“Improvements” to our first home–You Didn’t Do That, Did You?

My granddaughter got married a couple of weeks ago. What a great time in life. After their honeymoon they will be moving to a new home.

This brought back memories of our first home.

I wanted it to be super special for me and my wife. So being the creative person I am, I decided to “improve” it.

Here’s the background story behind it. We were both college students, and I had secured a summer job as the camp superintendent of a church camp in the middle of Kansas. The summer job began in early April, weekends only, preparing the camp for my full time summer season camp superintendent job.

The camp superintendent’s cabin, soon to be our first home, was a one room cabin with one light bulb hanging in the middle and an old metal army cot. Quite rustic, and in some previous year, a squirrel trapped inside, tried to chew his way out, leaving chew marks all over the door frame, and window frames.

By the way, it also had a concrete floor. Not your most “desirable” first home, but we love camping and so it was perfect for us, at least until I “improved” it.

I grew up on a farm, building things, and my college degree was in Industrial Arts Education, so I “knew” a lot of neat ideas to “improve” our first home.

I decided that we needed a nicer floor than just plain old concrete, so I mixed together rustic brown enamel paint, with varnish. This combination gives a super shiny and durable surface when dry, and would be a “perfect” compliment to the rustic nature of the cabin. So the last weekend of work, I painted the floor with the enamel/varnish mixture, and left for my college home, arriving just in time for the wedding rehearsal, still having remnants of enamel paint and varnish on my hands.

Like I said, we love camping, so for our honeymoon, we went camping with a pop-up camper trailer. After a week of honeymoon camping, we loaded up the car and headed to our new home at the campground.

When we opened the cabin door and stepped inside, we discovered that the paint/varnish mixture had not dried—not one bit. There was no way we could move in with a wet, sticky floor.

What I did not know was that when the cabin had been built, they forgot to put a plastic vapor barrier under the concrete floor, which would have prevented moisture from working its way up through the floor, and preventing any painted surface from drying.

I went to the camp tool shed and got a flat ended shovel, broom, and a roll of plastic, and we proceeded to scrap as much of the paint mixture off of the floor as we could. After several hours of work, we were able to get the bulk of it removed, and cut sections of plastic to put under all of our belongings etc.

Even with our best efforts, we still had to deal with sticky paint coming off the floor throughout the entire summer.

Love conquers all, and we still had a great summer in our “first home.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *