I’ve been rather busy lately doing some home improvements. Home improvements, in this economy? Well, that’s what credit cards are for! So what if I pay them off at the rate of ten dollars a month for the rest of my life? I’m through worrying.
Our contractor friend, who was responsible for the beautiful tiled floors here at Chez Lucca, recently finished putting in a tiled shower in the master bath– and just in time, too. The original deadskin beige tiles had been mounted directly onto drywall; the shower floor, when poured, had not been poured onto a steel mesh, and so it eventually began sinking. As a result, it cracked, and water got underneath the tiles and flowed toward the drywall, which wicked it slowly UP until the shower walls began to buckle. I’d attempted, in my amateur way, repairs over the years, using different sized and colored tiles, but eventually it all advanced into the realm known as Call the Menfolk. (Lennar Homes built this house in 1979, by the way. How come my mother’s bathroom tiles in Brooklyn have survived intact since 1912? Lennar ought to be horsewhipped.)
In three days, we got a new shower. It was originally going to be completely a sort of off-white, with a lighter whitish floor, but a stroll down the tile aisle at Loew’s ended up in the purchase of some green tiles which we “diamonded” into the white walls. Now it all looks very YMCA circa 1935, which is nice in a retro sort of way. You never know– Charles Atlas may appear one morning swathed in terrycloth.
The nice thing about a white bathroom is that you can see when it needs cleaning, which is great when you are me and God forbid a guest needs to use a master bathroom that isn’t like a showroom. The unsettling thing about all this white tile is that I’ll notice every sort of speck, some of which even move. I don’t know how those creatures get in there from the great outdoors, but I’ve seen bugs in that bathroom which I had never seen before; all that white tends to highlight them, and I find myself staring at oddly-segmented worms that crawl slowly up the walls, or beetle-like critters that aren’t quite roaches, but aren’t quite beetles either. Sometimes a spider gets in there, and I’ll see him skittering along just at the point when I am unable to get up and do something about him; or else I’m showering, one hand holding a bottle of shampoo, the other grasping a scrub brush, both my feet concentrating on not slipping and causing the braining of the owner of all those limbs. Before the remodel we had something called drain flies, which thrive in environments that are always damp. For months I wondered where these damn things were coming from, and then one day I saw one disappear down the drain.
Still, the pluses outweigh the minuses, and it’s nice to spend time in a bathroom that doesn’t look like the facilities in an abandoned factory. Assuming I’m not terrorized and carried off by some six-legged thing with viscous, rotating tentacles, I can see myself spending more time in there than I probably need.