Betty Duffy

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Might have been better left to the pros

It began as an innocuous little belch under the paint in the bathroom. If someone were to sit on the john (not that I ever do), they would obtain a nagging glimpse of this growing lump every time they did their business, and one day, they might be tempted to push on it, just to see what it did. And if they pushed on it, the paint covering the lump would crack, and a poof of moldy drywall spores would escape from it, like one of those puffball mushrooms that grow in the middle of the soccer fields.

And then there would be an even greater imperfection in the wall where one looks every time they go to the bathroom. And one might suggest to her husband moving that little wall repair up on his priority list, and if he were to blow off the suggestion, one might start picking away at the drywall herself. She might enjoy pulling out deteriorated drywall and moldy insulation so well that she retrieves a hammer from the workshop and starts pounding it out.

Then she will realize that this is a much bigger project than she thought, because the water that caused such damage got into the floor as well, and so she will pull up a few floor tiles just to see what’s going on there, and before she knows it, her husband has found room in his schedule for a bathroom renovation.

Tiles will come shattering off the wall. Fixtures will be removed. The family will find alternative means of bathing for several days (weeks), not excluding lining the children up in the yard and power washing them with the hose.

At first it will be fun to take a bath in the laundry room sink. She will remember a camping trip on a primitive campsite, when two days in, she warmed a saucepan of water on the open fire, waited until the other campers were on a hike, and gave herself a sponge bath using only a quart of water. She will feel efficient and ecologically responsible.

Then she will slowly ease out of the bathing routine altogether. She will go to Church without showering for the first time in her life. She might employ Grandma’s old tricks of putting talcum powder in her hair, because not having a shower is a first world problem. It makes her feel important just to know that.

The kids will pee outside and love it. They’ve secretly been doing this for years, of course, and now they have their parents’ blessing. It won’t be long before one of them tries digging a hole in the yard to make their own toilet. And one day their mother will round the corner of one of the out buildings and come across a scene like this:

It's a bit more native than she would like.

So, she and her husband will stay up until three in the morning putting up new tile on the shower surround. Money will bleed from the savings account. That second bathroom addition they’ve been talking about for years will just have to wait, and maybe, while the grout cures, she will also take the kids to her mother's for awhile.


eaucoin said...

I love the way you craft a mental picture with words (if you were this good with plaster and tiles, you wouldn't have had to go so long without a shower). This post flowed so neatly from your last one. You really hit the nail on the head about the popular culture drawing us into a sense of entitlement in the name of optimum mental health. When you were telling us about falling short of gratitude, God was probably smiling thinking about how shortly you would be grateful for running water.

Young Mom said...


Emily J. said...

So is it done?!?

Peter and Nancy said...

I don't often laugh so loudly at a blog post that my husband actually wants to know what I'm reading about! The picture of Gollum was the icing on the cake.

I am also cringing as I remember a similar bubble on our bathroom ceiling last winter, caused by water leaking in via an ice dam on our roof . . . we still have an unfinished, chipped-off patch on our ceiling because of that!


Melanie B said...

I can't think of anything clever to say about your bathroom remodel story; but I just had to tell you how much I love the new banner photo. Classic.

Anonymous said...

This read like a funnier version of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

karyn said...

I didn't see Gollum until I scrolled down so the suspense worked well for me. Too funny! Good luck with your bathroom project. I'm constantly moving things up and down in priority on my Honey Do list. You would think I would be more patient since we're on our third fixer-upper but I'm not.

TS said...

There's a similar imperfection in our bathroom wall and the two sides of me perpetually war over it - the neat freak side and the lazy mon side. Lazy mon is undefeated and untied so far. I could end the war as you did but that seems pretty Pyrrhic.

Hope said...

Ah, we just redid our bathroom, too. Water leaking around the bottome of the toilet somehow morphed into new floor and new paint and new fixtures. It's the prettiest room in the house now and I found myself wishing the washer and dryer were somewhere's else so I could put an easy chair in there and just soak up the beauty.

Otepoti said...

Here in New Zealand, children are often called "hobbits". We don't ever call them "gollums". I don't know why not - I can see now it's a much more suitable term.

And since the gollums have taken to swallowing their morning plum stones to make the "Tinker Tailor" rhyme come out to their career of choice - "Yay! I'm a sailor!" - I expect an emergency toileting scene just like yours, any moment now.