Friday, January 20, 2023


I had to put my manuscript on the back burner for this week.  Much as I'd like to get lost in working on it, I have to get ready to go to Chicago.  This isn't going to be a relaxing trip and is going to be longer than I usually stay.  It's all about remodeling the bathroom.

Whenever you have work done, it's as if your place becomes their work site.  I am bringing clothes I can get into quickly as I'm sure they will be starting early.  They will be taking out the toilet, sink, old flooring, plaster, etc through the kitchen door, which makes the kitchen off limits.  There's a small second bathroom with a toilet and tub by the kitchen off a tiny bedroom that was meant as a maid's room.  The building is over 100 years old and I guess it was a middle class thing to have a live in maid.  But since all that is near the kitchen where there will probably be a lot of coming and going, it makes it kind of awkward to use.

The saving grace is my neighbor on the second floor has offered her place for me to use.  She's half moved out and living elsewhere so I won't have to worry about being an imposition. It means I'll have access to a shower and a whole bathroom.  

She and I have been trading favors.  She was helpful with my mother when she was living there.  And I took care of her cats  a couple of times.  She didn't want to board them or have someone just come and feed them.  She didn't want them to feel abandoned, so I spent a lot of time with them.  She was very grateful and would have not gone to Boston for her daughter's wedding if there wasn't someone to care for the cats.

I checked the weather, expecting typical January bitter cold, but surprisingly, it is going to be moderate with highs in the 30s.  Also doesn't seem like it will snow which will make things easier.  I didn't use to think twice about pulling a shopping cart over ice and snow from the grocery store.  Now, it not so easy.  

I will be hanging around my place most of the time.  With a building that old, there are unknowns that will only show up when they're working.  I hope there is nothing terrible.  It all started because the very old toilet (was not new when we moved-in in 1961) was leaking on the downstairs neighbor's ceiling.  It happened during the pandemic and I had to rely on my neighbors to let the plumber in.  He shut down the toilet and put tape over the top saying:  do not use.  I had hoped that all I had to do was replace the toilet and maybe a pipe in the floor, but I was told that I had to get a new floor.  Then what I thought was just paint coming off, was the plaster in the ceiling cracking.  I'm keeping the claw foot tub, but getting it reglazed, but the toilet and sink will be new.  I'm keeping the tile wall.  I prefer to think of it as classic rather than old.  The light fixture has to be changed and a switch added.   The terrible squares of vinyl tile with be replaced by ceramic squares.  They are going to put in plaster board and finally paint.  It won't be fancy when it's done, but functional.

I'm taking my work with me.  I have worked on manuscripts before when repairs have been going on and it seems to be okay.  Will definitely have a crochet project with me.  Something easy and meditative. 

One thing for sure is  I'm going to be a lot more relaxed on the trip home than the trip there


Patty said...

Wow, that sounds like quite a project -- hope all goes well -- there always seem to be surprises with remodels. We were having new tile put in a bathroom of a house we bought -- it had been inspected and given a good report. When the old floor was pulled up, it was discovered that the floor under the tub was totally rotted -- we were told the inspector should have seen that when he was in the crawl space under the house. It was a hassle but we finally got compensated for all it cost us.

I can't imagine choosing cats over a daughter's wedding but I guess people have different priorities. Wonder how the daughter felt about that.

Lots of crocheting for me -- in one of your posts from several years ago, you mentioned making a lapghan to donate to a woman who made them for a nursing home. I did that when my mother-in-law was in a nursing home -- they were well-received.

Good luck in Chicago.

Sally Morrison said...

Having workers in your home is always a happy/annoying experience. Love it when they are gone and the work is finished. Hope all goes well and the Chicago weather will be mild. Still miss my hometown but haven't gotten the gumption to travel back to see old haunts yet. Five years for me. All of my family and most of my friends have moved so it would basically be food and sites. Maybe someday.

Betty Hechtman said...

Patty, luckily, my neighbor didn't have to chose. Yes, I am expecting surprised when they start pulling everything apart. I'm sure the lapghans brighten things up.

Enjoy your crocheting!

Betty Hechtman said...

Sally, the contractor I'm working with comes highly recommended, so I have high hopes. Still will be glad to when it's done.

I know what you mean about family and friends being gone. I have one friend left in Chicago. The food is a definite draw, but the pandemic has left its mark. Places have closed or have shorter hours. I wonder if things will ever go back to the way they were.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Best of luck getting the replacement work done quickly, efficiently and well, Betty!

Patty said...

FYI -- I started a rectangular C2C afghan with ombre yarn in a color called cocoa -- very pleased with the shadings and the patterns the yarn makes.

Patty said...

Me again!! I've been going through your old blogs and just read the one where you mention watching the opening of Disneyland. My late husband and I lived in Long Beach at the time -- we watched Disneyland being built -- I especially remember the Matterhorn going up. We so enjoyed going on all the rides -- the Jungle River boats, It's a Small World -- so many great memories. After we had our two children, we took them numerous times -- we'd moved to Sacramento by that time but still managed a couple trips each year. Dan and I went to Disney World by ourselves when the kids were grown and away from home -- first time I'd seen an IHOP restaurant was in Florida!! Last time I've been in Disneyland was 15 years ago when my son and I took his daughter for her 8th birthday -- what a fun trip that was.

Linda D Osborn said...

My feelings about remodeling are mixed. When my husband was living, he did everything himself. Things look ok, and nothing has exploded yet ! Then I had the great house flood a couple of months after his death, I had to hire and supervise a month of work, including asbestos removal. They made a mess, and took much longer than necessary. Many workers really take advantage of insurance companies. You are wise to stay there, in your own apt. as much as possible when they are working. They will take fewer breaks, and talk less !! I did not give them a key. I stayed at my daughters at night, but every morning I got there to let them in, and stayed till they left at night.

chkntza said...

I hope all goes well with your remodeling. I'm so glad your neighbor is letting you stay at her place. When I had my one bathroom remodeled I stayed home. I made sure the toilet worked at all times. I used the shower in the board room in the garage during the remodel. Awkward but it worked out ok.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda O Johnston, thanks for the good wishes!

Betty Hechtman said...

Patty, it must have cool to watch Disneyland being built. It must have been a surprise to see all the changes when you went there 15 years ago. And now there are even more changes. The eight year old must be all grown up now. Nice that you have that memory.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda Osborn, it must have been hard when you had to deal with all the stuff yourself. The repairs from "the great house flood" sound horrible. I do think it is wise to be there when work is done. I tried to be there for when the workers done for my brother's place even when it meant flying cross country during the pandemic and carrying faucets in my suitcase.

The workers just started here and there have been questions already, so good I'm here. There's probably going to be some dust and they are moving the claw foot tub into a bedroom, but the place should e habitable with using my neighbors shower. The contractor is very nice. He did one of my neighbor's bathroom and his wife worked with the neighbor, so it's more personal.

Betty Hechtman said...

Chkntza, I am going to use my neighbor's shower, but plan to stay in my place. I figure I will just shut the bathroom door when they leave. The place is big enough that having the bath tub temporarily put in one of the bedrooms isn't a problem. I ;just figure that during the day this will be their workspace.

I have the same feeling about showering somewhere else that you did. It will e awkward, but doable. I am just grateful to have the option.