Friday, March 10, 2017

Remodeling a Bathroom and a Lesson Therein

I’ve waited almost six years to remodel our main bathroom, and by “remodel” I mean gutting it as well as widening its freakishly narrow doorway. If my husband and I were ever required to use walkers, we’d be stuck in the hall. That’s how narrow that doorway is. An outhouse doorway would be wider.

But also, although we made some tweaks to it when we bought our condo, for the most part this bathroom has held on to the ’80s as if its existence depended on it. Hardly. The ’80s were a long time ago. I barely remember them.

Our contractor is scheduled to start a mere six weeks from now, so, on the mend from a long stretch with bronchitis, I finally ventured out the other day to shop. My husband is the “This is our budget” half of our team, and I am the “Let’s not settle because we have to live with this bathroom for a long time and I am willing to spend a little more” half. Fortunately, we’ve learned over our decades of marriage to stay friendly through these events, even if it takes some negotiating.

We happily chose a vanity and another cabinet, arranged for our mirror to be reframed to match them both, and decided on fixture finishes. We also ordered what we wanted for the walk-in shower and a commode, the latter tall enough for people over five feet tall, which we are. (Maybe in the ’80s, everyone was really short and we didn’t notice. I can’t think of any other explanation for this tiny apparatus we’ve been living with.) A wall paint color, a backsplash, and a few other materials are still on a list, but we had to choose some flooring sooner than later.

Not tile floor people, not wood or laminate for a bathroom floor people, we looked at vinyl samples. You might or might not know hundreds of designs exist, in different thicknesses. At the third store, we found the perfect choice—only to discover today that it’s been discontinued. A perfectly lovely design with colors that went well with the vanity wood sample I carried from place to place and a satisfying thickness, yet unavailable.

What a disappointment. A first-world disappointment, a minor disappointment, but still, I put on a frowny face. I don’t like “starting over,” and I don’t have that much time to shop.

Too often we make decisions as though we are in complete control of what’s available. Then we hit a bump in the road and we’re disappointed instead of being grateful we have a road. We get all frowny and the sky looks all cloudy.

But didn’t Jesus say, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”? Okay, he didn’t say that. But can you imagine him wasting time being disappointed if one of his disciples said, “Sorry, Lord. Those sandals you picked out for our next long walk? The guy doesn’t make that design anymore. You’re going to have to make another choice.” Uh, no. He would have just made another choice and stayed on mission. No frowning, no cloudy thoughts.

My husband went back to one of the stores and brought home more vinyl samples, all still available. We decided one of them works. Sold! Problem quickly solved. But even if that had not been the case, my disappointment about our first choice had to be put in its place.

That’s the little lesson I reminded myself of today from our bathroom remodel. And when you're replacing the tiny commode in one bathroom, it makes sense to replace the tiny commode in the other bathroom too. After all, this is not 1980.

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