War of the Bathroom Makeover

by Mickey Dunaway

Battle of the Vanities

We have been working on redoing our guest bath since June. The first skirmish started because the vanity we ordered from Costco arrived six weeks later than promised and with a broken top. We called customer service, ordered a new one just like the broken one, and Costco vowed to get us the new one delivered and pick up the damaged one right away. Nope.  Neither of those two things happened.

The second skirmish occurred when, after another six weeks delay, the new vanity finally arrived.  It was the wrong model and 12 inches too wide. I called Costco again, and they graciously said they would send out the correct vanity, and graciously, as I was able, said, “NO, because we now have two vanities occupying most of our guestroom. So, could you arrange to have them picked up as soon as feasible?”

Finally, we came to realize that Costco’s understanding of soon as feasible meant six weeks longer than promise

We actually won the third skirmish.  On my son’s next visit, when he came to show me his new big-ass GMC pickup, we ordered a replacement vanity online from Lowes, drove the five miles to the store, and enjoyed watching the vanity being carefully loaded in the truck’s bed. We got it off the truck without re-injuring my back and put it in the garage because there was not room enough for another vanity in the guest room where my son was sleeping!

Costco surrenders, finally. About two weeks after the successful trip to Lowes, a van was dispatched to remove the casualties of the Battle of Vanities. I was a bit surprised when only one person got out of the truck, having no idea what awaited him in our guest bedroom. After a bit of cursing at his boss, he got the two vanities down our three front steps and somehow hefted them up into the truck. I apologized for his trouble, and he thanked me for wrapping the torn-apart-boxes with a half-inch of industrial-strength “Saranwrap.” I think you can use this stuff to protect a house in a hurricane. Just sayin’

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Battle of the Shower Doors

Before we ever ordered the vanities, my wife and I picked out a new sliding glass shower enclosure from Lowes. We only had one primary requirement, the opening for the sliding door had to be at least 32 inches which is the width of our youngest son’s wheelchair. We found a shower model that we liked and paid Lowes enough money to add another floor to our small retirement home. It was Friday, and the salesman assured us that a Lowes-approved installer would call us on Monday. We just forgot to ask which Monday. After two weeks of silence from Lowes, I began registering my displeasure, and soon after, a very professional-looking installer and his helper were at our door. We told them about our 32-inch requirements and why that was important, and the boss installer assured us that his glass people could cut two pieces of glass to perfectly meet our needs.

I think it was about four weeks later—although it might have been the six weeks as six weeks seemed to be the inexplicable time that the skirmishes seemed to take. Soon, the installers showed up at our door with two beautiful lightly green tinted pieces of glass—and we were excited because nothing else could be done in this War until the shower glass was installed. 

Our renewed hope was short-lived as, unfortunately, the glass cutter had cut the opening to the shower far too small to fit a wheelchair.  After many apologies, the installers headed back to the glass cutter, and our battle plans were stalemated another few weeks until the new glass was cut.  Eventually—I think it was a month this time and not six weeks—the installers again knocked on our door, with apologies and the new glass. Thankfully, this time everything fit beautifully. 

However, the War had been won, but still, there was mopping-up duty to be completed before victory could be definitively declared.

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Joe-The-Repairman Meets the Brittanys

Mostly these days, Joe-The-Repairman spends his working days doing handyman jobs in our neighborhood. Our retirement community is populated by old farts who have either forgotten how to do around-the-house repairs or are spending so much time at physical therapy that we don’t have the time.

Joe is an ex-Minnesotan, ex-California hippy who plays ice hockey on his lunch break to stay in shape, and we have found out that he can fix, build or remodel most anything in or attached to a house. Just the guy I needed. He is an all-around good guy.

So, this first week of Fall, Joe began tearing out some terribly applied ceramic tile behind a pedestal sink where the new vanity will go if we can move it from the garage and it is not damaged. Joe will apply some Behr paint that is guaranteed to cover in one coat and damn-well should since it cost as much as a monthly car payment. Given the number of new towel accessories (all oiled-bronze which is the color of the top rail of the shower), he must install and the light fixture, brown switches, and oiled-bronze switch plates, I figure Joe will be with us at least two more weeks which is OK … and here is why.

When Joe came in the back door on Monday of this week, he was “attacked” by Boomer and Chloe, our Brittanys, with barks, tongues licking, and tails wagging. I knew Joe was a stand-up guy when he got down and loved those two orange and white bird dogs right back. 

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Boomer and Chloe proved me correct because, by Wednesday, they didn’t even get up off the couch when Joe came in.  Chloe and Boomer now accept Joe as a member of the family. I’d say that is a pretty good recommendation that I might just put on his job evaluation.

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One Last Note: The bathroom is still not finished. Maybe this week? Hmmmm … anything is possible.

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