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Bathroom Remodeling Is a Real Soap Opera

By Jerry Zezima

Between long, daily, reservoir-draining showers to keep myself smelling fresh as a daisy, frequent shaving mishaps that draw enough blood to choke a vampire and so many throne sittings that I could be a member of the royal family, you’d think I would be flush with excitement at the prospect of remodeling the bathroom.

But shopping for tile, a vanity, a toilet and fixtures for the sink and shower has left me, if you will pardon the expression, drained.

The project became necessary after I took a shower and noticed that there was something wrong with the plumbing (the shower’s, not mine). Specifically, the water kept dripping out of the shower head. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t turn it off.

I didn’t want to use brute strength because I don’t have any. Also, I feared that I would cause a torrent to rival Niagara Falls, a tourist attraction that, unlike my bathroom, has postcards.

So my wife, Sue, who claims that I spend most of my waking hours in the porcelain convenience, told me to call a plumber.

I contacted our contractor, Anthony, who came over with Andy, a plumber who has done wonderful work for us before. Both are great and talented guys.

They agreed that because of leakage and aging, a remodeling was in order.

“For me?” I wondered.

Anthony shook his head and said, “You need to do something soon before you have more problems.”

Thus did Sue and I embark on a search for new tile and all the other items that would make our bathroom a nice place to visit, even in the middle of the night.

On the first of so many trips to a home improvement store that we should have been given our own parking space, Sue and I were confronted with endless choices of tile, some for the shower, others for the floor.

And I learned a valuable lesson: When it comes to bathrooms, size doesn’t matter. Even a small space like ours can’t be remodeled without a large bottle of headache-alleviating pain reliever, which is kept in the vanity.

The question was: Should our new vanity be white or dark?

That conundrum was down on the list because first we had to pick tile. Should it be white in the shower and patterned on the floor? Or vice versa? Should we get subway tile for the shower? If so, would I have to spray it with graffiti? Should the floor tile be square? Rectangular? Hexagonal? How about a trapezoid? Should it be porcelain or matte? Who’s Matt? Should we have a niche in the shower wall so we can store shampoo, conditioner and fruity-scented body wash? Will picking a new sink give me a sinking feeling? Which fixtures should we get? Brushed nickel or chrome? Why shouldn’t I take any brushed nickels? What about a toilet? Standard or fancy? In the end, who cares? Would a new mirror make me look any better while trimming my nose hair? Shower doors or a curtain? Would this be curtains for me? And, most important, how much of our liquid assets would go down the drain before all this was mercifully over?

Mitch, a friendly department manager who became our shopping adviser, was very helpful.

“This is more complicated than quantum physics,” I grumbled.

“It’s actually pretty simple,” he assured me. “Your wife will make the final decisions. Husbands don’t have much say in the matter. It takes the pressure off.”

Mitch, a husband himself, was right. I’ve always believed that it’s best for a guy to be like a bobblehead doll: You nod and you smile and you don’t say anything.

We went through countless shower, floor and vanity combinations, even taking individual pieces of tile home to envision how they would look in the bathroom, before Sue made up her mind.

I must say (I really don’t have to, but just to be safe, I will) that she made all the right choices.

Now Anthony and Andy have to do the remodeling. When they’re done, I’ll invite the royal family to come over and sit on the throne.

— Jerry Zezima

Jerry Zezima writes a humor column for Tribune News Service, which distributes it to newspapers nationwide and abroad. He is also the author of six books, Leave It to Boomer, The Empty Nest Chronicles, Grandfather Knows BestNini and Poppie’s Excellent AdventuresEvery Day Is Saturday and One for the Ageless, all of which are “crimes against literature.” He has won seven awards from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists for his humorous writing.

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