Things have been very exciting around the Waterstraat household. Excitement in the form of a new tile floor in my bathroom. Notice I said my bathroom. This would be different than our bathroom. My bathroom is just that – mine, no men allowed. Chris has his bathroom, the boys room, down the hall.
The extra walk will not kill him.
Unfortunately, my bathroom was built by a man. How do I know this? Because it is (was) carpeted. With white carpet. Women everywhere are cringing as they think about the thousand drops of make up, lotion, sparkly eye shadow powder stuff and dog pee (the stage where they mark things + white carpet = not a good outcome) that rest in a grave between carpet strands and body hair.
Oh quit your scowling. All humans shed body hair just like all humans poop.
It was about 5 weeks ago when Chris came home from work, dropped his pants (routine) and started ripping out carpet (not part of the routine). I heard the rip, tear, snap of the carpet being tugged up from the floor to reveal the most exciting treasures below:
Padding and sand.
We still cannot explain the sand. But it’s nice to know I’ve been living close to the beach for the past 5 years.
Like a little boy, he tore it out until nothing was left. And that is how it stayed. For about a week until I think he realized that something had to go on top of it. Like tile. In the meantime, I got used to walking around on plywood and discovering just how much hair I lose on a daily basis. The carpet does a good job of hiding it. The plywood did not.
I have no idea how I am not bald.
I believe we purchased three different types of tile before we found the one we liked. And then Chris set about to glue the tiles on to the floor. Rulers, grids, levels – these are unnecessary layers of precision. I’m more of an eyeball it kind of home repairer. This is why I am not allowed to do home repairs.
Meanwhile, the neighbors figured out that something of large scale installment was going on in our house. It might have been the tile cutter that was buzzing like an overactive bee every night in the garage. I remember when Doc, the crazy neighbor guy responsible for what I like to call “Christmas Pollution” hanging from the tree in front of his house, was outside one evening when he said to me that I should probably kiss my husband for laying tile.
And to think I was thinking he should probably kiss me for one day pushing his hopefully less than 9 pound child out of my you know what but wait you are right, the tile project totally trumps that.
I guess in the world of man, laying tile is pretty high up on things you can to do gain street cred with other men. Forget just painting your house. My husband speaks the language of grout. Dark grey. In my world, though, laying tile was becoming a big mess. My clothes were spread throughout two rooms, there were tiles I could step on and tiles I couldn’t step on (you try remember that in the middle of the night) and there was the fact that every time I wanted to be in my bathroom there was a man in there. Yes, it was my husband and yes, I could have used his bathroom but it is best not to set foot in the man bathroom without: scrub brush and gloves.
Four weeks later, the project is nearly done. Done to the point that I may put my clothes back into the closet and finally clean the bathroom.
As a warning: you should never let your bathroom go used but uncleaned for four weeks.
Chris just informed me that tonight the project will be totally done. Including the garage.
I forgot about the garage.
We have three cars. Before you think we live in the lap of luxury let me describe these said cars: the ghetto Honda which on a hot day of the seats baking in the sun smells like a combination of armpit and coffee. Too many sweaty workouts that ended in the car and too much coffee. The shake machine is a little sports car that cannot be driven when it’s less than 40 degrees outside. That pretty much cancels out 7 months of the year around here. And then there is the mini van which is on its way to becoming our second ghetto Honda because it met one too many tight parking spaces and tall curbs in the city.
Seriously, it was a 12-inch curb along Hubbard. Explain, oh city planner, HOW that is necessary.
Currently the shake machine is the only car living in our garage because the other half is filled with tile, trim and Chris’ ghetto table that he likes to set up in the garage and do man projects on. The tile cutter is on the ghetto table. It’s ghetto because the only thing missing from our driveway when this tile is in use would be cinder blocks.
So the other two cars live on the driveway. This is not a big deal unless you live in Chicago and unless it has been under 20 degrees lately. I got into the car the other morning and it was 12 degrees. I am convinced it was 5 in the car. Since I only drive places that are less than 10 minutes away (please do not “ride your bike” me – I have a will to survive) it barely warms up enough to stop saying out loud to myself “f*ck it’s cold, f*ck, f*ck!.
Sometimes it is the only word to accurately describe our winter situation here.
I am looking forward to the night that one of our other cars can sleep in the garage so it stays a little warmer. But it’s already 7:30 pm and I doubt that Chris will be doing trim installation now. And so I wait another night. Or week. Or month. I can’t bug him about it because then it becomes “nagging” and delays the project by at least another week.
I’ve lost more hope about tonight, though. He just turned on Man vs. Food and the challenge tonight is chicken n’ waffles. No work will be done.
A week later and the project was still in holding. The only thing left was nailing the trim to the cabinets. Doesn’t sound too complicated. But remember, my husband is the master of unnecessary levels of precision. Recall about a year ago when he installed trim on our living room wall. There was an electric laser level involved.
Need I say more.
So when I found Chris under the bathroom cabinet, in a space so small it required a grown man to form himself into the shape of a ball, holding a nail, a hammer, a brass plate and wearing knee pads – I knew this project could take him all day. I’m still not sure what the knee pads were for – unless he was expecting a fight from the hammer – or why there were about two dozen drill bits all over the bathroom counter too. It seemed pretty easy to me. Hammer + nail = pound the nail until it’s in.
Not good enough. Ended up requiring wood glue, tape and all sorts of cuss words. There is still a piece of tape holding the trim on. I’ll be damned if I’m the one to pull it off.
Just when I thought it was complete, Chris asked me where the tiny nub of wood was that was laying on the floor.
You mean the one that I found on my bedroom floor chewed to pieces when I got out of the shower the other day?
You’re going to need to ask Boss about that.
What I found funny he found…not. I guess this was a piece of wood, the last piece of wood for the trim that required an angle so unique it didn’t even register on a protractor. Made up a whole new angle. Took him over an hour to create. Unfortunately, Boss does not realize the difference between a standard 90 degree angle and one crafted at 44.3 degrees.
The other neighborman was at our house tonight. He told me that Chris was a brave man for laying the tile. Man can go to war. Man can battle against giant plate of chicken ‘n waffles. Man can wed woman. For life. But none are as brave as man who attempts to lay tile.
And no wife is as brave as she who waits for her bathroom to be done. Completely. No tape. Nub of wood nailed down.