Solo Survival

I have survived my first week back from the sun, and it has not been pretty.  Because my knee has decided not to integrate into my muscles, I decided to get a deep bath tub to soak in.  No jets, no air bubbles, no neon lights or giant size.  Just a tub with a high overflow to relax my leg.  This simple project commenced prior to my departure.  Well, it did not stay simple. 

 I have had three different configurations to my master bathroom in the 25 years I lived in this house, and not one has been right.  The last reformation included building a nice big shower, no tub, and an enclosed toilet.  My modesty has been trumped by my bad knee.  The toilet enclosure was scuttled to make room for the tub.  I invited chaos, dust and dirt into my life.

Like Tina Turner, with me, nothing is ever nice and easy.  New tub means new floor.  Subfloor was bad.  So I will get a really new floor.  New drywall.  New lights.  Pocket door to enter, making every inch of the project usable.  I am reusing the cabinets, but they will slither about.  Sadly, my closet is off the bathroom, and so my clothing is removed and residing in Patrick's room on a rolling rack.  My shoes are in laundry baskets.  None of this really matters, since Steve is not home and I can look as bad as I wish.  Which I do, because I am using the kids' bathroom and the water pressure is insufficient to rinse shampoo from my hair.  Worst of all- the new pocket door is smaller than the old door- and of course, I have no wallpaper scrap to fill the 7 inches left stripped by this adjustment.  So I will have to strip the whole bedroom and start over there as well.

I had hoped to have this little remodel finished by the time Steve returns.  Ha!  The devil is in the details, and I am not on friendly terms with details.  I have not yet ordered a toilet.  That is a serious deficit in a bathroom.  My living room is strewn with tile remnants, lighting elements, grout sealer and other debris.  It remains there because I insist upon sleeping in the bedroom which is adjacent to the chaos, despite the daily deposits of drywall dust, sawdust and the like.  It is where my DVR queue lives on my TV, where my dogs call "home", where my phone docks and my laptop charges.  I am a creature of habit, but this habit has given me a sore throat and scratchy eyes.  Still- I persist.  How much longer can this simple project take?  I ask myself that daily.
When this work is finished, I have to refinish the stairs, which the dogs have etched with canine petroglyphs.  In fact, the raggedy stairs were why I called the contractor in the first place.  Then he reminded me that I would feel better with a tub, and that I should do the work upstairs first so as to spare the refinished staircase from abrasion.  Bill Appelhans, my worker bee,  is an evil genius!  Now I am immersed in madness.  When the stairs are beautiful,  I will need to find a runner to cover 80% of the treads so as to prevent future deterioration, and to muffle the noise of stair walking.  Mercy!  I will get to it..really, I will.  For the refinishing project, I will relocate to the couch.  That REALLY has to be finished before Steve returns.  He hates couch sleeping.  
I spent the weekend searching for a wallpaper to replace my current bedroom model with.  I sent Steve samples.  He has responded by requesting paint.  Noted, but not necessarily integrated, Captain Steve.  When you stay in Florida, I lose my mind as well as my bathroom.  What you will see when you return is anyone's guess.  My deadline for action is March 31, when I ditch Chicago for Rome and the Amalfi Coast with the Great Lakes Touring Company- or the Old Ladies Budget Tourists, as Steve calls us.  ( I went to Italy on my first European adventure, and lost my glasses on Day One.  I was Ms. Magoo for most of the trip, though David's charms in Florence were not lost on my reduced visionThis trip is a bit of a do-over) I had better accelerate my construction/rehabiitation timeline.  Somehow I cannot imagine Steve sleeping amidst the sawhorses and debris.  
Into all construction projects, some rain must fall.  And some did- the tile guy knocked over a five gallon bucket of water he was cleaning the grout off with.  The waterfall arrived through the kitchen ceiling, pouring through the recessed lighting, and puddling in the soffits, where the ceiling sagged.  I was in Florida for this tsunami, and Matt inherited the danger of electrical discombobulation.  I will have it repaired when I get around to wallpapering/painting my bedroom and new bath. But all is well.
 Oh, no, it is not.  The Sub Zero built in refrigerator that has anchored the kitchen for 21 years decided to wither this week.  I am not really cooking in my bachelorette state, but I was treated to a curdled milk swig on Tuesday.  My keen detective skills ascertained that things were a wee bit warm.  On Friday, the repairman declared the compressor to be doomed.  Now, the question is- to repair for a ridiculous 1700 dollars, when the freezer could lose its compressor next week for another 1700 dollars....or to buy a new box?  How much is a 24 inch deep replacement?  Oh, $8,000.  Can I go with a traditional refrigerator?  Not unless I rip out a run of cabinets and re-construct them.  Help!
I am having a rough reentry.  Maybe I will just use an Igloo cooler until I leave for Italy.  Steve would love a home improvement project, I am sure.


Leave a comment
  • Oh. heavens. Isn't that the way is always goes? It will be great when it is ALL done. Good luck!

  • i've heard that people move out before they move back in. wouldn't it be better to just move everything out, remodel the entire house, move back in and then retire.

  • Janet,
    I know your knee hurts and pain confounds even the simplest tasks. It's so unlike you and, more importantly, unbecoming for you to complain about the luxuries you are afforded. You are so fortunate to have professionals addressing your home maintenance/improvement issues. The rest of us go to work and come home to the same disasters day after day that will not likely be addressed in our lifetimes. there's no money to do it ourselves and certainly none to pay professionals. Gaps in wallpaper, are you kidding me? Please take a moment to reorient yourself.

  • In reply to megandanos:

    I have to say I kind of agree with megd. It seems to be human nature to complain and you have every right to, but look at the big picture and count your blessings. Some people don't even have a home to live in anymore. You are en excellent writer Janet and I enjoy your blogs, please remember your audience who might be going through very tough financial times. I completely understand you have been dealing with a lot also. God bless

  • In reply to megandanos:

    Sorry- I thought I could just be me here. My current "me" is suffering down in the dump frumps. And Steve will find humor in my new persona as a whiny rich bitch.

  • In reply to megandanos:

    Geez. Lighten up people! Painting my kitchen and dinette area left me in distress for two weeks, and it was only PAINT! I loved every ironic tone! Lets me know you're real! Anyone who can be positive 100% of the time is either warped or on something! I'll get worried if you start typing "Winning!" or typing about "Tigress Blood".

  • In reply to megandanos:

    Little orphan annie, bless her sweet heart. she's raised from the walls of bamboo that's splintering from so much rain yet growing from blood-orange sun, the kind that warms the inner child just enough to see the rosy glow of innocence awakened, following years of work, a labor of love for the necessities of food, water, shelter & education, to one day see that the sun heals rather than bleeds, comforts rather than scorns, to be encouraging sisters rather than bullies at school, die sonne, feminine and fortified in accord with human nature. today though, rain. a day of rest & song.

  • In reply to megandanos:


    Your tone was fine.

    You do have money; however, I've always felt you are generous and grateful for everything you have.

    Plus, I want to read YOUR blog, not comments from people who want everyone else's life to be as miserable ("I don't even have money to do a project myself") as theirs.

  • In reply to megandanos:

    Janet. I agree with Shasta. I want to read your blog. There's always people that are going through tough times but it's nice to hear what's going on in your world. You live in a fun world. Thanks for sharing a piece with us. Mary.

  • Hey- I thought I was taking a pretty ironic tone.

Leave a comment