Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Taking the Plunge" (so to speak) Part 1

Well, the time is upon us again...every year like clockwork we can count on something in our 35-ish-year-old house needing "attention" (which of course is just one big euphemism in Homeowner Speak for "requiring time, effort, and a big pile of money to repair or replace". Someone neglected to tell us this pertinent fact while we were signing the stacks of papers necessary to buy the house. Or maybe it's buried somewhere in all the fine print and legal speak on page 127 or something...must've missed that...)

Anyway, this year the big Home Improvement Winner is: the Master Bathroom. Mind you, Master Bathroom is a somewhat lofty title for a room that is approximately 5 feet square, and routinely used by one person (that would be: me!).  So I figured this "project" would be fairly small, easy and inexpensive. Yes, you may feel free to start chuckling now at my naivete (or shall we call it "Blissful Ignorance"? whatever, it's been dashed to bits by now...) It all kicked off when I noticed cracking around the base of the shower. I promptly ignored this...for a couple of years, actually (there was no actual water leak that we could see, so it must be fine, right? Denial also works well for me on occasion). Then small pieces of drywall started chipping off, and suddenly I envisioned a cascade of water flooding my bathroom--and I called a professional immediately.

Obviously, the shower is the major component in this tiny Water Closet (the British term applies nicely in this case, as there is indeed water, but barely enough space to turn around in there), but--and here comes the big sucking sound of me being drawn into a diabolical "Renovation Plan"--once you tear out and rebuild the shower, you might as well re-tile the floor (changing the 1-inch square tiles that just scream "70s"!), and choose a new vanity (updating the peeling wood/stained plastic version in there now), and switch the toilet (for a modern, water-saving, dual-flush variety).

See how easy that was? Um, yeah...sounds great...looks awesome on paper. But then I went to Home Depot (whose motto should really be: "You can do it...just hand over all your money, and we can help!") and, just to start somewhere, contemplated toilets (size--yes, there are choices! color? shape of opening? handle type? amount of water consumption?). Mentally already beginning to reel a bit, I moved on from there to vanities (doors? drawers? wood color? dimensions that will actually fit into my diminutive space?). Holding tightly onto my last remaining sparks of brainpower, I hastily sought out fixtures (faucet finish--chrome? brushed nickel? brass? does the sink have one opening or three? do I want a big, swooping silhouette, or a more modest look? shower head: spray options? compact or large round shape?) And then, dazed and staggering like I'd gone 10 rounds with one of the orange-aproned helpers, I escaped the mayhem, clutching my fistful of notes and fleeing before I started doing something crazy...like buying things.

So to sum up: in less than an hour, I spent a cool imaginary $500 (not counting the multiple-thousands of dollars for the Contractor's quote--which is enough to give a Penny-Pincher like me an imaginary heart-attack). And I hadn't even been to the Tile Store yet (more on that later). This tiny virtual-bathroom is already turning out to be more costly and complicated than I thought! I'd better go regroup for Round 2...

No comments: