Heart and Soul

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Bathroom Remodeling Blues

Well, we’re at it again!

My husband and I are once more tearing apart our one hundred and fifty-year-old farmhouse and putting it back together. This time it’s the bathroom under renovation. It’s the ninth in a ten room plan of remodeling that has seen us rip out, re-roof, re-side, re-install, re-finish, re-wire, re-plumb and re-main speaking…in retrospect, perhaps our greatest accomplishment!

This latest do-over is one that I have awaited most anxiously since several years ago when I purchased a fire engine red, claw foot bathtub. It is the cast iron soaker of my dreams. However, since it has assumed it’s place of prominence in our home’s one and only bathroom, the rest of the aged and worn room has paled in comparison. So it was with great glee that my husband and I finally took our pry bars and hammers in hand and began demolishing…which is exactly when our problems began.

You see, I am the sort of person who needs to have everything spelled out in detail and planned in advance. I like to know what is going to happen and exactly how long it will take. Before my husband and I began our bathroom remodel we discussed in great depth exactly how the project was going to proceed and the approximate time frame it would require. His reassuring two-part guarantee was that we would manage temporarily without a shower by setting one up in the basement and that everything would be up and running anew in the remodeled bath in approximately two weeks.

Talk about leading lambs to the slaughter!!

First: the shower. Now when I picture a temporary shower, a flimsy plastic curtain strung up around an old showerhead with a hole cut in the middle of the floor for drainage is what comes to mind. Grim, but livable…. especially when, as my dearest darling assured me, it would only be for two weeks.

So as life without a full bathroom unfolded, I good-naturedly prepared to venture into the basement for my first stab at rehab showering.

I gathered together my herbal body soap, my special scrubby, my daisy razor and of course, my fluffy white oversized bath towel. I then asked my husband exactly how I should go about using his jerry-rigged basement shower.

His response is one that is indelibly etched in my mind as he said, "Just go stand over the sump pit on the piece of Styrofoam I put there and use the garden hose." Aghast, I looked at him and parroted back the most repulsive parts of his reply. "Sump pit? Styrofoam? Garden hose?!!" To which he incredulously answered, "What’s the big deal…the hose runs hot and cold water."

Out of respect for the fact that this is a PG reader's forum, I will not report the exact words I used in reply to my loving, thoughtful spouse. Suffice it to say, I refused his most enticing bathing option and began lobbying friends and neighbors for regular showering opportunities. Which brings us to the second part of his guarantee….the two-week time frame.

As week four of our renovation unfolds, I am happy to report that the bathroom finally does have a working toilet and tile is in place on the shower walls and floor. However the shower glass walls and door are on a two-week back order and my husband has decided that he is now going to "custom" build the sink vanity.

I’m sure someday I’ll look back on this bathroom remodel and think that the whole thing was really pretty funny....but right now, I know that no matter how long this renovation takes, I am never going to shower over the sump pit!

A Chocoholics Ode

I am a chocoholic.

My well traveled path to chocolate addiction is littered with silver Hershey Kiss wrappers, cleaned out chocolate popcorn containers, and empty hot fudge sundae dishes. In fact, there’s not a chocolate product on the market I haven't consumed for breakfast lunch and dinner. My experienced, chocolate loving motto is, "You know it's good, if it makes your face sweat!"

Now I'm sure you all have your little tales of chocolate indiscretions. You know those midnight "gotta have it" pantry raids where even baking chocolate makes the grade. Personally I have a few. Well okay, maybe a few hundred, but there is one tale that is a standout, even for me.

Being a devout Irish Catholic, I was raised that one must give up something of great importance during Lent. Well obviously my choice was a no brainer. Sticking to it however, was the challenge.

For years I struggled with the six-week term of Lenten life without chocolate, more often then not failing miserably. Until one day my mother-in-law, Evelyn the devout, shared with me her Lenten wisdom.
You see, Evelyn told me, that during Lent you get Sundays off. Yes that's right, according to my mother-in-law, I had only to keep my chocolate cravings under wraps for six days at a stretch. Then with Sunday's arrival, I could go wild.

The concept was initially overwhelming. I found it hard to believe that there was really such a loophole in the Lenten laws. Yet if Evelyn the devout said so, it had to be true.
So with renewed spirit and invigorated drive I began my Ash Wednesday Lenten sacrifice by not eating chocolate…..until Sunday.

11:55 p.m that Saturday, I was on my way out of bed, tip-toeing down to the kitchen. By 11:57 the hot fudge was on the stove warming. 11:59 chocolate peanut butter ice cream was fully mounded in a bowl and by midnight Spanish peanuts and whipped cream were topping that baby off.

At 12:01 a.m., I was sprawled in the middle of the kitchen floor well on my way to a chocolate orgy, gorging on my ice cream delight. Wisely, I flanked myself with back-up ice cream and fudge sauce for the inevitable problem of too much fudge sauce, not enough ice cream, too much ice cream not enough fudge sauce. All the while the words, "Bless You Evelyn" rolled off my tongue and through my fudge drenched lips.

Now each year as I approach my Lenten routine of Monday through Saturday sacrificing I continue to try and leave the hotfudge off my pancakes, the hershey kisses out of my peanut butter sandwiches and the slabs of Ghiradelli out of my chicken fajitas. Further, each Sunday, as I indulge in my blessed chocolate relief, I gratefully remember my wise mother-in-law, Evelyn, the devout and her loop hole Lenten law.

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