I was not sure when my visitors were going to arrive, but I knew it was going to be sometime this week. My sister-in-law and her husband were going to break their journey, and visit Dana's brother, before heading south. I had prepared for a mid-week arrival.
Tuesday morning was spent clearing out the remaining items from drawers and cupboards, so that the vanity units in my bathrooms could be torn from the wall, and discarded, forever. I had a vague idea that they would just fall apart as they were de-hinged, but that would just go to prove that they needed to be replaced. When Samantha arrived at my house, I was busy rearranging her old bedroom to house the extra things that I had packed away.
Surprisingly enough, my stress levels were at an even zero and I was not feeling any anxiety regarding mess, company, or any other aspect that this remodeling project was going to project. I had told myself that I had wanted this done, and so I should endure the circumstances, and consequences, without emotion.
On Thursday, Dana received a text to say that his sister would be arriving around three thirty, and he informed me that I would have to go home to let them in. Texts were going back and forth, and I was asked questions as to whether they knew how to get to our condo, and whether they knew where to park. "Why don't you phone and ask?" I responded. In my mind, all questions could be answered in one go! My desk was full of projects, and there was no way that I was going to be able to stay at home and 'entertain' my guests. Samantha offered to drive me so that I could collect my car, as Dana had informed me that he was not coming home, at all, due to his workload. Sensing that this was an exaggeration on his part, and wondering whether my lack of stress had added to his, I asked if I should bring some clean clothes, for the morning, and perhaps a pillow and a sleeping bag, should he find ten minutes to take a nap between the hours of darkness! The sarcasm seemed to kick out the 'pity party' attitude, and he said that he would probably be home around seven thirty!
My guests were quite happy for me to leave them a key, and come back to work, as they had some unpacking to do, and some shopping to take care of. I had offered to fill my fridge with whatever they wanted, but the opportunity to go to Sprouts was not to be missed! (Apparently Sprouts is not, yet, national!)
We enjoyed a nice meal together, much later than anticipated, and Cindy went to bed as she was feeling rather 'under the weather'. Jim, having driven for several hours, and then endured Austin's 'quitting time traffic', going to and from Sprouts, was also rather tired, and after we discussed the project from within the rooms that needed to be remodeled, he too, retired.
Dana went into the office rather early on Friday, and I spent some time cleaning my kitchen, as I had gone to bed leaving an unsightly mess. Samantha arrived, after she had taken the dog into the office, as Cindy and Jim were staying in his room, and I did not want him body slamming up against the door to open it, when they were sound asleep!
I went into work and decided not to worry about anything that was happening at my house. The first vanity unit had apparently been collected, and was being fitted in my guest bathroom. The second one would be collected later in the day. The text messages started to arrive around ten. I do not do texts very well, as my phone is not particularly big, and my finger tips are! It takes much longer for me to write a text than for the recipient to reply, and I would much rather be talking to someone than writing them a message. I decided to call and try and answer as many questions as I could in one foul swoop!
Later in the afternoon, we were advised that 'man power' was needed, and Dana returned home with two hefty men from the office, to take the second unit upstairs. He came back to the office and told me that he thought I would like the unit I chose for the guest bathroom, and was fairly confident I would be happy with the one for our bathroom, but cupboards were black, and not espresso, as he had believed they would be. The tailspin started. I didn't care! All I wanted was two working bathrooms, without bowls under the sinks to catch the water that was cascading down the outside of the pipes! I manged to pull myself together, and put the 'meltdown' on hold. I would decide what to do (not that there was any doubt that I would keep the units, no matter the colour) when I returned home.
The units were both beautiful! Although not quite espresso, they were not ebony! The one that had been fitted into my guest bathroom was everything I had imagined, and I was delighted. Jim seemed to be very happy at my ecstatic response, and perhaps slightly relieved when I saw the second one and commented on its elegance.
Saturday morning was a blast! Dana disappeared from the house later than he had wanted, but earlier than usual for a weekend.
Samantha arrived to take me shopping, after taking Frank to the office, and we were about to leave when Cindy called for me to come into the bathroom. Another reason my handy brother-in-law had come to visit, was to fix the plumbing in my guest bathroom. A new bath was fitted many years ago, after we had experienced a leak and the old tub was deemed unfit. A little while, thereafter, the pipes had started to vibrate, quite vigorously, when the hot water was running. However this did not happen when the shower was turned on. I had informed Dana, who made a quick judgment as to the problem, and mumbled something about calling in a plumber. He had then not only forgotten to call the plumber, but had forgotten the entire conversation, and the fact that our bath was not usable. Gradually, the same thing happened when the shower was turned on, and then the water stopped running altogether. When Dana expressed abject horror when he turned on the water a couple of months ago, I realised that he either doesn't listen to me very often, or just does not understand what I say. I would like to opt for the latter, but have a suspicion I am being kind! It is a small price to pay for a man who really does have mostly wonderful qualities!
