‘I’ ON CULTURE
There is a particular sense of relief almost every man feels when, after hearing your wife call for remodeling part of your home, the job is finally done. After my wife told me that there was no way she could live with our master bath “in that condition” any longer, I had a choice: either change the bathroom or think about divorce. I chose the clear path: I agreed to handle the new job.
Much of this comes under the handle of “happy wife, bankrupt life.” I know there’s another version going around, but that is obviously anti-male propaganda. Have you ever heard the reverse: “Happy husband… happy anything?” At any rate, I still love my wife, and I know she may be the only woman in the hemisphere willing to put up with me. She dreamed of having it done by Mother’s Day.
Getting a job done like this is like going to the dentist for a very, very long time with no dental insurance.
So, we began the process. First, of course, find the contractor. That is fun in itself. We had a whole group of them come in, and they had widely varying prices. One of them said there was no point in doing the partial remodel we had planned; we had to go all the way, even though half the bathroom was fine. Another one gave a $2,000 price for about three or four hours of electrical work.
Then a neighbor told me to go to Home Depot. My wife dragged me to a planner there, Alice Vermilye, who showed her around a whole gamut of countertops and vanities and lights and mirrors. I began to check local bankruptcy attorneys as they worked. She arranged for their contractor, John Salicco of J&C Carpentry, to show up, and when I got his estimate, it was within reason.
I was ready for action, but then, of course, came the wait for the materials, most made to order. I had not realized that there were two different waits. The countertop could not be done before everything else was in. Ah, well. Just more time going by. No way to make the Mother’s Day dream.
Four weeks later, the vanity, mirrors, etc. came in. I called the contractor. I had my Microsoft Plan out, ready to work out all the details of just who and what would be in my house. But a wonderful angel named (what else?) Angela told me not to worry, and a few hours later I had a schedule. Who knew it could be that easy?
The first people worked directly for J&C Carpentry and had what I figured was the toughest job. They not only had to rip out the old stuff but had to remove a huge, heavy mirror that had been attached to the wall for 20 years — and then fix the wall afterward. Marcial and his son got to my house within 10 minutes of the promised time and got to work.
An hour later, I heard a shout. They had ripped away the vanity and the backsplash and discovered a hot double electrical socket that had been buried under the backsplash for 20 years! My wife and I had always enjoyed the fun of switching assorted devices in the bathroom that previously only had one double socket.
The electrician who came from Elcon Electric the next day kindly moved the socket up for us, thereby making our future lives easier. Later on, he actually helped finagle the mirrors so the lights he had just installed worked right. The plumber from F&K Plumbing shook his head looking at the existing plumbing and spent extra time fixing things. Then the kind people at PlastDesign, doing the granite countertop, sent Mario, a template craftsman, to get everything right for that, and 10 days later they installed the countertop.
Two days later, leaving time for things to dry, the plumber reconnected everything — and it worked. And there was no extra charge for the extra work, not to mention the courtesy.
It is beautiful. So, thanks to all the people mentioned above who turned what I feared would be a horrible ordeal into a reasonably decent time that ended with a beautiful bathroom. Meanwhile, I discovered that seeing my wife’s face when it was done was the perfect Father’s Day gift.