Saturday, June 15, 2013

If It's Not One Thing, It's Another

     The renovation blues continue.  Sorry to be a bummer and bring anyone who might be reading this (Anyone out there?) real down.  I'm trying to rally.  I really am.  But it's hard when the bad karma or whatever it is continues at a reckless pace.

     I love our new shower door.  It's one of those doors without the old-fashioned metal surrounding it and keeping it in place.  I walked into the bathroom and waved at the man who had been part of a duo who had worked hard to put it in place.  The door was solid as any spa door (we do have a Mr. Steam that was part of the house when we bought it), and I could see myself sitting on the shower bench, steaming away after a particularly strenuous dance class or a freezing winter day.  The sweat would pour out of every pore in my body.  I'd be so hot that I'd have to stand instead of sit to get away from the steam-spraying jet close to the shower floor.  I'd stretch and breathe and steam away sore muscles, congestion, and all negative thoughts.

     Then a tile cracked.  The weight of the marvelously heavy door had been too much for the porcelain tile "expertly" installed above the top hinge.  And just like that, the door had to be taken apart and removed.  Easy come, easy go.

     To say I was devastated would be a bit too dramatic.  But I was feeling like a Drama Queen and wanted to imitate out first contractor who was a master at throwing hissy fits.  But I took it on the chin (which, by the way, has an unsightly pimple  - - - at my age.)  Thankfully, my husband had pulled another one of his disappearing acts and wasn't there to see the damage.  So, the beautiful shower door now sits against a wall in the guest bedroom until the cracked tile can be replaced and, this time, cemented in for safe keeping.

     Oh, but the trouble didn't end there.  No, we had an even bigger disaster.  Yesterday morning, when the crew had not yet shown up and the shower had been cleared of most of the grime from the day before, I ran my hands over the 8" X 20" tiles, most of which were already grouted.  Some of the lines were straight, and the tiles were flush against one another.  But then I felt one ridge, then another.  What to do now?  We'd looked forward to the work coming to a thankful end with the painter coming in and the job done.

     There was no way I could accept the work.  And the tiler was supposed to be an expert, the apple of the contractor's eye and also her husband.  We'd talked to him days before about the importance of having a seamless wall with no visible indentations.  He'd even removed two tiles to set them correctly.  I don't know what happened.  I have no idea why he continued on his merry way.  He should have spoken up and said there was a problem, that the shower was out of square and that the frame needed to be rebuilt.

     So, on the day when I'd hoped to see the bulk of the job competed, half of the largest shower wall was torn down to begin anew.  No more Ms. Nice Client.  The extra cost would be absorbed by the contractor.  And she'd have to pay for the new tile.  And we wanted a new tiler, someone who could do the job the way it should have been done in the first place.

     Problem was, there was not a piece of the special-ordered tile anywhere in the city of Chicago.  Not at any of the multiple dealers we called.  Not at American Olean Midwest.  We'd have to wait at least a week, if we were lucky.

     The new tiler saved as many pieces as he could.  We found two pieces of tile stuffed in the corner of the garage.  And the owner of the store from which we purchased the tile in the first place had thankfully ordered one more box that miraculously arrived later that afternoon.

     We still don't know if we have enough.  The job may have to come to a halt. 

     The only good news is that we love the paint color now up in the guest bath.  And the Chicago Blackhawks play tonight after their thrilling win halfway through the third overtime.  Maybe having a Stanley Cup team will help ease our angst and carry us through what has become the renovation from hell.  Or maybe we'll camp out in a hotel and try to forget all the mishaps, the mistakes, the filthy house, a cat whose lost his meow from all the dust, and the stress that sent me to a massage therapist and my husband off the deep end.

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