Welcome back to Magpie TV! We’re NOT going to recap the last show because that is an insult to your intelligence. So here is:
Episode Two: A Bathroom Is Born!
Part One: The Magpie was so thrilled to have the condo that she initially planned few creature comforts. When she pictured herself in the condo in fact she didn’t think that much about furnishings. Instead she pictured the condo as an empty vessel, the Magpie’s willing muse, waiting to be adorned with whatever Magpie chose. In particular the Magpie planned to fill the echoing rooms with pulsing rock, lonely ballads,sophisticated jazz, or whatever moved her heart that day as, oblivious to the world around her, she covered the bare walls with expressive colorful murals. She would heed the long suppressed urge to build layer after layer of color, to make the marks her heart demanded. But first, she needed a bathroom.
For as it has been written, what artist can use a yellow commode with a splintered wooden toilet seat? No doubt some have had to use such facilities but the sheer ugliness of the bathroom, with its tired linoleum, speckled formica countertop and depressing 80s vanity light caused a visceral reaction of disgust in the Magpie. When her husband suggested they gut the whole thing, she was willing to wait a month or so to have something less offensive installed. Since neither of them had ever gutted a bathroom, they needed the services of Bubba the Contractor.
Part Two: Magpie knew of Bubba from a friend who had used his services. Bubba, dressed in his freshly ironed work pants, met with the couple and agreed to take on the job. Magpie and her husband never made a better decision than hiring Bubba, whose honesty and work ethic were an even match to those of Mr. Magpie, who found himself able to let go of the idea that he should paint all the ceilings himself. Bubba soon got to work tearing out the iron tub and tile surround.
Because of the dust and mayhem in the apartment, condo life became more of a spectator sport for the couple. Each week they would stop by the condo to admire the work they had not had to perform themselves.
Magpie began the process of picking out replacement materials for the bathroom. Bubba recommended that Magpie go on her day off to look for granite, cabinets and tile in places like Hernando or Southaven MS, and no, Magpie, a city girl, did not know where those places were. Unlike HGTV where a designer takes a client to a warehouse and shows them two examples of what won’t work and one example of what will, which the homeowner happens to love, Magpie was on her own. At the cabinetry place they didn’t know what midcentury modern meant. They just had these certain cabinets and Magpie was to choose one. She did the best she could.
The cabinet place had some run of the milll granite that could be chosen for the bathroom vanity but Magpie did not like any of them. So they sent her to another large warehouse in MS. This warehouse was full of shiny granite, tile, and plumbing fixtures. Magpie decided to purchase as much there as she could just to simplify things. That is how she chose a granite which was just as exquisitely beautiful as it was expensive. When she thought back she realized the salesperson had never mentioned the price to her. Should she choose another, less expensive granite, saving money but delaying the project? The cabinets could not be made until the granite was chosen. The tile would not be laid until the cabinets were installed, and so on. Stay tuned for her decision!
Part Three: ( Upbeat music) They kept the original granite!!!! Bubba the Contractor, knowing the couple had not meant to spend that much on granite, had the cabinet company agree to keep the rest of the slab to be used for their small kitchen countertop. Finally after, unbelievably, a dispute between the couple over what kind of TOILET to choose, all materials were chosen and ordered.
Magpie and her husband realized that they had learned a lot doing this project. Having bought the condo in August, they had expected to be able to use it by the fall. Now as the months rolled by they laughed at their folly. And then there was the whole communication thing. She and her husband held many meaningful conversations along the lines of:
Magpie: Bubba called today. He said something about.. a hot water heater squirmaloid. I think he had to turn it around. Or backwards.
Husband: ( Excitedly) What do you mean! That thing runs on a 150 powered molly bolt engine! Did you remind him of the Euripidean pass that has to be drilled from under the cortical edge?” (That’s how science stuff sounded to Magpie.)
Magpie: (Indignantly, feeling unappreciated because she always had to deal with tedious condo stuff on her days off) NO! I did NOT ask him. I can only tell you what he told me, that some part of some thing had to be done. Why don’t you call him yourself if you want to know!
So sometimes the husband did go straight to Bubba to discuss mechanical matters which simply did not appeal to Magpie. Magpie found ways to stay busy, for with Bubba’s superior capabilities she was rarely needed in her accustomed supervisory role.
And while in town she attended a book signing
She attended estate sales and looked at other people’s collections.
Sometimes the hardest part of waiting for the condo to be ready was having to say to people who asked,”No, We’re not using the condo. They’re still working on the bathroom.” Probably some wondered if the condo existed at all!
Part Four In December, the bathroom, minus paint and towel racks, was ready to use. It had not occurred as smoothly as such a thing appeared to on HGTV, but Magpie and her husband had lots of opportunities to practice patience and breathing, neither of which are shown much on other home remodeling shows!
Magpie was grateful for a bathroom even though she could not yet bear to walk barefoot in the rest of the space. Surely the bathroom was the hardest part though, and with Bubba’s help the rest of the work would fly. “I’m also grateful to my friend Jane the designer who helped me decide on tile and fixtures. I haven’t exactly told her yet but she’s going to help me with every other decision I have to make going forward. She doesn’t watch TV, so she won’t know I’ve said this.” Magpie, we sure hope you’re right about that!!! Be sure to stay tuned for the next episode when work moves beyond the bathroom! Of course we welcome your comments and suggestions!