The first time we called Bath Fitter to replace a shower stall was after “The Spew of 2002.” The sewer line in front of our house had become clogged with tree roots and waste from neighbors whose faces we’d never seen, but whose feces was now gushing like geysers from the shower stall, toilet, and sink in the bathroom/laundry room just off the family room.
Because he’s the only person in our family who has stricter disinfecting standards than most surgical suites, Richard donned one of his Hazmat suits, goggles, latex gloves, and a mask, and bleached the crap out of the bathroom. After that, he only entered that bathroom to do his laundry. He conducted all other “business” in one of the bathrooms upstairs.
He didn’t want to have to be the one to remove the still-soggy wood molding or stained wallpaper, and I couldn’t blame him. After all, he had just survived the river rapids of every neighbor’s waste who lived up-stream.
So, I volunteered to do it — but only if I could decorate it Leslie-style.
First we called the plumber to rod the pipes. Then we called Bath Fitter to replace the shower that needed a face-lift anyway. It was 30 years old, and not in a good way.
Bath Fitter did a fabulous job, so we were good to go.
Inspiration for the redecoration came to me in the form of a ukulele I had recently seen at Ron Jon Surf Shop in Fort Myers, Florida while visiting Kelly, Scott, and Dylan. I had wanted to take it home, along with every other way-cool surfer-dudette-type accouterment they sold, but I knew I’d never be able to fit it in my suitcase. And, even if I did, where would I put it once I got home?
I had Richard sign a waiver stating he had granted me permission to redecorate the bathroom, and then had it notarized. I typed www.ronjonsurfshop.com into my computer and bought that ukulele with the adorable flowers on it, along with a matching throw rug, wooden wind chimes (for the backyard,) and various other beachy things.
I hit the paint store for palm-leaf-green, and middle-of-the-ocean blue, and Home Depot where I bought the one thing I’ve always thought our house had been lacking: Astro Turf.
I borrowed one of Richard’s Hazmat suits, covered my face with a mask and goggles, and put on latex gloves. I used a crowbar to shimmy the wood molding off the walls. Then I pried off the wallpaper.
When my mother got wind of what I was doing she said, “You do know you’re Jewish, right? You were not born with the skills it takes to do what you’re doing.”
“Maybe not, Mom,” I said “but it’s just a bathroom so if it stinks, who cares?”
I used huge sweeping strokes with giant sponges to apply the blue and green paint to achieve a jungle-like look on the walls. Then I attempted to cut the Astro Turf evenly, and glued it to the bottom of the walls to replace the wood molding. It looked fabulous.
The next day I found matching, delicate, hanging shells at World Market that I cut to use as vertical blinds above the loo. I fastened the chains of shells to the existing track for the old blinds using tiny paper clips that I hid beneath the valance I had covered with (what else?) Astro Turf.
I have created lots of art, most of it crappy, except for my prized Menurkey for Thanksgivukkah last November. But this bathroom was a masterpiece.
Bath Fitter and I had created the “hang-ten” bathroom of my dreams. Mahalo, my friends at Bath Fitter, Mahalo.
About a year ago, Richard thought he saw a wet spot in the family room ceiling. When his finger went through the ceiling, we were pretty sure he was right. Because no one could tell where the leak originated, our handyman Hunter created an opening the size of Rhode Island in the popcorn ceiling. Just as I was beginning to get used to the exposed pipes, Hunter, determined that the leak was coming from the shower door in our bathroom. He patched thceiling, and Bath Fitter installed another beautiful shower stall.
But over the past few months, Richard and I noticed that a pool of water would appear on the floor right by the shower door about ten minutes after either one of us had taken a shower. Preferring not to repeat having our family room ceiling cut into the shape of another state, I called Bath Fitter.
I told Richard that we shouldn’t use our shower the morning Ignacio from Bath Fitter was scheduled to come in case he needed a dry surface to apply some kind of epoxy.
Well, that was stupid because there was nothing to show Ignacio when he got here. I had just taken a shower in one of the other bathrooms right before he arrived and my hair was still dripping wet when I let him in.
I explained the problem and we tried and tried to recreate it, but no matter how hard we tried to make the shower leak by running the water up, down and sideways, it wouldn’t. It had happened every single day for the past few months. Where was it when I needed it?
Then I had an idea. I said, “Ignacio, you would be here anyway if there was something to fix, right?” He nodded. “Okay,” I said, “This is going to sound weird, but would you mind waiting in your truck for ten minutes while I take another shower, this time in this bathroom, and then I’ll get dressed and let you know when you can come back in.”
Ignacio looked perplexed. He told me he believed me and that this type of thing happened all the time. He said he’d come back when it did. He also told me no one else had ever asked him to wait in his truck so she could take a shower before. Shocking.
I convinced him it was the only way to prove there was a leak. He complied. I prayed he wouldn’t drive off.
I took another shower (I was incredibly squeaky clean that day!), and got dressed. I waited for the pool of water to begin to appear. Not a drop. I put schmutz in my hair and wasted a few more minutes, thinking the shower needed a moment to gather its extra water to drip onto the floor.
So, I went out to the truck and asked Ignacio to come back in, telling him that nothing had appeared but maybe by the time we got back up to the bathroom we’d be in luck.
The shower hasn’t leaked since. But it will. Oh, I know it will. And when it does, I will take a few pictures of it and call Ignacio to come back. Most likely he’ll ask a different installer to come to our house because I’m sure he’ll never want to go back to the house where the crazy lady asked him to wait in his truck so she could take a shower after having just taken a shower to prove her point. I don’t think I’d want to come back here, either.