While we're full of resolve (and with the help of Liam's annual bonus) we've decided to tackle the ceiling beams in the dining room. Their wood had never been properly stained or sealed or protected, and they were the sunbleached and dry grey that you sometimes find on old wooden docks. In direct contrast, the old floorboards are a warm reddish color. Here's a picture from last February, when we were having the house inspected before we purchased it.
We went out and bought a little power sander and went to town. Sawdust. Everywhere. We quickly figured out that we're supposed to tent the doorways to prevent covering the adjacent rooms with dust. After two rounds of vigorous sanding we're finally getting to the point where we're almost ready to start staining.
We've been steadily increasing our supply of tools that a new homeowner needs to accumulate, assisted most recently by a moving co-worker (who was happily downsizing from a large house to smaller condo). Every now and then we're surprised that there's another tool or household good that we didn't think to acquire, like a stepladder light enough that I can carry it alone, or wood glue.
Home ownership: a never ending adventure!