A Remodeling Update: My Kingdom For Some Tile

Decorative tile, laying on the floor, that’ll be the accent in the shower and by the sinks.

Well, kids, not everything runs smoothly during a remodel.  You see, there’s been a kerfuffle here about the wall tile that goes in the shower stall.  Not the little decorative stuff*, but the large tiles that cover the walls.

The problem, quite simply, has been that the tile company sent the correct decorative and floor tiles over to the house– but filled our wall tile order incorrectly.  They sent packages of tile with the same name + code number, but these packages of tile weren’t from the same “dye lots” so they weren’t the exact same color.

Which they are supposed to be.

Example of the tile in question.

Thus began what turned out to be 3 weeks of discussions among unhappy me, lawyerly Zen-Den, our patient project manager, the perturbed remodeling company design staff, the conscientious tile installer– and the confused [sneaky?] tile company.

Much was said, politely— but with a great deal of emphasis on MAKE THIS RIGHT.

No pithy conclusion to this post.  I’m just happy to report that the correct wall tile finally arrived on Tuesday and that each package has the same batch number.

Even more exciting than getting the tile is knowing that the tile guy is now in the process of installing the tile on the walls in the shower– and that the walls coordinate beautifully with the shower floor.

As planned.

Tile on the floor of the shower stall, installed and looking lovely.

* I wrote this post yesterday mid-afternoon. As the tile guy left late yesterday afternoon he told me that the tile company had shorted us on the decorative tile that is to go on the wall behind the sinks.  This is not as big of a problem as the wall tile kerfuffle, but it’s a problem that will have to be solved nonetheless.  *le sigh*

A Remodeling Update: In Which Ms. Bean “Helps” & Other Important Things

It will come as no surprise to you, but it’s a mess around here.

Dining room with stuff from other rooms in it.

 Nothing is where it’s supposed to be.  Rooms that aren’t being remodeled have been turned into storage spaces for the stuff from rooms that are being remodeled.

Then with no clothes dryer, we’re using portable wooden racks, wedged into bedroom corners, to dry our clothes and towels and unmentionables… that are getting covered in a layer of dust before they dry, courtesy of the construction all over the house.

 Because the family room and the master suite are under construction, Zen-Den and I are living on the other side of the upstairs, each having taken up camp in a different guest bedroom.  At night we shout “good night” to each other like we’re the fricking Waltons: “Good night, Sue Mary Ellen… Good night, John-Boy.” 

Old microwave sitting on counter underneath spot where it fit, but new ones won’t.

 I officially hate microwaves.  Did you know that the manufacturers change the sizes of microwaves fairly often?  This means that the one we had built into the kitchen cabinets 9 years ago is now a size that is no longer available.

So we have to redesign the cabinets to accommodate the newer deeper microwaves.  I cannot *mutter* enough about this development.

 When the water is off for a few hours you immediately understand there’s one flush left in the toilet, right?  BUT what you might not remember is that there’ll be no water to wash your hands– and that you’ll need to have some hand wipes around.  IF you don’t have them around, then you’ll end up eating your lunch using a paper towel as you hold your sammie– then perhaps accidentally ingest some paper towel. 😖

Tools and such that are now on the floor hither and yon around the house.

 And finally, how is that I helped?  Well, as if there’s not enough destruction around here, I added to it when I went to close the bathroom door and the handle fell off into my hand.

Just. Like. That. I’m stuck outside the bathroom, holding the formerly useful handle in my hand, looking forlornly at the screws now at my feet.  Screws that happen to be about the same color as the carpeting, allowing them to blend perfectly with the carpet fibers, causing Ms. Bean to become FRAZZLED.

And on that cheery note, I’ll wish y’all a happy weekend.  Catch up with you later, kids. 

Share Your World | Pretty & Potted

Calibrachoa, mint + citronella mosquito plant in pots looking summer-y up on the deck.

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Once a week Cee asks the questions on her blog.  Then, when I get it together like this week, I answer the questions here on my blog.

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• What do you do when you’re not working? If you are retired, what do you that is not part of your regular daytime routine?

I like to go to local festivals to see the people and enjoy the atmosphere.  I like to go to parks to see the people and look at nature.  I like to go to speciality grocery stores to see the people and buy the tasty goodies.

What would you do if you won the lottery?

Probably not much of anything different from what I do now.

