When we first began to talk about it last year, it seemed like a simple project. I just wanted to replace the old bathtub in the upstairs bathroom.
My husband Bill’s response was fairly typical. “You what?” followed by “Why?”
The “why” was easy to explain. Because that tub had been there since the house was built in the nineteen twenties and looked like it. Because when the kids were small I put the then popular flat plastic flowers on the bottom of the tub so the little ones wouldn’t slip and fall. I don’t know what adhesive they used on those things, but it defied every attempt to eliminate it. In fact some of the flowers were gone, but the adhesive was still there. Also there was the orange stain on one corner that was never explained or removed.
Then there was the surround, which is what they call the three closed walls around the tub that had been replaced several times in an effort to update the bathroom. The last time it had been an off-white which faded to a nice beige. Unfortunately it had a crack in it from the time it was tapped lightly with a small sledge hammer. Sometimes it’s better not even to ask why.
In spite of all this, the bathroom looked fine as long as you didn’t open the shower curtain, and only family or closest friends should do that, and these are people you don’t have to explain anything to.
The first remake that caught my eye was the commercial which showed how all this could be covered in less than one day. There were two catches. First of all the stains and mistakes would still be there under the cover. And second, it would cost several thousand dollars.
It’s true that we bought this house in the sixties, but it still seems ridiculous to me to spend half of the purchase price of the whole house to fix up less than one-third of one small room; so we thought about it for awhile. Then we forgot about it for awhile.
Early this year I brought it up again. We agreed it was still a good idea, so I called a contractor for an estimate. Apparently he was very busy, so it took awhile. Finally Bill thought about it one Friday when he was home alone, so he called three contractors and told them he wanted an estimate for the job as soon as possible, with the project to be finished before mid June.
It was the week when the weather man predicted five straight days of rain. One of the contractors who had worked here before gave Bill an estimate, said he could do it during the rain, and it would take one or two days. Bill agreed.
When Bill told me they would be here Monday to put in the new bathtub I wondered what ever happened to the agreement we made years ago that we’d never make a big financial decision until we thoroughly discussed it. I guess he thought we had discussed it. So I had one whole weekend to clean out all the clutter in the bathroom cupboards, the upstairs hall way and the front porch.
The bathroom cupboards had to be cleaned out because if I didn’t do it now I never would get it done. The upstairs hallway had to be cleared out so they could get the old tub out of the bathroom and down the steps. The porch had to be cleared off so we had someplace to store the new tub, surround and various attachments until they could move them upstairs.
With a little help from two grandsons I managed to get the biggest cupboard emptied. However, in the process I managed to re-clutter the upstairs rooms I de-cluttered last year when they repaired the damage done by the attic fire. I am convinced that the only way to really get rid of all the clutter is to hire a total stranger to come in when I’m gone and throw it all away, far, far away.
Meanwhile the new tub was delivered to the front porch Friday, and true to his word, the contractor was here Monday morning as the rain poured down to begin another project for the house of Floyd.
Another time I’ll tell you how replacing a bathtub turned into a new kitchen ceiling.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate May 31, 2006.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her column Back Around the House II. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.