For the first time in almost exactly 25 years: bathroom demolition, times two. With financial assistance from my father-in-law, along with use of our home equity line, we have committed to and contracted for, a complete renovation of our two full bathrooms ('full' meaning: tub/shower, commode, sink, vanity, mirror, shelves, lights/fixtures, counter top, floor and shower tile, and paint). Ergo, over the next eight to 12 weeks, our house will officially become a construction site.
Never having experienced this level of upheaval and chaos in any of our previous homes before, we are looking forward since we have no reference looking backward. We know one thing for sure: our five indoor cats will be miserable and scared and likely hiding for days on end. Considering that the workers will be in our home from 7:30 am to 5 pm, I don't know when the cats are going to feel like eating since their routine will have been completely thrown off having so many new people in the house for so many hours per day. (I don't even want to think about the litter box implications.)
Nevertheless, time marches forward, and given that our home is historic/over 250 years-old, its bathrooms, though not exactly pre-Colonial, definitely are showing their age. Their design, form, function, efficiency and attractiveness barely blip the radar. Both bathrooms are old, and that's the only compliment I can give them.
I imagine the next two to three months will likely be a journey of discovery; Columbus-like in that we will be discovering a new world with modern bathroom amenities and conveniences, color coordination and functionality, many of which we've not been the beneficiaries of in over 25 years. Our kitchen remains as it has been all those years ago: large but clearly deficient in many ways compared to modern kitchens. As a matter of fact, as the designer, project manager and I walked into the kitchen looking for the access panel to the adjacent bathroom, I said, "As you can see, our kitchen need work, too. Any chance you all offer a 'BOGO? Buy one, get one free?" Of course, they both laughed and shook their head. They didn't have to say "No." It was more a rhetorical question anyway.
Considering the time we've all had together, we have no doubt the contractor and his workers know what they're doing. We're not sure however, as homeowners that we know what we're doing. From our first meeting, a few months back, the process has seemed clear enough as do the drawings/design ideas we've now seen/decided upon do. Still, when it goes from their paper to our property, how will it all transfer? They seem confident and complimentary which certainly has been reassuring but we're novices in this transformation. For us each step forward is yet another step into the great unknown. And since we can only take it one step at a time, we have no choice but to live and learn and hopefully not regret and decisions we've already made (although changes can still be made).
So far, and it's not very far, so good. However, it's the process of starting and ultimately finishing that worries me. Not that I run on a schedule (heck, I can barely walk), but my wife, Dina, sort of does; and it seems as if she and the workers might be occupying the same space at the same time. I suppose the timing and all eventually works itself out but it's the interim with which I'm concerned. I realize there are no guarantees in any of this. I guess I just have to deal with it as I do with my having cancer: take the bad with the good, keep a sense of humor and try to remain positive. Doing so has kept me alive for eight years and four months. I'd like to think I can manage for another eight to 12 weeks.
Mr. Lourie’s columns can be found at www.kennywithcancer.com
"This column is my life as one of the fortunate few; a lung cancer anomaly: a stage IV lung cancer patient who has outlived his doctor’s original prognosis; and I’m glad to share it. It seems to help me cope writing about it. Perhaps it will help you relate reading about it."