Archives for November 2009

We don’t have any unicorns either.

Nothing says Thanksgiving like major bathroom renovations, right?

The in-laws were ever so brave and kind and came all the way out from Michigan to help us. The Larkin men finished demolishing the bathroom and even got the new tub/shower combo in (and it’s beautiful!), and I served up a dinner made by Wegmans (because finishing book edits, coming up with new book ideas, and demo-ing a bathroom really don’t lend well to cooking a beautiful Thanksgiving feast and no one makes better mashed potatoes than Wegs does anyway). But the holiday weekend was not without its hiccups.

On Wednesday, they delivered our new kitchen island/table, and I discovered that the stools I bought were so tall that they were almost the same height as the counter.

On Friday morning, I locked us all out of the house.

And throughout my in-laws’ visit, pieces of our upstairs bathroom were continually falling into our downstairs (and only working) bathroom through the drop ceiling, making for quite a dramatic restroom experience.

But these things were minor blips in comparison to what happened on Friday night. . .

My three-year-old niece’s hair was in her face. My mother-in-law said, “Maybe Aunt Al has a pony-,” she pulled Niece’s hair into a ponytail to show me what she was talking about.

“Sure,” I said, remembering a box of old junk jewelry I’d found during my cleaning binge a few weeks ago, thinking it would be my best shot for a kid-sized hair clip. I ran downstairs, and heard little feet and kid giggles behind me. And I felt like the coolest aunt in the entire world, because my three-year old niece was so excited to look for a hair clip with me that she was literally jumping up and down.

I rifled through the box of old earrings and broken necklaces. Niece walked over, rested her hand on the chair next to me, and leaned against it, crossing one leg in front of the other like she was trying oh-so-hard to act casual. She looked up at me with her big blue-grey eyes and said, “So, where are the ponies?”

And I had to tell my favorite little girl in the whole wide world that we do not keep ponies in our basement.

Walking on, Walking on Broken Glass. . .

We are saying goodbye the horrendous green monstrosity of a bathroom we have coped with for the past six years.

The bathtub, sink, and toilet were all green. But they were all different greens. The sink and tub were slightly different shades of mint chocolate chip ice cream green (minus the chocolate chips) and the toilet was closer to avocado. The painted part of the walls – yet another shade of green, and the floor tiles – oh, you guessed it, several varying shades of green. But then, there was the wall tile. . . oh, the wall tile . . . all around the room, and it was . . . MAUVE. Not the kitschy 50’s pink that often got paired with a pastel shade of green. That we could play with. This was dusky, dated, ugly mauve – that lost space between kitsch and neutral that makes you dream of sledgehammers. And, were it not bad enough, there was a mirror that took up most of one wall, so all of that color madness echoed.

We lived with paint chips taped to our walls for YEARS, because there was no way you could walk into that bathroom and decide on a new paint color. All the permanent fixtures were so offensive that there wasn’t a good choice. Even white would have been obnoxious.

To add insult to injury, while the bathtub looked like it was a perfectly normal size, it wasn’t. I am about as average as you can get. I’m 5’6″ and my clothes are always mediums, but when I tried to take a bath in that tub I felt like an Amazon woman. My knees stuck out and the water level couldn’t get deep enough to stay warm for more than 2 minutes anyway. We will never again buy a house without first sitting in the bathtub.

And no, I didn’t take before pictures (just the above ‘during’ shot), because I don’t want to remember the way it looked. I just want to move on.

Do you like how I’m writing all of this in past tense, like it’s all gone already and replaced with something better? Like we didn’t just put some holes in the walls and make the bathroom unusable and then realize it was harder than we thought and it was best to regroup and figure things out? Like I didn’t spend the entire night trying to convince myself that I did not have to pee, so I wouldn’t have to walk down the dark stairs to the creepy basement bathroom in the middle of the night by myself, because my faithful canine companions were too busy snoring to lead the way and protect me from basement spiders, or wall squirrels (there was an incident, but we are hoping it was just a case of sound echoing from outside critters, not an inside critter the size of a house cat).

So, we’ve got some good holes in the walls. We’ve got enough broken tile chips on the floor so it’s not reasonable to walk in there just to use the facilities and risk tracking little fragments everywhere. But the mirror is gone, so at least there’s no reflection of our haphazard destruction. We’re trying to save as much as we can to donate, and the mirror was going to be a part of that, but it cracked coming off the wall, and as much as I would have liked to find a way to recycle it, I also didn’t want to risk it breaking further while we were storing it, because glass shards and dog paws are not a good mix, so J hauled it out to the curb last night for the trash pickup.

This morning, when J took the dogs out, Stella barked like crazy. J said he heard loud, crashing noises coming from The Crap Garden. When he brought the dogs back in, he looked out the window to see Mrs. Gnome wheeling half the broken mirror down the sidewalk on a small metal luggage cart. She leaned it against our garbage can and dragged her cart back to The Crap Garden.

I’m not sure I want to know why she felt the need to break glass in her backyard, what she plans to do with broken mirror shards, or why she only wanted half of what was left of the mirror and not the whole thing. How does one decide how much crap is needed in The Crap Garden? Half the broken mirror was just right, but the whole thing would have just been overkill? I guess I can’t pretend to understand her vision. Nor can I pretend to understand why our down-the-street-neighbor was in the front yard in his underwear in 40 degree weather last Wednesday afternoon.

I’ll put my respirator and goggles on today and chip away at the tiles in the bathroom, but no matter how much I temper the crazy inside, it will still be lurking out there . . . Although, I just posted a picture of myself in a respirator on the internet. Am I becoming one of them?

Wordless Wednesday – November

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