Monday, December 21, 2009

Eyeball It

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.

Eyeball it.

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.

Oh that?

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.

Tick tock...


TriEVIElon said...

FUNNY! Every time there is a man project in my house, I try not to look. The "insulate the basement" project was the best of all. Looks like a rotisserie chicken wrapper farm above the Computrainer. I keep waiting to smell gas station chicken but alas, and thank GOD, no.

Sounds like the tile will be a much better deal than, ICK, carpet! YAY you, that is if it ever gets completed......

Keith said...

Huh. Laid tile, in a room much bigger than a bathroom. Never gonna do *that* again. And yes, there are complications to doing trim. Tools are required. Tools that only men, and female engineer tool geeks understand. Trust me.

Chris laying tile. You dealing with a potential child over 9 months. Hmmmm. I'd say go kiss him, but then, I'm a men, and you'll say I'm biased.

Hope you get your bathroom back soon. Do we get a pic of it?

Wes said...

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.

This evoked an eruption of coffee. Thanks...

Jennifer Harrison said...

The only time I allowed Jerome to lay tile in our house - was our Kitchen, which he laid porcelin tile down while I was on bedrest with the twins. It drove me NUTS - I could only yell at the top of my lungs from the couch....and then I lived in that mess for much of my pregnancy. I blamed the dust on a lot of things! LOL

Post a pic when Chris is done.

And, btw, he tiled the shower too - slate - and that was much harder than the floor....and it even says that on Jerome's Man Card that he carries with him.

Morgan said...

I will keep this post in mind for future reference when one day down the road my future husband attempts a DIY project... LMAO!

Christian Waterstraat said...

The tile project was definitely a PITA. The hardest part was really finding the time without the little woman interrupting me to cook dinner, wash the dishes, walk the dog, fix the car, buy the groceries, rub her back, etc. (Seriously, I'm already putting in 40hrs+ a week at the office).

When laying down tile, no matter how much precision and care you start out with, there is no way you can match the performance of some guy who lays tile for a living. Looking back at the work now, I see so many mistakes like mis-aligned tiles, gaps in the grout, and rough edges.

There is definitely a learning curve laying tile and you can get better from the mistakes of the first project. Unfortunately for my future tile laying skillz, I have enough common sense not to undertake a project like that ever again.

ps. I swear Liz must have held daily Wookie conventions in the bathroom with the amount of hair I found every evening.

Molly said...

I give Jeff power tools for Christmas and let him have fun with wherever those projects take him, but I stay the heck out of the way till they are done. Men and their home improvement projects are not to be interfered with. :)

Mike Russell said...

I guess I checked my pair at the door when I got married...I now pay people to complete projects that require such precision. I am an "eyeballer" too, which does not satisfy my wife's requirement for precision.

Excellent post.

Greyt Times said...

I don't know what is funnier, the hopefully less than 9 pound...out of my you know what...trumps that comment or daily Wookie conventions.


Audrey said...

Mu husband's father (who was very good with his hands) did not allow his sons to learn any manual skills..wanted them to be "more" that he was. So DH is a PT. Great with his hands, but only on people. His motto echoes Mike's: "Hire a professional."