home improvements are sometimes like pulling at a string on a sweater: you pull too much at once and the whole thing unravels and creates a great big mess.
There was ugly carpet that had to come up. There was water damage to it. Under that we found no surprises: warped subfloor due to water and moldy subfloors.
Obviously it had to come out. We knew there was hardwood. What we didn't know was the state of the hardwood. Best case scenario was: carpet layer, subfloor layer, hardwood floors.
But of course, that wasn't the case. Today, we ripped up the warped board (you know the one that I was terrified of) to find a dead body of sorts: dead linoleum. It would have been beautiful in it's day, full of that late 50s era stars and gold flecks. It hadn't been cared for and for some reason I cannot fathom, they had nailed it over and over down on to the hardwood floors. Hundreds of nails. Big ones, little ones...nails everywhere. The nails are so rusty that the heads disintegrated as I tried to pull them out. It's like a tetanus accident waiting to happen.
It went from bad to worse when we ripped up the moldy subfloor. That's when we discovered that are theory that the dining room used to be the kitchen was spot on: Big gaping holes in the linoleum where the pipes went.
This probably explains the decision to add subflooring and carpet. Between the sheer number of nails and the likelihood of it being asbestos backed linoleum, it seems like the "cover it up and pretend like it doesn't exist" was the best option.
The good news in all of this, is we got to see exactly the thickness of the oak hardwoods. And it's thick. Nothing like I've seen even in our current home with hardwoods. This house was built to last.