Usually I join everyone for 4th of July festivities. But this year I did the restaurant owner thing. We were closed Monday, as usual and now closed on Tuesday since it’s the 4th. Monday I went in around noon to do some sprucing up. I had just been on vacation the week before and thought I would use the time to do some jobs that take two days. Yes, there are plenty.
David had emptied a bar cooler Sunday night and I went in to sand it, clean it and spray a finish on it. It was so bad and so wet that I had to let it dry before I put finish on it. Since I had the sander out, I striped off the old finish on an antique table that the waiter’s use for a printer, check presenters etc. It’s been grubby for a long time now. My small sander died, so had to bring out the belt sander. It’s didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped. I ended with an uneven finish, even though I know what I’m doing.
Then the big project started. I took my oreck cleaning machine and stripped the spotty finish off the crappy vinyl floors in the office and 3 landings at the back of the restaurant. It was dirty and messy and the machine is heavy as sin. So is the mop bucket needed to rinse up all the gunk. I was pulling hoses from outside and inside to fill the bucket because it was too heavy to carry the 8 steps between each landing. I had to move pieces of furniture out of the office. I had to move shit we store on the landings up into the dining room or down to the basement level. It was pure drudgery, but everything was clean but very wet.
I decided to let everything dry overnight, so after 7 hours, I headed home, after stopping at Home Depot for the finish for the crappy vinyl floor tile, a new sander and some matching stain for the table. (I took the drawer with me to match).
On the 4th of July, I got an earlier start. I started by putting the first of SIX coats of sealer and polish on the crappy vinyl floors. You have to let each coat dry around 30 -45 minutes so I had plenty of time to tackle the other half finished projects. This is why a cleaning company will charge $700.00 to do the floors: they have to wait all day. I’ve seen them on their cell phones, smoking cigarettes all day.
I sprayed the first coat of the plastic coated inside the cooler. The smell just about killed me, so I took the little table outside and used the new sander to touch up the table with 320 grit sandpaper. Cleaned up with tack cloth. I then failed to stir the stain well enough and used the wrong kind of applicator and got a heavy, gross glob of stain over the top. I had to let it dry so I could get out the belt sander and start all over.
2nd coat of sealer on the crappy vinyl floors. I have to work my way down from the top floor and leave by the basement and come around to the front door.
2nd Coat of plastic coating in the cooler. Belt sander on the table. Went through many sheets of sandpaper as the stain was gooping them up quite quickly.
1st coat of floor finish, last coat of plastic coating and a final sanding with 320 grit paper. I stirred the stain very well, put it on lightly with a cloth, but I did not have sanding sealer which really makes life easier. It was just ok, but good enough for this time of day. It’s supposed to look old, right?
2nd coat of floor finish goes down. The stain on the table needs to sit for 8 hours, something I have never realized in the past, so while I waited for the floor finish to dry, I cleaned out the basement a little. Tossed some old boxes, B&B plates we haven’t used in 10 years. Packed up some lights that I have to return to Home Depot.
Put parts of the bar back together after pulling out the cooler from the under the bar and scrubbing the wall, corners and floor.
3rd coat of floor finish goes down. I stop and eat lunch, which believe it or not, I brought from home. Trying to cook several meals at once. While eating I checked by email and Babette’s facebook page to look over resumes and try to schedule some interviews for a new line cook, since our current one gave notice on Sunday night.
Crappy vinyl floors aren’t quite dry enough for the next coat and I’m pissed about not being able to put at least one coat of poly on the table, so I do it anyway. It’s OK. Needs two more coats, but needs two frigging hours between coats.
4th coat of floor finish goes down. Now I spend some time packing up the sanding tools. But found that I have a box of tiles that I added to my car’s trunk to patch one missing tile by one of the fireplaces. The color is so off, I realize how dirty the tiles are. So now I’m scrubbing the tiles with degreaser, green scrub pad, then metal scrubber, then scraper. Then I try the floor stipper that I used on the crappy vinyl floors, but that has no effect. They come clean. Not exactly factory clean, but really clean. I don’t have the grout and mastic I need to patch the one missing tile. So now I have a new list for Home Depot. It has to DRY anyway.
4th coat is still a touch damp, so I clean up. Put the things I don’t need back in my trunk. Move scrubbers, mops, plastic, gloves, buckets back to their homes. This is it. I’m ready to polish the floors.
So out comes the VERY heavy oreck polishing machine again. I swear it gets heavier each time. On goes the buffing pad and I proceed to buff the 4th coat of polish. First two landings are great. The floor looks like Target’s floor. On the last level, with the office, the employee restroom’s floor is still every so damp. Screw it. I’m finishing. So there’s some smudging, but for the most part it shines like new penny.
Oreck get’s put away. Doors get locked up. And I’m off. Tomorrow I can add two more coats of stain to the table, with two hours or so in between but we won’t be able to use it for 48 hours. The cooler can be plugged in and begin chilling down. The staff can put back all the shit that goes on the landings. I may just have to wait a few days before I get the mastic and grout and sealer for the damn tile. And I can start some interviews I hope.
This is crazy. I should have a company come do this. But they won’t do the little jobs. So now I am having a cocktail and my husband has made hot dogs. He couldn’t grill them because the bottom of our grill at home just fell apart…..And so it goes.
But some big projects at the restaurant are done. It’s summertime. That’s what we do.