Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What Was I Thinking?

I have noticed many things over my long years, some of little consequence and some of major consequence. I am going to tell you about a major one: renovating a room in your house. Let me start with this.......DON'T DO IT!! It is like a cancer that infests itself in the foundation of your bank account. Once you start it doesn't stop and one room leads to another and another and another...well, you get the picture. What starts out to be a little weekend project turns into a wallet bloodletting experience and excruciating ordeal that will drain you like a vampire with an insatiable appetite. I know you're saying, "Oh, Paul it can't be that bad" and "Aren't you exaggerating just a bit much?" Well, yes I am...it's really much worse than all that! Take my word for it.
My wife and I decided that we had to do the Master Bathroom over because it was now 25 years old and really in bad shape. It did have to be done and we figured it wouldn't cost too much to make it nice and contemporary. On the surface that would normally be correct but when you add this and you add that, you are suddenly over budget and overwhelmed. But you rationalize it because it is needed. Let me just say that guys don't really care too much about this sort of stuff. We generally don't like too much change and we do things to make the little woman happy and to keep the peace. (Or is that piece?) After all, if it weren't for women we'd probably be still living in caves. We would have still invented television to watch sports and porn but we'd be in caves just the same. But I digress. The bathroom came out terrifically and looked like something you'd see in 'House Beautiful'. All was right with the world again and life was good, with the exception of one minute problem; now the master bedroom looked cruddy and old in comparison. After all, that was 25 years old also. What should we do? What could be done? The answer was obvious to my wife. We should redo that room also just so that it all flowed nicely together as one. Hell, we could do it cheaply. The point was just to make it look new enough to compliment the now palatial 'Master Bath'. I say palatial because it was all marble, polished brass fixtures, crown molding and all top of the line finishing touches. I mean, how could we skimp on a room we were going to use so much and it really didn't matter that not many would ever see it. It was for 'us'...wasn't it? So, one month and many underestimated dollars later, we had a brand spanking new 'Master Bedroom'. Now we could rest in comfort in our little lap of luxury and just enjoy what we had done.
We could now finally be proud of our accomplishments...if it weren't for one last thing. The second bathroom was falling apart and time had really taken its toll on it and very soon, me, and although I saw it coming, I couldn't get out of its way. Like the eye of a hurricane, it is only calm for a little while and then all hell breaks loose. The tiles were falling off the walls and coming up off the floor and there were some water stains, mold and mildew from years of abuse. After all, it was 25 years old and we were sure it could be done pretty inexpensively and stay within a small budget. It was a pretty small bathroom so it shouldn't be too dear to fix up. Do you see where I'm going with this? How come I didn't? Well, after another two months or so, it was done and I must admit, it came out great. We were finally done. I could see the sun shining through the clouds, the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, the finish line at the end of the race.....I think you get the point. We now had an absolutely beautiful Master Suite and Guest Bathroom. NOTE: The last guest we had that stayed here was 23 years ago and so, I guess it was imperative that we be ready for our next guest.
It was a shame though that when you walked in the front door, the foyer didn't make a statement. It is, after all, the first thing you see when you walk into a home and it should reflect something about the people that live there...so said my wife. I felt that it did reflect something about the owners of this home and indeed did make a statement. It said that these people are obviously broke! But that wasn't going to stop us, was it? Not according to my wife. It just had to be done. The foyer was 25 years old too, remember? How could we live in such squalor? So, up came the old floor tile, down came the old wallpaper and oh yes, we have a little half bathroom right by the front door that couldn't be ignored. We did the other two bathrooms didn't we? We didn't want to hurt the little bathroom's feelings. How much could such a small half a bath cost anyway? A pittance, in the words of Ralph Kramden. A mere bag of shells. Plus, I didn't care anymore. I had lost my will to fight it. I already needed a transfusion anyway and I was going down for the count. (Count Dracula, that is). The foyer was tremendous when it was done, a statement was made and the half bathroom became 'the little bathroom that could'.
It was finally all over. It was a lot of work and a lot of money, but it was definitely worth all of the aggravation. The house was new and beautiful and if it weren't for the rugs, it would have been perfect. But with all of the work that was done and with all of the trampling from bringing all the junk in and out of the house during the past few months, the rugs had been ruined and just had to be replaced. You can only steam clean them so much, I was told, before they have had enough and don't forget, they were 25 years old. They were due to be changed and changed they shall be. So was the new law of the land.
Could this be it? Could this be the pinnacle? The accumulation of all we had achieved in such a short span of time? I certainly thought so. But being an entertainer, having many friends and both of us coming from such close families, we have many parties and social gatherings. And no matter how many people we have over here at one time for any such event, we inevitably all end up in the kitchen. There would sometimes be as many as 40 people huddled in the kitchen at one time, which was hard with such a small room. Thank God my wife had a solution for such a problem. We could redo the kitchen and make it bigger. After all, it was 25 years old now and its time had come. The appliances were old and archaic, the floor was the original linoleum and the counter was just not enough space for entertaining so many people at one time. Not to mention that there weren't enough seats at the table for everyone. But enough was enough. We had added a booth, garden window and new back door just the year before. I had to finally tell my wife that I was tapped out and that was that. We just weren't going to do anymore at this time. I hated to do it but I had to put my foot down and stand my ground. So, we knocked out the back wall of the house and added a large conservatory room, that became part of the new kitchen, with an ideal large granite counter that wraps around the entire room and another one with bar stools for more seating. We got all new appliances and changed the whole layout of the room altogether to make it perfect for any occasion. And I must say, that it is truly perfect and worth every penny I didn't have. The new conservatory is all windows from top to bottom and overlooks the deck and back yard. The back yard is breathtaking with gardens and an enormous built-in pool, gazebo, arbor, retaining walls, bridge and pond and a little shed that looks like a small version of our home. Did I mention that I did all of that work myself from the years 1999 to 2005? After all, the back yard was 25 years old, not very nice and just had to be redone.
The house was now complete, finally! Was it all worth it? Yes. Would I do it all again? Probably. Did I wish that I had never started this whole thing to begin with? Ask my wife. Would I rather have sold the house and let the new owners worry about all the 25 year old things? YOU BET YOUR ASS!! That's what I have been trying to say here. Don't start, don't begin and don't even entertain the idea of starting a little weekend project unless you are ready for the consequences of your actions. Sell, rent, live in a tent or go on the road. Hell, go live in the woods and commune with nature. You'll still have money in your pockets and you won't have to even think about such things. No pressure, no 'statements' and you won't have to worry about where the bathroom is or how it looks. Anyway, that's my advice. You can take it or leave it. It's entirely up to you. And so as my wife and I are now redoing the outside of the house with stucco, siding, new balconies, landscaping, pavers for the driveway and new fixtures because everything is 25 years old and just has to go, I only have one more thing to say to you.......Good freakin'luck and don't say I didn't warn you! I can see the future and it's expensive. We have twin girls and they are almost college age, but that's another story for another time and one I don't relish thinking about at the moment. Let me just end with this one last thought; looking back, I am surprised my wife has kept me around for as long as she has. After all, I've been here for 25 years now and with the frequency of things getting replaced around here, I know that I am most definitely on borrowed time.
Thanks for reading from, THE COMEDY TORNADO!!

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Anonymous said...

The Money Pit comes full circle! I feel your pain, Paul.

Great blog...outstanding writing and great insight to great times!!

Joe Maloney

Anonymous said...

have you ever read the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? I can't even buy new curtains without having to change tile too....