Thursday, January 12, 2006

Ripping a new one

Many people come to me and they say: "Hey. How can you be such a tiling machine?" It is that I love all the tiles. All shapes and sizes and colors of tiles...from sparkly blue ceramic tiles for backsplashes, to 12" vinyl tiles printed to look like Pennsylvania-quarried slate. Bean loves them all.

We visited my dad over Christmas break, fully intending to fritter away a full week through lounging, loafing and lolly-gagging. Instead, my dad's innocent request to replace the bathroom faucet (and maybe put in a backsplash if you can) turned into a 3.5 day renovation extravaganza:

New Wall
New Floor
New Toilet
New Faucet
New Backsplash

It's not our fault. I feel sure it's Heidi's fault somehow. I mean, she spent a good 3 hours in Lowe's with us, excitedly discussing sinks, tiles, and grout...we couldn't lose face by doing a half-assed job. Plus, we don't know how to do crap work.

My parents had the bathroom remodeled about 25 years ago, but damn, the house that I grew up in is both old and weird. Instead of regular wall construction, the wall studs are covered in mini half-logs underneath the two layers of pressboard in the bathroom. Lift up its skirts and it's like a Frontier House, with my dad in the role of the hoary woodsman...shaking his rifle menacingly at interlopers and wrasslin' bears for entertainment. The house is also partially constructed out of old ammunition boxes from WWI - if you lift up the carpet and linoleum on my bedroom floor, it says: "Caution: Explosives."

In an old bathroom (even for a small re-do like this one)every time you mess with the plumbing something leaks. By the fifth time(which was the sink drain being both clogged and leaking horribly), I had lost it. Alexis was trying to explain to me which way to turn the compression nut, and I burst into tears. Honestly, it's that I don't know right from left, so I couldn't figure out which way to crank the wrench. I was frustrated, okay?

Alexis always knows which way to crank.

Don't be fooled as we were. The conversation in Lowe's went something like this (getting louder and louder until a cashier intervened):
A: Is this greenboard?
Me: It's purple.
A: I know it's purple, but is it for bathrooms?
Me: It says it's moisture resistant, but it's not greenboard.
A: Maybe they changed the color.
Me: Why would they change the color? Is green a terrorist color? I thought purple was gay...are we now less afraid of gays than terrorists? Maybe 'It's okay to be gay' for bathroom and kitchen applications only.
A: I don't know. Where's the greenboard?
Me: Maybe this is the drywall formerly known as greenboard. Maybe it's now known only by a symbol?
Cashier: (Yelling from off stage) IT'S GREENBOARD!
Us: Oh.

The new floor...weighted down at the corners with baked beans and seltzer. How come rooms always look better to me when they're stripped?

Surveying the throne room - note three types of tiles and one brandy-new toilet! By the way - Alexis timed takes me between 15-20 minutes to put in a toilet, but only if I don't have to go on a wrench-hunt.