Sunday, December 13, 2009

Maybe I could just tile my whole shower in duct tape and save myself a lot of cash.

Last night was my company's holiday party, or, as I referred to it earlier today, "a total waste of a shower." I kid. (Mostly.) It was fine. But the aforementioned recession pay cuts and uncertainty of everyone's job security meant that our usual schmancy-ish dinner out was scaled back to a pretty uneventful potluck at the owners' condo. I arrived with my layer bars fashionably late, around 7:50, and we were all essentially herded out by 9:15, meaning I spent only slightly more time at the party than I did in my car driving to and from it. On the up side, I was back on my couch in my yoga pants by 10:30, settled in for some knitting and the requisite holiday viewing of Love Actually, which is a fine way to spend a chilly Saturday, if you ask me. If I can't leave my company's holiday party with a hot Brazilian bespectacled coworker, at least I can watch Laura Linney do so. (Although if I were Laura Linney, you can be damn sure I would have chucked my cell phone far from earshot once the hot bespectacled Brazilian took his shirt off. I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants to reach through the screen and do that for her every time I watch that scene.)

In truth, I don't know why I have such a predisposed aversion to forced socialization with my perfectly nice coworkers and their perfectly nice spouses. Idle small talk has never been my forte, I suppose, and lately it feels that conversationally, I've got nothing. My brain and my free time calendar have been extra busy recently, but not with anything that makes for particularly good stories or party talk. No one wants to hear about my continuing struggle to assemble timely hand-made gifts that aren't worthy of a featured spot on Regretsy. No one wants to hear me fret aloud about my only slightly irrational fear that my aging Saturn as well as every one of my appliances are about to give up the ghost at the exact same time, when I have absolutely no extra money squirreled away to replace these items. And I'm pretty sure no one (except possibly our company's accountant and human resources coordinator, who recently built a house and is still eyeball-deep in such decisions himself) wants to hear me go on about whether I should install a decorative chair rail or an ordinary bullnose as the top row of the new bathroom tile I'm about to have installed and whether the new granite countertop I've ordered for my vanity should have a matching backsplash or not.

This is riveting stuff, I realize, but unfortunately, it is what's consuming the bulk of the idle space in my brain these days. I am not at all looking forward to the week or more period when my home's only bathroom will be torn apart like a war zone, but I am so VERY much looking forward to finally having a bathroom that I'm not embarrassed to have guests use that I can barely contain my excitement about new tile and granite and the like. (This just in: I am old and boring. Is this what middle age feels like?)

Thanksgiving weekend marked the official onset of my long-postponed bathroom remodeling project, otherwise known as "Operation: No More Duct Tape in the Shower." You remember that, don't you? No? To sum up, my shower was, it seems, never meant to be a shower. By which I mean, it was never meant to get wet. Because if it were meant to get wet, the previous owners wouldn't have tiled it with adhesive METAL tiles, given metal's tendency to crack and rust when exposed to prolonged moisture. (You know--like the kind prone to occur in a SHOWER.) They also painted those tiles, which was another awesome and excellent idea, given paint's habit of chipping and peeling off of non-porous surfaces, again, where water is involved.

Those cracked, rusting tiles have been trying their damndest to fall off my walls for the past several years, and when the crack sealer I've continually gunked up in the faux grout lines wouldn't hold them any more, I decided duct tape would temporarily have to do. Which means that my shower has, for the past year and a half, looked something like this. Awesome.

Recession-era paycut or no, it is beyond time to finally remedy this eyesore, so the week after Christmas, one of my handiest and most useful friends will be helping me retile and remodel this monstrosity. Because sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better, however, my shower now currently looks like this:

Or rather, it looks like this... (The goal of the head start on demolition was to find out just what was behind those rusty metal plates and determine how much structural damage would have to be undone before work could proceed. As it turns out, there's not as much water damage beneath the tile as I feared, but leaving it all uncovered would obviously change that right quick.)

This means, of course, that once again, my attempts to eliminate the duct tape from my shower have instead resulted in MORE duct tape (temporarily, thankfully).

What's more unsettling than the duct tape, though, are the exposed wall beams. I may not have the basic structure of my house entirely squared away in my head, but I'm pretty sure that if you follow those wall beams down a few feet, you arrive in my somewhat unfinished basement laundry room. The laundry room, you may recall, is where the largest bug I have ever seen in real life lives, and though I haven't seen Gregor lately, I am convinced that now that the wall beams that go straight into the basement are exposed, I will see him waving his 100 or so legs at me in greeting one morning when I'm least expecting it. Or worse, I will finally see my first [starts with "m" and rhymes with "blouse"] in my home not in my basement or under my stove but peering out at me through that thin layer of plastic when I am wet and naked and ill equipped for rational thought. Because that is what [starts with "m" and rhymes with "twice"] do, obviously. They climb interior wall beams like Spider-Man and seek out areas to drown themselves and terrify me.

