Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Grab the saddle, kids.... Mama's gonna check out a bathroom.

So, you know I'm deathly afraid of horses, right? What with all those teeth and all. And by all I am specifically referring to their deadly bucking skills. But did you know I also love horses? Really. I do. From a distance, I mean. A very far distance. I really do think they are beautiful, graceful animals and there's a part of me that envisions myself sitting high in that saddle, galloping through an open field with the bright sun warming my face.

And then I remember in an instant it can all come crashing to a halt as the horse bucks my unsuspecting self off the saddle, stamps my body to a lifeless, bloody pulp and bites me. Hard.

Logically I know that if I ever want to reach my goal of enjoying a trail ride I need to suck it up and get on a dang horse. Teeth and all! And that is exactly why I decided to suck it up and talk to Chris Stebnitz at Stebnitz Builders about my whole bathroom hell situation.

It went kind of like this:

Look, I'm probably wasting your time, but there are 5 people in our house and only one bathroom and also I think there's a leak in the only bathroom we have and we're not wealthy so I don't know what we can even afford, but I priced out caskets on the internet, you know, just in case I actually do kill someone as a result from the stress having only one bathroom is taking on me, and those caskets are surprisingly expensive, so I'm thinking maybe you could help me? With the bathroom, I mean. Not the casket because I don't think we're going that route.

Luckily for Chris, we went to school together over two decades ago and I'm pretty sure he remembers how strange I was so he probably reminded himself that he needed call the authorities just yet. Chris was older than me and one of those uber cool kids with tons of friends and also he played the saxophone super awesomely and was in the jazz band. I played the clarinet. And wore think, purple, plastic framed glasses. "Uber cool" missed me by at least a gazillion miles which is partially to blame for my fear of horses that have teeth. (The other part to blame is my father and that goat obsessed horse he brought home when we were kids, but that's another story for another day.)

I sat on the phone and vomited words at Chris while he sat and listened:

We have no idea what we're doing. Or what we should do. We have a house that obviously needs help, but we don't even know where to start. We think of one thing but then quickly realize that affects fifteen other things - like a domino effect. Or worse, Jenga. A big old crumbling pile of blocks. We can see everything going quickly out of control. We don't know how to start or what to do once we get going; so we do nothing.

After my long-winded, one-sided therapy session, I felt relief. I felt lighter just putting my fears out there. At that moment I didn't care if he thought I was crazy, or stupid, or ignorant, or naive. Because I have felt all those things when it comes to home repairs and home maintenance. And there it was. All of it.

Then he said, "What I hear you saying is that there are parts of your house that just aren't working for your family." Yes! Exactly! Wait? I said that? I didn't realize I was so succinct and concise. Nice job, me!

Chris heard me. He heard what I was saying in between the rambling words of fear and offered this advice; homework, if you will. I was to get with Big V and write down everything we wanted done in our house. After that, we were to mark which items were the necessary ones in order to separate them out from the "we dream of's."  Those items which were safety or compliance issues would need to be dealt with first. (For instance, that leaking pipe in the main bathroom. That cannot continue because it would just cause more damage to the house.) Then we were to mark those items that would be necessary to improve the functionality of our family... things we needed to restore some peace.

I poured over my list. Walking through the house, looking at each of the rooms. The lighting, the flooring, the layout. For days I thought and wrote and changed and wrote some more. I typed up my list and used little asterisks to mark what I felt were the necessary items. I fixed my margins and printed out my two pages of size 10 font.

And then I asked Big V what he had come up with. He showed me the back of a wrinkled receipt with the words "laundry chute" scribbled across the top.

Laundry chute?


That's it? You want a laundry chute?


So, throughout this entire house, all you can think of is -- adding a laundry chute?




Are you being sarcastic? Because I know when I'm being sarcastic but sometimes I have a hard time knowing when you're being sarcastic because, well, obviously I've known myself longer than I've known you.

I'm not being sarcastic. You asked what I thought. And I think we need a laundry chute. Everyone chucks their dirty clothes down the basement stairs and leaves them there until someone else moves them. It's dangerous. A laundry chute would solve that problem. Besides, the bathroom is directly above the laundry room so it makes sense. It's an obvious, easy fix. And I want it.

You do realize if we get a laundry chute you're not allowed to dive down it pretending you're in some sort of Mission Impossible-robbing-a-casino-bank-robbery movie, right?

.... well, maybe just once....


HeatherB said...

I work alone. In an office where one wall is floor to ceiling windows. That looks out onto a campus. Filled with people that like to stare at me as though I am in a zoo. When you make me LAUGH OUT LOUD while reading, I get crazy looks. And by crazy, I mean they may actually be plotting how they will commit me. You are so funny, you deserve to have Stebnitz do it all free of charge!

Getrealmommy said...

I agree with HeatherB, you are very funny. I always get a good laugh from your posts!

Chris Stebnitz said...

Just to be fair to V and show that, yes we really do listen, he had two items on his list. The second was the safe.

If all else fails and everyone can't get on the same page for what your home should be, we are able to fashion caskets. I mean, if they're just going in the back yard, how environmentally sound do they really need to be?

Diligently working to help reform your home in a way that better fits the way you live your life in a way that is sensitive to your budgetary boundaries,


Chris Stebnitz
Stebnitz Builders

Chris Stebnitz said...

Also, I NEVER remember Mr Ed bucking Wilbur from the saddle, stamping him to a bloody pulp and, then just for good measure, taking a bite out of him.

I feel an intervention coming along real soon. Not the horse head in the bed trick - although that would be funny to see your face when you woke up - but a real face-to-muzzle confrontation to clear the air and rid you of this unnatural equine fear.

Phoenix Rising said...

Crap. I completely forgot about that safe. In my defense that wasn't on the paper... but he did mention it to me. Oops! Looks like Stebnitz Builders has perfected the art of listening... (whereas I have not).