Operation: Disembarrass Upstairs Master Bath (DUMB for short) has begun. I may not survive the week.
My plan was to lounge around in my dressing gown, watching soap operas and eating bonbons all day, while my contractor made it all pretty up there. Hey, I already bought a ton of tile! My work should be done, now. Sheesh.
Alas, the fact that I’ve never once lounged with bad daytime television and chocolate should’ve clued me in to the impossibility of my dream, even if I had conveniently managed to repress every past home repair I’ve ever had.
(And! To add insult to injury! My contractor did not bring Oscar with him this time! Although that may have saved me from an uncomfortable conversation with Otto. Because the drooling, it might’ve been hard to explain.)
Anyway, I thought I’d fulfilled my end of the bargain: I had floor tiles, a shower door, and a fistful of cash. Otto and I were all set to tend to our own little projects and maybe I would get some work done, you know, to support that whole fistfuls-of-cash thing that contractors seem to so enjoy.
Well, you know, there was a lot of banging and such, so I poked my head in to see how it was going.
“How’s it going?” I asked, feigning cheerfulness and hoping that would make it difficult to give me bad news.
“Well, I’m pulling off the baseboards here, and they’re pretty well rotted.” Of course they were. I mean, NATURALLY.
“Okay, that’s fine, I can buy some new baseboards. We’re going out to Home Depot, do you guys need anything else?”
If there’s a question you do not ask a contractor, it’s whether he needs anything at Home Depot. My shopping list doubled in length (yes, I would dearly love to pick up a new wax ring for the toilet, whatever the hell that is, sure) and the contractor kept bringing up things I hadn’t thought of, like that I needed to pick a grout color.
“I would like it to be… grout-colored,” I suggested. Everyone seemed to find that amusing, but I was still trying to figure out when grout started coming in colors. It took me close to an hour to pick the TILES. Was he trying to KILL ME?
Armed with a list that contained alien items like “thinset” (I envisioned something like an oyster cracker, that might be crunchy and good with soup), Otto and I set off to Home Depot. And it was a good thing Otto was there with me, for lots of reasons. For one thing, he actually know where things are (it’s easier to know that, when you know what the things you’re looking for look like). For another, he doesn’t seem to take people out when pushing a loaded cart capped off with an eight-foot length of baseboard. And finally, he knows just want to do when I’m waving a tile around, growing ever more frantic, in the grout aisle.
“I like the buttercream. Or maybe the almond. I don’t know, what’s the difference between that and clay? Or maybe the sandstone. Oh, I like the sandstone I think. But maybe the buttercream is better. Or do you think the grey? No, grey looks like it’s already dirty. OH MY GOD WE ARE GOING TO DIE HERE, PLEASE TELL ME WHICH ONE TO GET.”
“YES! SANDSTONE! Good! We’re done. Awesome. Are you sure, because—”
“Right. Okay. Let’s go. Thank you.”
So we managed to get only half of what was on our list for about four times what I’d been planning to spend. Which is just about right for home repair. Go, us!
And do not ask me what the contractors did today, because they worked all day and I suspect the day was broken down as follows:
9:00-10:00 Put toilet in the shower
10:00-11:00 Demolish baseboards and track crud all over the house
11:00-2:00 Install cement boards on bathroom floor
2:00-3:30 Move tools around, track more stuff on the floors
They were pretty busy. Of course, we did manage to work in a discussion about how yes, it would probably be good if we painted the ceiling before they put the tile down. So maybe we could take care of that tonight? Oh, yes, sure. No problem.
Well, Otto and I spent most of the afternoon and evening applying Kilz to the mildew colonies in my bathroom, and while we waited for that to dry we wandered through the house spackling random things, and then we painted the ceiling, and I’m thinking that more or less guarantees that the contractors won’t show up tomorrow.
In the meantime, the children were quite vexed by the state of my bathroom, and wanted to know WHERE will I SHOWER now?? I told them that I will use their bathroom. But where will OTTO shower, they wanted to know. He’ll use their bathroom, too, I said. Then they wanted to know if we could all shower together and things deteriorated from there.
(Home repair: Not just good for your house, but useful in bringing up those necessary life lessons about group nudity!)
In fairness, I should also mention that Otto pulled down a section of fence for me this morning, too. Because he is big and strong. Also because the fence was falling down, but, details. And he removed the baby gate at the top of the stairs, because I was getting to that, you know, but I’ve been getting to it for about four years.
So things are moving along. I think. Only about 4,827 more items to take care of before I can look around the house and say, “Dammit, why didn’t I do any of those before I decided to sell it?”