Saturday morning, I was the 'plumber's mate'. It was rather surreal, as I had not had much to do with any DIY projects on this side of the pond, but Samantha's father was quite the Jack of all trades, and I would often play the part of the 'plumber's mate', or a 'spark's apprentice'. On cue, I went downstairs, out of the condo, and down to the water 'cut off' in front of our unit. Off it went. I came back up the steps, into the house, and waited for the next command. Back out of the house I went, down the stairs, and on it went again. I did this a few times, before Samantha decided to stand at the front door and shout the commands, so that I did not 'over exercise'. We did not leave the house for about another hour, as the problem was trying to be resolved. Eventually, it was! It appeared that the entire unwelcome situation was due to the tap! The handle that was rotated to turn on the water was faulty, or at least the mechanism to which it was attached! We would have to get a new valve. However, this was not the only dilemma. My wonderful plumbers, who installed the bathroom, (both of whom I believe are now deceased,) had welded the pipes in such a way that they would have to all be cut and rejoined. Jim asked me to talk to a plumber at the store, when buying the new valve, to see if the part we needed to connect everything was in the pack we were buying, or if we needed something else. I said I would do my best!
Samantha and I headed out. Cindy sent me a message shortly thereafter to say that she had persuaded Jim to start installing the vanity unit in my bedroom, rather than wait for the part, and so there was no need to hurry back. She was going to take a nap! What a great idea, I thought!
The lady in the DIY store was most condescending. "Why do you need to talk to a plumber?" she queried, when I asked her colleague if the resident expert was in the store. I told them the problem I had and she gave me a solution. "Just solder them back together". She did not add a "like duh" on the end of the sentence, but it was sitting on her lips, ready to be shot in my direction. The plumber arrived just in time! I asked my question, and she once again came back with the solution, but this time added a heavy sigh. I told the plumber that we were dealing with copper pipes, and I knew that different metals contracted and expanded at different temperatures, and we wanted to make sure we had all the parts we needed to reconnect. The silence was deafening. I was not an expert but my ex did teach me some things that would at least make me sound competent in the field, even if I could not put what I knew into practice. I wasn't smug, but I was slightly satisfied!
After our shopping trip, Samantha and I returned, with the parts needed to repair the problem. Another dilemma had occurred. Or several! Probably the most inconsequential, to me, was that the dog had escaped Dana's grasp, run upstairs and body slammed the door of the spare bedroom, and entered. Cindy, who had been rudely awakened from her nap, looked to see who had entered the room, and of course, had not seen anyone. It was then that she heard a noise, and looked down to see Frank expressing his displeasure at someone being in his room, the only way Frank knows how. I shall have to wash and disinfect the corner of the duvet cover post haste! The other dillema was several fold! The parts to hook up the water pipes were the wrong size. Also, the toilet was not filling in, and the unit was higher than the previous one, and the wall mirror was now to long. I didn't care! "Yes" was my answer to all the "Should we..." questions. Dana and Jim went to get some more parts and Cindy and I sat and chatted about anything that did not involve water, remodeling, looking glasses or houses!
Eureka! We had running water in my bathroom! We did not have a working toilet, but that could be fixed in the morning, and I did have a 'spare'. The light fixtures, that prevented the mirror from fitting back in place, may be able to be lifted and we would have everything back to normal, or thereabouts! By seven thirty, Cindy was exhausted and went to bed. Jim did not want to join us for dinner, and so Dana and I left the house to have some quality time!
The light fixtures could not be moved. The mirror would have to be replaced or at least cut to specification. I had suggested a new mirror, but it would have had to be custom made to get the size we wanted. My stress levels were starting to soar, and I was trying desperately to regain control. I just wanted to sleep! However, we had another mission! Cindy and Jim were off to see some friends, (who happen to be the parents of Samantha's very good friend Hannah - it's one of those 'small world'' scenarios) and armed with a shopping list, Dana and I went to the DIY store. We returned with all the parts that were needed and some new light fixtures! Problem solved. We would keep the mirror and change the lights!
It is now mid afternoon, heading quickly to evening. I have a pile of ironing to negotiate and a case to pack before Thursday, when I shall be travelling to New York City, with my daughter, to meet our cousins Lesley and Natalie. My house looks like we have just moved in, with boxes of things scattered around. Pictures that adorned the walls are lined up along baseboards, as they were removed to avoid being knocked when units were being hauled upstairs. Dana has assured me that the disruption will not make any difference to him while I am away, although I shall have to make sure he remembers that we had this conversation!
My stress levels have returned to zero, and although normality has not been resumed, it is well on its way to be doing so! By tomorrow evening, we are all hoping that everything will be working as it should, on the plumbing front, and that the only thing left to do will be purely cosmetic. If you are wondering about the old units....they were rather sturdier than I had imagined. Although completely warped, and rotting, they were surprisingly well made, and it was very difficult to break them apart. Wonders will never cease! I have no doubt that I shall be anxious about leaving a disheveled house on Thursday, but confident that my trip will be an enjoyable adventure. I am now off to watch the commercials which is interrupted by the Superbowl. Hopefully the underdogs will win, and the sports pages can make that ............. another story!