Maybe buy a new car [mine’s 14 years old]? Maybe go on vacation for longer than a week?  Maybe give it all to the humane society, on the proviso that they never name a building or fund after me.  That would be tacky.

What makes you laugh the most?

TV situation comedies that point out human foibles make me laugh the most.  Currently I like The Big Bang Theory + Grace and FrankieThe Good Place.  I like reruns of Will and Grace + Friends + Parks and Recreation.

What is your biggest pet peeve with modern technology?

< begin rant >

The conceit that modern technology is making my life easier. It is not.

To wit, it’s making communication more immediate, but that’s not necessarily easier.  It’s making cars and microwaves swankier, but that’s not necessarily easier.  It’s making airport check-in and banking more self-directed, but that’s not necessarily easier.

Why?  Because there are more steps + options now when it comes to doing anything. Everything. All the time.

Meaning that, in my opinion, modern technology adds an unasked for layer of complexity to my life that I then have to muddle through to get anything accomplished.

And it wears me out.

< end rant >

 Optional Bonus Question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? 

Last week’s gratitude award goes to an early start to our home remodeling projects.  We weren’t schedule to begin until late June/early July, but our projects got moved forward.  Sure, it’s chaos around here, but I feel better, less anxious, now that we’re in process rather than waiting around for things to start.

This week’s looking forward to something goes to… well, honestly, I’m not looking forward to any one thing.  No big weekend plans.  No small weekend plans.  I’m just kind of living in the moment right now… for the moment!  😉

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This post is part of Cee’s Share Your World Weekly Writing Challenge.

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Let The Remodeling Wild Ride Begin, Part 2 Of 2

[Continuing from Part 1 yesterday.]

AS FRIENDS AND FAMILY already know, Zen-Den and I have been dithering around for years about:

What to do about our master bathroom?

It’s never been a good use of space, and I’ve never felt safe in it because the builder grade floor tiles get slippery when the room is humid, which is often because the builder grade exhaust system is pathetic.

Considering we like where we live in this large subdivision, one that caters to people of all ages– some neighbors retiring here to build their dream houses, other neighbors buying their starter house here, and everyone else in-between.

Like us.

And considering we like living in this small town that’s known for outdoor activities and casual dining, we’ve decided to stay where we are, remodeling what displeases us about this house, making it retirement-ready.

For later.

So, we talked with three remodeling companies about doing work around here, and decided to go with the company that remodeled our kitchen years ago.  Their workmanship and our style seem to be in sync.

• + • + •

Thus here’s what’s going on around Chez Bean this summer:

  • we’re having our master bathroom partially gutted, reconfigured, and modernized so that it’s safe [& pretty] for us as we age;  and
  • we’re having our laundry room reconfigured so that we’ll have a newer-style [larger] washer and dryer + usable storage space;  and
  • we’re redoing our family room fireplace tile and mantel + having the walls painted a neutral, timeless color;  plus while they’re here
  • we’re having our kitchen tweaked just a little bit to tidy up a few things.

And now, for a few “before” photos…

Small cabinet with sink over in corner where only Zen-Den could manage to use it.

• + •

Jetted garden tub that I hate, used as linen closet because there is no linen closet in this bathroom.

• + •

Larger cabinet with sink, and almost no storage, in another corner of bathroom. Technically not the builder’s fault that I’m messy by nature, but I think I’ll blame him anyhow for not giving me enough drawers.

• + •

Boring shower with absolutely no character that lacks an exhaust fan above it.

• + •

Small laundry room that doesn’t accommodate the larger side-by-side appliances that are now available.  Also dryer does not work, because it’s a poopy head.

• + •

Family room in which we pulled down the mantel last summer, then painted test colors on the wall intending to redo this mess ourselves. Obviously, we never did.

• + • + •

Talking Daylilies Here: No More Happy Returns

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Good-bye cervine freeloaders.  Hasta la vista deer buffet.

Yep, after 17 years of growing and tending a patch of Happy Returns Daylilies out front of our house under the lamppost, I had the landscaper remove them all and re-design the area.

The irony is, and there seems to be irony with anything I do, that when we built this house I was adamant about wanting Happy Returns Daylilies, which are a lovely shade of lemon-y yellow.  I paid extra to not have Stella D’Oro Daylilies, which are more golden-yellow, and common around here.

They’re in all the gardens in this subdivision.

Nope, planning ahead, as is my way, I wanted lemon-y yellow colored daylilies because they would look better with our particular brick–and because doing things, just a little differently than everyone else, comes naturally to me.

