Monthly Archives: July 2012

All Tomorrow’s Parties…are Cancelled (and other complaints)

New hallway. What, it’s not obvious?

I have been to the house a handful of times in the past couple weeks, and although progress is supposedly happening it all just looks like a ripped apart house to me. Apparently some live (and some not live) knob and tube wiring has been removed, plumbing from upstairs has been taken away, a new hallway has been created on the second floor and the shoring continues in order to rebuild the floor joists up there also. To my untrained eye however, it just looks like de-construction and it’s not fun to visit or look at. If you’ve read my first few posts and wondered what has taken me so long to follow up, it is the following realization: after less than one month of this project I already want it to be over.  Frank is doing a good job of keeping us in the loop with what he and the crew are discovering about the house, but every time we meet with him it seems there is more bad news: the structural problems are more significant than they first thought, we have to get an engineer involved, we have to re-apply to the city for amended permits, etc. Apparently none of this means the house is falling down/can’t be fixed/won’t eventually, one day be finished, but the hold-ups and slow-downs and weekly tally of “extras” are kind-of getting me down. Not that I should be surprised – the house is over one hundred years old, and according to Frank it’s in really good shape considering its age, but the old gal needs work on her bones, and this takes a long time. Sigh.

So… there is the construction that looks more like demolition every day and there is also this never-ending shopping list of things to choose for the finished product that seems like it never going to be finished. Looking at stuff like vanities and countertops and tubs and sinks (long) before construction began actually used to be fun, the same way I remember it being fun to create your own Sims house, but now that the decisions are due shopping just feels like an expensive chore that must be done every weekend (and some weeknights too.) So far this week we have selected a shower system, a bathtub and a range hood. Ladies and gentlemen, this is not like choosing cute sandals for the beach or a dress for your friend’s wedding. This type of shopping is possibly the most boring, expensive and choice-laden undertaking in the history of the world. Okay I exaggerate, but I think my point is clear: no fun.

Granted, not all shopping trips completely suck but the one I am about to describe colored several that followed in that I was all, “Do we have to do this?”  We drove up to Caledonia / Castlefield a couple of weeks ago to look at shower fixtures and tile samples from a well-known upscale retailer that shares a  name affectionately bestowed upon redheads. And some Vietnamese restaurants.  And edible Christmas houses made of cookie, minus the “bread” suffix.  And that rhymes with “Binger’s.”  (Google it, and then do yourself a favor and never go to there.) Anyhow, after waiting around for about a half an hour on the floor, watching as customer after customer who came in after us was offered assistance, I finally chased down an associate who would not help me, but who chased down a colleague, who, by the time she came over to “assist” us had already somehow decided not to.  I wanted to ask about a tile border they had on display with pretty blue waves on it, and the following is a 100% accurate account* of the conversation that I had about this:

A: Can you tell me about this tile? Is the border separate or does it come as one piece?
SL (sales lady) turns to an associate: How much is this tile Lori?

Lori: It’s very expensive.
SL (to me): It’s very expensive.
A: Well I didn’t ask how expensive it was, I asked for some information about it.
SL:  I don’t think we have anything here for you. You are obviously in the wrong place.

 Uuuuggh! Can you believe it? My very own “Pretty Woman” moment, and in a bathroom accessories store of all places! (Like, remember when Vivian [played by Julia Roberts] went into the dress shop on Rodeo Drive and was met by two very rude and very snobby sales ladies?) Needless to say, I felt angry and defeated as I left the store. She didn’t actually ask me to leave, mind you – I am taking some liberty in recounting our exchange, although the “that tile is very expensive” line was 100% for real. And I was so stunned to hear it I can’t actually remember the rest of our conversation. But I digress…

To think about how many of my brain cells have been wasted on learning appliance dimensions, energy outputs for lights and shower measurements frustrates me. When I finally finished my Master’s degree a couple of months ago I thought I’d have a lot of free time to read the books I’d been meaning to read, see good films and maybe even take up a new hobby. I haven’t gotten around to the latter two, but my new “hobby” – or should I say part-time job—is definitely cut out for me… writing about my experiences shopping at stores that rhyme with “Tinger’s” in Toronto and trying not to think about all of the Fall get-togethers that I am going to have to cancel on account of this reno taking Way. Too. Long.

*account not 100% accurate.

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