did it.

I have scrubbed, buffed, mopped then scrubbed buffed and mopped again. The stupid floor might not “look” clean but it’s as clean as I can get it. And that’s going to be good enough.

It took way more time and energy than I thought it would and I had a major melt down at the end but you better believe that if I accidently drop something on the floor next week during one of our scheduled parties I would dare pick it up and eat it. That’s how good I feel about it.

Now it’s time to move on to getting the yard ready for the parties. That will only take me a few hours, right?

The finished floor. Sadly, I couldn't buff up the black widow. I guess he's around to stay for a little while longer.

The finished floor. Sadly, I couldn’t buff up the black widow. I guess he’s around to stay for a little while longer.

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