Monday, January 9, 2012

The Shawshank Restoration

No, I’m not crawling through a river of poo and hoping to come out clean on the other side (though we did pull out our toilet and didn’t quite seal up the hole well enough to avoid some nauseating gases) … but I am digging a really big hole and looking for ways to squirrel away the evidence.

If you haven’t seen “The Shawshank Redemption” you’re really missing out here. Go watch it now in fact – it’s almost always playing on tv (and don’t I know it because it’s one of those movies I just get sucked into watching every darn time I find it while flipping through the channels … so I’m guessing I’ve seen it approximately 500 times now) – then come back and read this.

My hole isn’t hidden behind a sexy pinup poster (though I suppose I wouldn’t mind tacking up a full-size shirtless Bradley Cooper on my vacant bathroom wall), but it is growing larger every day – no matter how fast we work to rebuild it.

After the burglar scare on my street subsided we all went back about our daily routine. We didn’t install a high-tech security alarm system, or even buy some fake ADT signs off the internet like Dad suggested, but we did spring for a new, more sturdy set of front doors (complete with actual working locks! I mean, they will have locks … eventually … after Home Depot comes to install them) and some fancy new exterior lighting (thieves are TOTALLY fooled by motion detector lights, right?). And a friend told me about a news report of some robbers in our area dying in a fiery car crash when they attempted to flee from the cops and, while I found no actual evidence to support the fact that these were the criminals who invaded our neighbors (nor did I even find any evidence to support the fact that this deadly crash really happened in the first place), I have chosen to believe that this was the event that will end any thoughts of a future crime spree in our area. And, thankfully, GAR is back at work now – alive, out of the house and breathing in fresh air (hooray for not being a widow!)

And the mold is gone too! All it took was Dad coming to visit to help GAR rip everything out of the infested bathroom – walls, vanity, toilet, tile – cleanse it and rebuild it brick by brick (or, rather, waterproof durarock by durarock). And while the reconstruction portion of the project is still in development we have turned our attention to the disposing of the demolished, unwanted rubble left behind.

What to do with all this linoleum, tile, mirror fragments and assorted ‘80s jetsam?

On home improvement shows they always order a dumpster to dispose of, and subsequently haul away, this sort of thing – suckers! No, we are far too cheap for all that. The garbage men often refuse to haul away larger chunks of debris, so for our previous bathroom remodel we spent months afterwards slyly breaking it all into smaller, lighter chunks and hiding it in our weekly trash disposal. We broke tiles into fragments, squirreling them into the middle of our waste cans where they likely wouldn’t be seen – bit by bit over time until all that was left was a giant mirror too sizeable to discard of so easily. But minimizing all this rubbish and stuffing it down our pants Shawshank style was tedious and this time we decided to just go for it, carried it all out to the curb (except the wood chunks we used as kindling for our fireplace – waste not, want not) and took a chance that the porcelain pirates would want it.

Ah yes, the porcelain pirates – the pick-up truck warriors of America who troll the street looking for booty in the form of discarded yellow appliances, musty armchairs, warped two-by-fours and other assorted “treasures” that others no longer find valuable. In our case we’ve been visited mostly by those who pray to porcelain gods. They’ve “rescued” 2 toilets, a bathtub and several sinks from our front curb already and it didn’t take long for them to scoop up the salvageable scraps from our most recent construction. Brazenly they appeared in broad daylight as I was painting approximately 700 sets of closet doors yesterday and rummaged through our refuse, plundering as they saw fit. Oddly (though really it is just a fine line between what they’re doing and “stealing” - which I take great … or, rather, some … protection against) I was glad to see them cart off most everything the garbage men wouldn’t take – no Shawshank smuggling required.

But we’re still far from done … not just with the bathroom but with everything. As is the case whenever Dad comes to visit, my home improvement “to do” list starts spiraling, snowballing out of control. The holes in my house grow bigger and the dilemma of debris disposal continues. And my bank account suffers. Suddenly I NEED new flooring, new cabinet finishes, a new wine rack, wainscoting, sprinkler systems, energy-efficient windows, pendant lights … and I need for my dining room not to catch fire (but that is another story for another day).

Mostly I’m just worried about the impact this has on my career. No, not my day job – my other, back-up, someday dream job as a hand model. I was “discovered” a few years ago (okay, fine, it was freshman year of college … but it seems like just yesterday) by some friends who were doing some modeling and encouraged me to take some “hand shots” of my practically perfect digits to use to promote myself. I always figured that someday, when I grew weary of corporate life, my appendages would be used for margarine commercials or to show off authentic looking faux gemstones on QVC and I’d settle into a quiet, less hectic lifestyle where I can’t lift a (carefully gloved) finger lest I get even the tiniest of scratches on my moneymakers.

But, no, the more the renovation pit grows, the more I need my hands for hammering, nail gunning, sawing … okay, fine, mostly I’m just in charge of painting. But it takes its toll man … and these calloused, semi-construction worker hands aren’t getting me any callbacks for the new Land O’Lakes campaign … regardless of the “perfect length of my nail beds.” Sigh – farewell dreams of a pampered, perpetually moisturized existence.

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