Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Home Improvement Is Not For Sissies

After finally getting the holidays into boxes in the garage, I was feeling bored and peevish. The weather has turned foul; we are paying now for our pleasant and mostly dry December. There was the flash snow-dump, then three days of rain which effectively erased it; with the side-effect that much of the mid-Willamette Valley was underwater for a few days. Luckily, we (so far) inhabit a relatively flood-free zone. But my little outdoor spaces were sodden and uninviting. I was trapped indoors.

I'm sure that, had I given it some thought, I could have come up with a list of perfectly good projects around the house on which I could have embarked. Handicapped by my lingering allergy to lists, I was reduced to wandering from room to room, straightening a picture here, rearranging some pottery there. Then my sister's birthday came up, and a perfect opportunity to escape my confinement presented itself.

I had promised her on her anniversary last July that, being a free woman now, I would make the trip down to her place, spend a few days and help her on some home-improvement projects she has had pending for...oh, about five years or so. The main one being her second bathroom, which over the past decade has deteriorated to the point where, at one time, she had no sink, no (functional) toilet, no paint on the walls, no towel bars or toilet paper holder (which I guess you don't need if you have no sink or toilet...) They had managed to get the toilet functional again, but that was as far as it went.

My sister, in her peculiar way, long ago designed the re-do (in her head) and amassed most of the materials. Boxes of ceramic tiles, a new vanity, a light fixture, towel bars, even a granite sink are cached away in nooks and crannies all over her property. Year upon year, the pile of materials has grown and nothing, NOTHING else has happened. I can't pretend to know the reasoning behind this. Sister and her husband have been retired for three years, so it's not as if they don't have the TIME to address the thing. Twenty years ago, they performed a major remodel on their house, building an entire family room on to the back and updating their kitchen from seventies earth-tone dark to nineties light oak and tile. One would think that with such a massive project under their belts, a simple bathroom redo would be a no-brainer. The actual fact is, apparently the job so frustrated and overwhelmed my brother-in-law that he becomes nigh unto apoplectic at the thought of taking on another, no matter how small.

So my sister decided that the only way any of this is going to get done is if she does it herself. Or, rather, with help from someone other than her husband. So that is where I come in.

And this is why I find myself in the midst of a tempest. In a teacup, perhaps, but a tempest just the same.

As we have to leave for the Home Center to purchase more materials in a few minutes, I will pause here. More later, if I'm still alive to tell it...


  1. My sis and I re did the bathroom in Versailles before Joe and i moved to Ft. Wayne. joe is dangerous with a hammer! Good luck.

  2. Wow, what a great sister you are. Wish you were one of mine. I don't think I'd undertake such a project for one of my own, either. I'd be afraid they' just get mad at how I did it - they don't really like being helped.