pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: Fun with mid-century bathrooms

03 September 2013

Fun with mid-century bathrooms


Scary brownish-orange bathroom
ca. October 2003

There are crashes and bangs and the tinkling of broken tile coming from the back of my house.

I've been talking about this remodel for close to 15 years, and trying to make it happen for 10. I even entered this photo in an ugly bathroom contest.

(Actually, compared with what it looked like at 7am this morning, it looked great 10 years ago. And the bathroom we lost to? SO much worse. I was happy for those homeowners.)

Why did it take 10 years to make this happen? We aren't entirely sure. At first, it seemed that the economy was so good, housing so hot, that contractors didn't want to remodel a bathroom unless they were taking 1/2 the house with it. I wasn't ready to remodel 1/2 the house 10 years ago, so I would get contractors out here to give me an estimate and they would laugh, not call back, or tell me honestly my bathroom wasn't worth their time. At least one of those has since gone under. Another (who wouldn't return my calls after the first visit) now regularly contacts me ("let's renew our relationship!"), begging for work. Who's laughing now?

Anyway, I persisted, but got side-tracked when the spouse needed surgery. Then, I started thinking about it again (the plumbing started dripping) and in early 2007, the son blew out his knee, and I spent the next 18 months occupied with his rehabilitation, surgery and rehabilitation.

The bathroom only got worse.

By the time the son was back in shape, the economy started to go to hell in a handbasket...

...and the spouse needed surgery again.

Something started leaking inside the shower wall. Contractors were returning my phone calls. I got a guy out here to give me an estimate...

...and three days later, I ended up partially paralyzed.

At which point, I came to the conclusion that there were malevolent forces at work keeping me from remodeling the bathroom. I said it, laughing, incredulous, not really believing it.

(Much.)

So, rehab, rehab, rehab.

Also, life.

November 2012, I opened a website on my computer to look at bathroom vanities being sold by a local designer. The phone rang. My daughter, between sobbing breaths, informed me that she'd just dislocated her right patella.

Rehab, surgery, rehab.

In April, a contractor came to do some work for us that did not include bathroom remodeling. I haltingly showed him the bathroom, and in hushed tones asked if he'd be interested...and by the way, it was haunted and didn't want to be remodeled.

He laughed and slightly snidely suggested that we have it saged. And yeah, he'd do the work.

I ultimately decided that he wasn't a good choice. Called another contractor.

The new contractor came out in late July. I loudly announced that my poor tired bathroom wanted to be beautified. The bathroom did not immediately contradict me.

Contractor submitted a bid. I accepted it and started buying tile and hardware.

My right plantar fascia became inflamed.

I signed a contract and wrote a deposit check, and promptly became violently ill. Friday morning, the spouse was trying to get me to call the doctor. I pointed out I was in horrible pain, but this did not meet my personal doctor-calling criteria: no fever, no blood, no symptoms of shock.

I picked out the granite countertop Friday afternoon.

Saturday morning, the spouse fretted that I probably needed to go to the emergency room.

I yelled at the top of my lungs that it didn't matter if I was hospitalized, if I was in emergency surgery all weekend, that the bathroom demolition was starting Tuesday morning at 8 am WITHOUT FAIL.

Saturday didn't go very well. But there was still no fever, no blood and no symptoms of shock. I slept when I needed to, cleared out bathroom cabinets, made room for the daughter in the master bathroom.

Sunday and Monday were much the same.

The contractor and demolishers arrived this morning.

Demolition has proceeded apace. Dear bathroom, I stopped telling you how ugly you were and started telling you how beautiful you could be.

Hopefully, I will survive the next five weeks.

Tech stuff: Probably taken with an old Canon Powershot S110. And yes, I'll eventually get to the doctor.

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