The Arlington Chronicles – Part 1 – A Certain Madness

Some of you may remember my Ponce Chronicles and Revenge of the Ponce Chronicles, telling the adventures of house repairs in Puerto Rico last winter. Well, we’re at it again, this time on our own house, here in Massachusetts. We’re renovating our downstairs apartment, in preparation for Allysen’s mom to move in. Fay is in her mid-80’s, and there are a lot of changes to be made for “aging in place.”

old-showerYou may have thought from my recent posts that for the last few weeks, all I’ve been doing is plug my books. Indeed, no. In fact, we have been plugging the holes in our sanity, while researching accessibility, working with contractors, buying (or not buying) appliances that will work for someone Fay’s age, and so much more.

Do you like bathroom renovations? Who doesn’t, right? Right. We set out intending only to rip out the old bathtub/shower and replace it with a no-threshold shower, in hopes of preventing trips, slips, and falls. By the time it’s done (tomorrow, I hope!), we will have put in all new tile, toilet, fan, lights, walls—basically everything except the sink and the door. Fortunately, we found an amazing contractor who knew how to do everything we (Allysen) talked about. I cannot overstate the wonder of working with guys who are smart, knowledgeable, able to communicate clearly and share your vision, and do good work for a price that’s probably too low. We love these guys.

will-and-bill-ponder-what-theyve-wroughtIt hasn’t all been the bathroom, of course. I’m passing over the hardwood floors, the kitchen, the electrical work, the driveway, the porch lift… but I’ll get to those in another post.

And our role in this, besides signing checks? Painting, lots of painting; and rehabilitating the old kitchen sink cabinet that we decided, probably stupidly, to reuse. And making decisions? Oh yes…

Between us, I’m sure we spent hundreds of hours researching, measuring, and looking at refrigerators (we decided in the end to keep the old one), compact washers and dryers (used and refurbished), electric ranges, dishwashers… aaiiieee. It’s a Rubik’s cube.

Take selecting tile, for one. Oh, my head! Getting three people—Allysen, her mom, and me—all with divergent artistic sensibilities, to agree on style and pattern? And having chosen, discovering—after it was put down—that the tile company had sent the wrong tile for the floor? (Upshot: the tile stays, but the tile company refunded the money.) And selecting grout color?! Who knew it was important to pick out grout color?! And let’s not even get started on picking out the right toilet—only to discover, after attempted installation, that the one we picked out won’t fit.

shower-tile-getting-thereAll this with the date of Fay’s move breathing down our necks.

So, naw, I’ve done my fair share of hawking, but I haven’t only been hawking books these last few weeks.

More to follow.

2 Responses

  1. Nancy Adams
    | Reply

    New shower is lovely, well worth the work. She’ll love it and may spend all her time there! Well done!!

  2. MaryA
    | Reply

    Er….. I am Grout….?
    🙂

    Gotta confess I love reading your chronicles, which will delight archivists of SFF (“the true American fiction!”) and Big Family Nonfiction Sagas (I see it coming, I can see the future — nahh, nobody can see the future of the publishing industry…)

    –MaryA

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