Good-For-Nothing Directions


“When all else fails, read the instructions.”
Agnes Alien

I heard the noise when our son pushed his chair back from the dining room table.

“Be careful. We just redid the hardwood floors,” I said in a not-so-nice tone.

That was about a week after my husband, John, and I finished a do-it-yourself project, refinishing our heart of pine floors.

Pulling up carpet, padding and staples in the 325-square-foot living and dining areas was the easy part. I dreaded the job and mess of sanding.

On his way to rent the sander, John stopped by the local paint store to buy five gallons of polyurethane that had directions on the back to sand and clean the floors in between each coat. The sales guy mentioned an alternative to sanding wood – a chemical floor etcher that does the same job as sanding, only without the work and mess.

He said the floor is ready for the first coat of polyurethane in two easy steps. Clean the floor thoroughly. Wipe down the wood with chemical floor etcher.

“You’re sure it will work?” I said.

“That’s what he said, and he should know. Anyway, what’s the worst that can happen?”

We should have spent a few minutes answering that one.

The first piece of polyurethane, about a foot long, ripped a week after we put the furniture back in place. That was the noise I heard when our son got up from the table. The next three days, I sat surrounded by piles of polyurethane that I scraped with a razor blade off our newly redone floors.

When John told a friend what happened, Fred said, “My dad always told me the best directions are on the can.”

Are you a follower of wise advise? Or do you need a copy of Following Directions for Dummies?

WRite wHere I’m supposed to be – Another one of life’s lessons. What’d we learn this time around? The value of paying attention to wise counsel, instead of what we want to hear. Like it says in Proverbs 19:20, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.”

On the side: We refinished the floors and used a sander the second time around. In other words, we followed the directions.


4 responses »

  1. Very funny! I once came home to find my DIY husband blocking my entrance. “Go away for at least another two hours. I promise never to do this again and I’ll clean up the whole mess.” Turns out, he decided to rush the kitchen paint job by sanding the walls with a powersander only to realize the fine dust would fill every cupboard and coat every item! He did clean it up and I did leave him with it – shaking my head all the way. Love the analogy!

  2. Not quite sure how I came across your home improvement article. Since I love to talk about decorating with biblical principles, might I say, keep it up. From cover to cover, there is much said in the bible decorating your dwelling place….”and it was good”

  3. Hi Catharine,
    Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I’d love any suggestions about Biblical principles and home improvement. I love how the two seem to intertwine so often. I hope you find your way to Well-Written Days again soon.
    All the best,

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