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Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

Herb Benham

The column on restoring our wood floors elicited some response. One reader begged me to hire a pro. For Sue's sake. Hers was akin to an email intervention. Tommie Sue Self suggested a more effective stripper.

"There's a product even better than the Strypeeze type gel paint removers. It's an adhesive remover -- meant to remove that black tar-looking and other adhesives that fastens tile and linoleum to cement or wood floors. It also works on heavy layers of paint.

"I used this to remove the black tar adhesive from tile and linoleum from three rooms (by myself!) at my 1970s-era house on Covina Street. You'll need cheap scrapers, plastic scratcher pads or even steel wool you can get at the dollar stores."

I'm in the home stretch on ours. The floors are not perfect and, in order not to commit Hara-Kiri, I had to give up my fantasy of gleaming, blond pine floors. My next step is to mix the clean, pine sawdust that I have saved with water, make a paste and then trowel it over the cracks in the floor. Then a light sand followed by the finish.

A note from farmer Bill Tracy about the floor project:

"Nice to read about you doing 'real' work. Like farming, it's hard but satisfying and at the end of the day you look back at real progress. Like farming, it will become a piece of you and still be there long after you're gone.

"That's the reason you find why many of us never retire until our 'toes-up' policy kicks in."

The wood floor column provoked this memory from Janet Manning:

"When I was 11, friends hired me to clean their house. I spent all day doing it, and they asked me to return the next day. They took me upstairs, where they had recently redone and revarnished the floors.They'd left newspapers on the floors, in the varnish, so they could walk on them.

"They asked me to remove the newspapers. After trying for a while, I told them this was pretty hard work for an 11-year-old. We parted company, still friends."

Good news from Kameron Bailey, the bodybuilder I wrote about recently.

"On May 18th I went to South Carolina and competed in the Junior USAs. I took second place in my men's physique class, coming up just one spot short of getting my pro card. Instead of taking off, I prepped for another month and competed in Chicago on June 15th in the Junior Nationals and finally won first place in my class and earned my pro card."

Local truck driver Karen Moore recently became one of 10 finalists in Overdrive's Most Beautiful, a contest launched in February to honor the hard-working, dedicated women who move America's freight. Seventy one women were originally nominated.

Nominees each hold a valid commercial drivers license, drive full time and haul freight ranging from hogs to logs, bees to tees -- and everything in between. They have one thing in common: They love trucks, trucking and the lure of the open road.

Karen Moore is a cancer survivor who drives with her husband, Tom. She also has a million-dollar smile.

These are Herb Benham's opinions and not necessarily those of The Californian. Email him at