Sunday, January 11, 2009

Home again, home again

Jiggedy-jig, as they say.

If only my life were that simple.

My truck broke down last night while I was headed home from Massachusetts. I had just had some Popeye's fried chicken at the Kennebunk plaza and headed up the highway. I was on the phone with my friend Mike when what felt a lot like a blow-out on my front left tire happened. He was an absolute peach and talked me through it, I got over to the side of the road, put my hazards on and called AAA. After waiting through the required automated message hell for a couple of minutes, I got a nice lady whose first concern was that I was ok. That was really nice. Got out and checked the tire, only it was not flat. Not sure what it was - maybe a ball joint? Axle? Ty-rod? I don't know enough about vehicles to know what it was. I do know I couldn't drive it like that.

We worked out the details of where I was, where I wanted to go, and the fact that my aunt recently upgraded us to the premium membership (thank goddess!!!) which allows for 200 free miles of towing. Turns out I was just about 180 miles from home. It took about an hour and a half to find a flatbed driver willing to drive nearly 400 miles round trip on a Saturday night with a storm coming, but a nice guy named Chris from Grondin & Sons Towing out of Sanford showed up and treated me nice. He even took Route 3 out of Augusta to Belfast and then up to Ellsworth to shave miles off the trip. AAA covers 200 miles. Every mile after that costs three bucks. Ouch. I was all for saving miles.

So we got underway at around 11 p.m. and I called home from Ellsworth at around 2:30 a.m. to have my sweetie meet me at the auto mechanic's garage. I got home here at around 3:30 or 4 a.m. and went straight to bed. I was utterly exhausted. That whole simulated blow-out thing scared the hell out of me and was discouraging as well. I had spent the money from this job six times already in my head, and none of it had been to fix my truck. What a pain. I had bills paid, fuel oil purchased, and maybe a hotel room at the upcoming FFFlea in Providence. Now all of that hinges on how much the mechanic is going to take. Damn. Back behind the 8-ball again. Some days it seems I can't win for losing.

On the up side, I did finish the bathroom. But not without incident.

Remember how I complained that the old tile had been stuck to 3/8 inch drywall? Remember how I said it was inferior and a bad idea and the wonderboard stuff I was using was much better - it being a half inch thick and all? Well, the added thickness of my wonderboard and the new tile was just enough for the shower fixtures to not quite work.

Oh, the plumbing bits are fine. The screws and bolts and such are just about a quarter inch too short to reach what they're supposed to. Because I did it right. And there is no access panel in the back because the landlord paneled over it. That would have been easiest - just get in there and lean on the fittings enough to get me what I needed, but nooooooo. That would be too easy.

I ended up sweating an extension into the pipe that is the tub fill spigot thing to make that work, the shower head thing was ok (thank the goddesses!) but the knob control thing was an issue. I ended up leaving the pieces for the lady's son to assemble today when the hardware store opens and he can get some number 8 by 32 machine screws that are 2 1/4 inch long. The whole family is under strict orders to not use the shower until at least 8 p.m. tonight to allow the tiles and grout to do their thing. I expect I may get a phone call asking how exactly the thing goes together, and if I do I'll talk them through it. I hated leaving the job not quite done, but I am some kind of glad I was on the road last night and broke down under a medium-clear sky and a full moon as opposed to today with a howling snowstorm. Bleah.

So here are the pictures of the finished product. Note that I made a couple of little shelves with the leftover trim boards. These are to make up for the towel racks that got ripped out with the tiles. I am most pleased with the result. If the colors look odd, know that the tiles and wood trim are bright white, the tub, the accent stripe and the tiled ceiling are all sea-foam green. The new floor is an off-white pattern.


Dusty said...

Damn woman! Glad you weren't sitting on the side of the road all night.

Love your bathroom, a lot of hard work went into that little space. I need you to come to Bakersfield and do my pre-korean war bathroom that is falling through the floor. Every time I get in the shower I say a little prayer that I won't end up under the house wet AND naked. ;p

Th' Rev said...

Nice job!What's up with the truck?

Robin said...

Yikes, you do go in for eventful, don't you? I hope the repairs don't eat up too much of the profits, but at least you made it home safely.

Great job on the bathroom, what an improvement.

MRMacrum said...

That's the problem with almost every reno. Learn something after the fact it would have been nice to account for in the beginning. Now you know. Next time, you will definitely consider the thickness you are adding pre job. Looks great BTW. Seems you have a knack with the tile thing. Love the 45-ed ceiling.

Grondin is a stand up outfit.

A Spot of T said...

That is incredible! I love the color of that green, so nice. Sorry to hear about the truck. Isn't that just the way?!