However, turns out that Happy Returns Daylilies are a favorite nosh of ye olde deer.  Also turns out that these pretty plants need lots of almost daily maintenance during the summer to keep them looking fresh and lovely.

So, with just a tinge of regret, but not much, I decided to embrace Admiral Grace Hopper’s famous quote and let go of my favorite Happy Returns Daylilies [and a patch of Russian Sage + Bergamot– and a few lost Daisies] to make space for a simpler, more modern, design out front of our house under the lamppost.

One that looks infinitely better than that which I thought that I knew that I wanted… years ago… before I became a wiser, and lazier, gardener.

~ ~ • ~ ~

Here’s the new look: Boxwood [hedge], Fineline Buckthorn [small ornamental tree], Barberry [small bushes] + Liriope [used as ornamental grass].

When One Doth Use The Snot Out Of Something

I love when the absurd intersects with the ridiculous, and everything suddenly makes sense. 

 { Classic TV: Catch the toast. Kiss the grapefruit. }

~ ~ ~ ~

I.  Years ago Zen-Den and I were walking around a discount mall complex.  It was crowded, we were walking slowly, and we chanced to overhear part of a serious conversation between two people who we didn’t know.

What we heard was: “We used the snot out of those oven mitts.”

We started laughing because neither one of us could imagine a scenario where you’d say this sentence with such earnestness.  Of course Z-D and I, being who we are, immediately adopted this sentence as our favorite inside joke that means absolutely nothing, but it’s darned funny to say.

Don’t judge.

~ ~ ~ ~

II.  I’ve been cooking and baking more this winter than usual. We didn’t decorate the house for the holidays, but instead I decided to be festive and make some foods that we especially like: stews, soups, casseroles, breads, biscuits.

Even though the holidays are over now, I’ve just kept on cooking.

All was going well in my happy little cooking world until our last oven mitt ripped in two.  This left me with one square potholder and a dish towel to use when getting food out of the oven, and off the top of the stove.

I adapt. No big deal, right?

~ ~ ~ ~

III.  It didn’t concern me to not have any oven mitts because I was making do with what I had.  It was only when Zen-Den walked into the kitchen and asked me what I was doing that I began to realize that this conversation was going to go somewhere funny.

I got the giggles but was able to explain the situation to him, and for the first time ever I was able to say in all truthfulness: “We used the snot out of those oven mitts, didn’t we?”

Thereby using our favorite absurd overheard sentence in a non-ironic way to describe the present ridiculous situation– and to finally understand why anyone would say that sentence to begin with.

Life is good.

Aging Gracefully: A Query, A Quandary, A Questionable Answer

“Explain the phenomenon of aging gracefully.”

  • You just never know, do you?

Looking at recent search queries that brought readers to this blog, the one written above caught my eye.  It amazed me.

Usually people find The Spectacled Bean when they’re looking for answers to garden problems [deer eating pansies], self-awareness [Quaker questions], or vanity [V-beam procedure].

I know it’s odd, but it’s true;  those are the three most popular posts on this blog.  Not exactly what I’d consider to be my focus or my best-written stuff, but Google’s algorithm does what Google’s algorithm does.

All Hail Google!

  • My first thought upon seeing this query was to feel a little insulted.  

Aging? Moi?! Pish posh, I say!

But then I remembered that one of my blog tags is Aging Gracefully so I had to lighten up on being insulted, and I shifted my thinking to “isn’t this wonderful?”

I was being asked to impart the wisdom of my many years so that others could learn from my depth of experience, keen observations about human nature, and buoyant spirit. 

So I sat down at my computer ready to compose a post in which I’d answer that query in such a way as to goose Google’s algorithm.  I’d write something so profound and pithy that anyone who asked a similar query, for years to come, would be directed here.

The dream, so close.

  • But here’s the thing, and it’s significant, I have no real answer to this query.

I mean, I dunno.  Maybe the answer is to never stop exercising?  Or maybe it’s to commit to being a lifelong learner?  Or to attempt to let go of any person, idea, or thing that no longer serves you?

None of these? Some of these? All of these?

Or maybe, just maybe, the real essence of the phenomenon of aging gracefully can be summarized in one crotchety remark: “DON’T BOTHER YOUR ELDERS WITH SILLY QUESTIONS!”

You got that, you nosy little whippersnapper?