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Thank heaven for little…um, large boys

From the Farm

December 2, 2011
By Kerry Hoffman , The Journal

By Kerry Hoffman

Ok, so my little boy really isn't so little.

He's enormous.

Article Photos

Kerry Hoffman

He is so tall he has duck to get through a basement doorway. Thankfully, when we remodeled we chose to have custom cabinets done that are a few inches taller than average. He has even surpassed his older brother by a good inch-and-a-half in height. Steve and I are beginning to look like dwarves next to Russell.

So, now that I have established that Goliath lives in my house, and not a sweet blueberry-colored Smurf, I can move on to why I am so thankful to have Russell around.

Early last week, I had agreed to be a host family for visiting students from Colombia this winter. Without much thought I told the Spanish teacher I would love to have a few students stay with our family.

Upon my return to our humble abode, I explained to my husband what had transpired and then how we would need to take care of "that basement bedroom floor that we need to finish for the third time."

I told Steve that the following weekend we were going to flooring store to figure out how to replace that darn floor once and for all.

We chose to cover the floor with ceramic tile. I love laying tile; it's the getting up and down off of a floor that concerned me a bit. By no means is it as easy as it once was to get up and down off a cement floor.

I started plugging away at the task early Friday morning while Steve, Joey and Russell took their powernaps. It didn't take too long before Russell, bored of watching the Vikings, showed up downstairs ready to help with the floor.

He can get up and down like he was a spring, with nary a thought about his knees or back.

Let me tell you, Russell is a master with floor glue. He says it's because he has helped pour cement so often that he has fine-tuned his troweling skills. He even knew how to slop it onto the floor so it looked like cow pies his specialty.

He had glue spread on the floor faster than I could open a box of 12-inch square tiles. It didn't help much that I found it quite painful to be either sitting or kneeling on a cement floor, even with knee pads.

Because Russell and I have very similar personalities, it was a joy to work with him.

At one point, it was like an idea passed through both our minds at the same time. Steve was too busy cutting 16 edge pieces to be included in our covert activity.

I happened to have a box of 1-inch square tiles left over from another tiling project I did in the house. I saved them thinking some day I would like to tile something else. (After this project, I can tell you it probably won't be another floor.)

Well, Russell and I decided it would be cool to tile in the letter "H" at the entry to the room. Slyly we broke apart smaller tiles to create a brown letter surrounded by beige tiles.

Unbeknownst to Steve, because he was too busy cutting tile and not paying attention to us two hooligans, we successfully laid the design and had it glued in before the boss could tell us to quit fooling around.

Not that Steve would mind. When he and I assisted in putting our hard wood floors in we put a 12-inch strip of maple amongst the oak. The guy laying the floor thought we were nuts; we thought it was a hoot.

Just like Russell and I thought monogramming the basement floor was a hoot as well.

Someday Russell will be living in our house and I hope he can convince those around him that we had a blast laying this floor and the letter is right where it belongs and how much fun it was to work together.

For questions, or comments, e-mail me at



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