This is how my brain works, and this is what I've been obsessed with recently. Ailing appliances, temperamental car parts, bathroom tile, and rodents. Aren't you sorry I don't post more often? I thought so.


3carnations said...

I would love to have our tub redone. It's also mildly embarrassing, though I choose to believe none of our friends look behind the shower curtain.

shelleycoughlin said...

I am just jealous that you have a tub. My stand-alone shower seems awfully cramped in the early mornings.

Still, I like to know that you're alive and well by posting, even if it doesn't involve hot Brazilian co-workers.

Jess said...

OMG I can't think about Gregor. Too horrible. I hope that he is far, far away, never to be seen again.

lizgwiz said...

I have those metal tiles, as well. And yes, they're beginning to rust and flake. Of course, it's my landlord's responsibility to replace them, ultimately, but damn! I do not want workers in my house. Argh.

I can't watch "Love, Actually" repeatedly. Laura Linney's storyline is too depressing. I appreciate caring for family members, but to the extent that you have zero life of your own? Balance, Laura Linney, balance. ;)

courtney said...

You are SO not alone with the wanting to kick Laura Linney for abandoning the hot Brazilian dude. Like, your brother will still be sick in a little while, lady. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE HOT NAKED MAN IN YOUR FLAT.

Ahem. New bathroom, wooo! Your new granite countertop sounds very fancy. I can't wait to see the finished product!

badger reader said...

Having never seen Love, Actually, I will have to stick to bathroom commentary. YAY for new tile! My parents old bathroom used to have tile on only 2 walls and there was plain drywall on the opposing wall. The hell?
I do not need new tile, but when hosting parties I always put a cup for donations in the shower with a note to make nosy people feel guilty.

-R- said...

I am sure the new shower and countertop will be worth all the hassle.

I don't think anyone enjoys office parties. Even if your coworkers are awesome, it's still an event with your bosses and coworkers. Yuck.

Shelly said...

Gregor is long gone, having moved to tropical climes months ago. And no other uninvited species have moved in. This is what you must tell yourself.

Good luck on the bathroom remodel! I'm sure that it will look lovely when you have finished.

Stefanie said...

3Cs--Believe that all you want, but the $22 I made when I put a donation bucket in my shower during a party a while back proves otherwise.

NPW--Especially if you are in there with a hot Brazilian coworker? (Unlikely, right? Sorry.)

Jess--I hope so too. And I do apologize for bringing him up again.

Liz--I know; that story line drives me crazy every time. Also, I am easily annoyed by Keira Knightly, so I don't so much love her story line either. Wait. Why do I love that damn movie so much again?

Courtney--Since I am saving about eight thousand dollars on the labor, I can justify going a little bit fancy. :-) Well, that and I found a granite guy whose prices on the real stuff are lower than even Home Depot's cheapest custom countertops. Score.

Badger Reader--You have NEVER seen "Love Actually"?? OK, you must remedy that immediately, my friend. And I totally did the donation bucket in the shower once, too. (Do you remember that?) I'm wondering what I should put in there for my first party post-remodel. Hmmm...

R--Agreed. So then why do we all still have those? The illusion of camaraderie and morale, I suppose. It's a nice gesture, right?

Shelly--That's what I keep telling myself, too. There are NO CRITTERS IN MY HOUSE. None.

badger reader said...

hah, yes I remember your donation bucket story - where do you think I got the idea? :) Your reasoning was just a little more respectable since you NEED a new shower. Mine was just to see how many nosy people looked.

Shana said...

Are you kidding? This type of post is essential, too. It's nice to know that it's not just me (dealing with de-ghetto-ing parts of my house and hoping my car, fridge, and oven hang on).

And your version is more entertaining than mine. Schmancy new counter! And movie recommendations!

flurrious said...

Metal tile sounds like a very bad idea, although one of my bathrooms has this weird cheap stuff that's basically plastic laminate on top of heavy cardboard and is reason #137 on my list of why I hate home repair contractors.

A lot of my appliances are making unusually loud and not-at-all healthy sounding noises too. 'Tis the season, I guess.

Aaron said...

You know, kid*, maybe you're on to something. Just tile the whole damn shower with duct tape. You can make a wallet out of it, for Jeeb's sake.

You are missed when you do not post, so regale away with whatever minutiae you see fit to share. All is appreciated.

* - I've been watching a wee too much Mary Tyler Moore lately and I've taken to calling people "kid" in a Rhoda voice. Read it that way and not the condescending way. Also, you live in MN, so you're kinda like MTM, right?

Allie said...

Ha! That has been such a HUGE part of my blogging slump - those decisions and plans occupy a lot of headspace and don't necessarily supply much in the way of conversation.

We had THE SAME tile issue, minus the metal - our tile didn't go up high enough, and the grout was cracking. I was expecting a lot of water damage too, but there wasn't any to speak of. Fun times. :)

Good luck!!!!

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