From the Ground Up

IMG_0163I currently do not have a functional master bathroom.

We discovered a problem with water damage on the walls outside the shower. Our first thought was that this was caused due to a leak in the caulking between the shower door frame and the tile, which had happened on the other side. We found the leak and were getting ready to take care of that when my father-in-law (who lives with us and still owns the house) decided he’d rather have a handyman/contractor come in and do it on the supposition it would be done faster than I or my husband could on the weekends/evenings. The irony is that we actually could have had it done by the time we managed to get someone to come in and give us an estimate for what we thought was a pretty small job.

Of course, that means we wouldn’t have found the mold or discovered the crack in the shower pan until things were much worse.

Mold has been remediated (ask me how much I hate that word), and the three of us are sharing one bathroom at the moment. Word has been given, permits are being pulled and work on the new shower is supposed to begin today. It’s not a complete bathroom remodel, but it’s pretty close.

The reason my shower is currently in such a lovely condition is because in order to deal with the mold, they had to take the old shower out. We’re down to studs (not the fun kind) and wooden subfloor. Because, sometimes, you have to sweep everything away before you can even see the problem.

Yeah, it’s a metaphor. I’ve spent a bunch of time this year sweeping away the old, trying to deal with things that were holding me back, some of which were lurking unseen until other layers were peeled away. I do not, however, see a metaphor for the solid concrete slab that was the actual shower pan under the tile that took two days for them to get out. And, no, that’s apparently not how shower pans are supposed to be constructed, even back in the early ’60s when this house was built. We now have this ugly feeling more grief awaits us if/when something goes wrong with the front shower. All that was just one of life’s WTF? moments.

IMG_0165So, they tell me labor really shouldn’t take more than two and a half weeks, but with pauses for inspection (during which time they’re not supposed to be working), we’ve been given an estimate of four weeks. I’m planning on six. So, with luck, I’ll have a new shower for my birthday. I’ll settle for it by Thanksgiving.

But the old tile has been stripped away, with the removal of the newer tile floor put in just three years ago to remodel to follow. No, I didn’t say anything to stop the contractor from upselling my father-in-law; I’ve never liked the tile since I’ve moved in (and some of it has to come up to check for water damage). In exchange, I’m keeping the vanity, which is currently ugly but can fixed up for a minimum of cost and hassle. The mirror needs to go as well, but the one we have in place will stay until I find the right replacement — and I don’t think I’ll find the right one until I have a chance to see what the rest of the bathroom looks like.

And, yes, that is a metaphor, because even when you’ve stripped almost everything away, there’s still things that are going to be there. You make compromises, make things work — and you learn to exercise patience because you’re looking for the missing piece but you know it’s not going to be found overnight.

So, my blog is back and I’ll give credit to Elena Dillon for her wonderful class in social media I took in September for thwacking me up one side of the head and helping me realize how to make this work. I knew I had to rip the blog back to basics, but she gave me the tools I needed and a few pieces I was missing. Thanks, Elena. Just like my bathroom, it’s a work in progress.