July 06, 2006

Cheapness is counterproductive

Sometimes, at least. Tonight I set in for a long run of kitchen floor sanding, and right away thought to reverse the direction of the belt; one side was clearly more worn than the other, and I figured the embedded "sand" might have a sharper grit in the other direction. Not five minutes in, the sanding belt broke. A fortuitous occurrence, though it didn't seem so at the time: it was 8:45.

The reason that is significant is that Lowe's closes at 9. In other circumstances I'd just take it as a sign to quit for the night, but all set to work on this, now, and I didn't want to, er, lose my groove. (This is a theme in my life, you'll notice.) So I fly through the house, change out of my work shorts—not to become more presentable, but because my keys and wallet were in the other shorts and it was faster that way—and out to my car. May possibly have broken the speed limit. Got to Lowe's at 8:51, raced in...

...and found out that there were more "standard" belt sizes than I'd thought. I'd figured that the standards would be far enough apart I'd be able to tell which size I needed on sight. Having gotten this far, I certainly wasn't about to go home empty-handed. So although I thought that probably the 21" belt would be the right one, I (with some embarrassment) carried the 3x21 as well as the 3x18 and 3x24 belts up to the checkout. Thank goodness for lax return policies. :)

Upon my return, the fortuitousness: boy howdy does the sanding ever go quicker with a fresh belt. Why had I put off getting a new one? They're only five bucks a pair. I immediately flew through several segments of floor. Some of the parts I'd already done, but were still a bit blotchy, are a lot cleaner now. (I had thought the blotchiness was from age-old water staining; the water stains are still there, but much fainter and much much more even.) At one point while taking a break I was able to look at the floor and see that for sure and without a doubt I was well over half done, closer to two-thirds. When you actually pass the halfway point, it's sometimes hard to tell, and you're never quite sure if your optimism is letting you delude yourself. But get far enough past, and you can be positive. It's a real pick-me-up.

And then about a half an hour ago, this belt broke. Lengthwise. My belt sander now has a half-width belt on it. I suppose it must have caught a splinter just the wrong way, because although the grit was not quite at its original formidable strength, it still had a lot in it yet. But, having put two hours in, it seemed like a good stopping point. Another night like tonight and I'll have the whole floor sanded and I can move on to bigger, better things, like figuring out how I'm going to stain the floor without painting myself into a corner. :)

"I tend to look for weak, uncertain students and feed off of their insecurities; by preying on their poor self-images, I manage to temporarily assuage my own feelings of inadequacy and failure. I've also found undergraduate advising to be a terrific vehicle for venting a lot of my own pent-up rage and frustration." --Olin Shivers

Posted by blahedo at 11:50pm on 6 Jul 2006
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