Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Remodel Hell - Just Swipe your First-Born in the Slot

Glenn very nicely gave me a little tour after last night's finish. We talked about light fixtures. He looked at both of them, the one for the bedroom and the one for the office, and said, "You're going to have other lights in there, right?" I thought, sure I will.

At 3:30 this morning, I awoke with a start. I have to get new lighting fixtures! Glenn was trying to tell me that neither one would throw off enough light. And obviously today is the time to do it, while there are these big gaps in the ceiling and the contruction workers are going to be installing them within the next few days. So, at 8 a.m. this morning, when Glenn and his new helper started working on the old bathroom, I headed out for Lowe's, 20 miles south in Union City. I've never shopped at Lowe's before, but I hoped it had more options in lighting fixtures than the two Home Depot's had.

Lowe's is better lit, better organized, cleaner than Home Depot. You still can't find anyone to help you. I figure that all of the fired workers from Home Depot and Lowe's are lining up at the state employment office as I type this. While I easily found the lighting section. I couldn't find that third light that I needed, the one that Glenn said would be a problem with the city inspector: a fluorescent light. I got the idea to look for lights that didn't have the usual G.E. 60-watt bulb in them. Finally, I saw 'way above eye level on a rack of about 20 options: two fluorescent lights! I chose the smaller one which holds three bulbs. It should look good AND give off a lot of light. Hopefully it won't look too big in the small bathroom.

And for the other two lights, we need more wattage, so I picked up sort-of track lighting that isn't, a Gorgonesque contraption with three heads coming out. The one for the bedroom has a white background, and the other one for the office has a chrome backing. If they fit, I think they'll do the trick.

I went to check out, and just like Home Depot, there was a line. None of the lines were very long, but I thought I'd try their Self Check-Out, which was conspicuously empty. I had done them at Home Depot, so the process couldn't be too difficult. I figured out how to scan the bar codes. But I couldn't guess what the machine wanted next. There was no mention of credit card, and yet that step, logically, would be next. Finally, one of the Lowe's helpers stepped up, took my credit card firmly in her hand and swiped it. "You're supposed to do this next. I don't know why it doesn't tell you to do that." Because working these machines is not self-evident! But there's no use in screaming. It's just part of the hassle that you take on when you do a remodel. I guess you just know that going in. (Or I should have.)

So I came home and put those lights in their proper rooms so Glenn and crew could find them when needed. The new guy was working on laying the white tile on the far wall in the old bathroom. This tile, of course, is where the old window used to be; it's currently the side of the new walk-in closet.

Glenn, I noticed, wasn't there when I arrived, but showed up soon afterwards. He informed me that my shower door had imploded for no reason -- this is the shower door, only about 5 years old and made of safety glass, that was in my current bathroom. "So I went out and got another one for you. It's on us. I'm just glad it didn't happen to you while you were in the shower." I thought it was very decent of them to buy me a new one, as the old one was obviously ready to self-destruct. How weird.

I'm glad Glenn was all right, that when the glass broke, it didn't catch some flesh. Two days ago, Jose took a chunk out of his left thumb by sawing the planks for the outside of the house. "A pound of flesh," I muttered as I saw the blood dried up below the large bandage. Jose continued to work that day, but couldn't use it. It was obvious to me that he was in a lot of pain. When he showed up at my house yesterday morning for work, Glenn sent him to see the doctor. Glenn carried on all day alone.

....which means that we are currently behind schedule and may not finish this week. Glenn hopes that, with another worker, promised to him by Ernie, he will be able to catch up. I look around me at all the work that remains to be done, and shake my head.

As long as it's all done by next Monday, before the carpet shows up...

BUT, I was VERY pleased to see that he and his helper got in all of the custom-cut tile in the bathroom (grout to be filled in later, I surmise), AND the brand new bathroom lights and bedroom light. The office light isn't up yet. Soon...

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