Thursday, 21 June 2012

Home Renovations Relay 2010

We want to renovate our bathroom. It is ancient and moldy and when we turn on the shower, it rains in the family room below. We have chosen fixtures, debated over tile, and decided on the design. However, we can't renovate until we have an alternative to our one and only shower. We have three teenage sons, and a few weeks without a shower will render them public health hazards.

At first we considered running them in the car through the car wash once a week with the windows down. We considered checking the kids into a homeless shelter for a few weeks. We priced what it would cost to get them all gym memberships so they could shower there. The logistics were daunting, so we decided since we eventually wanted a second shower in the lower level of the house anyway, we might as well install it now.

To install the second shower, we first have to knock a hole into the powder room wall to expand into the garage. The powder room is smaller than a kitchen cupboard and you have to sit in the sink in order to close the door so you can get to the toilet behind it. Expanding into the garage will solve the problem, and the garage is too small to ever hold a car anyway.

However, we can't break into the garage until we build a shed to hold the bikes, lawnmower, snowblower, sleds, snowboards, skates, table saw, and lawn furniture currently stored there. We have a lovely corner of the back yard that would be perfect for such a shed.

We can't build the shed until we install a gate into the back yard to allow the work crew in to pour the concrete slab. The wheelbarrows won't fit up the side of the house between us and the neighbours. They inform me they need five feet of clearance and we have only four. They refuse to schlep cement in buckets up the side of the house. They will need to access the back yard directly from the side street.

We can't install the gate until we rip out a section of the hedge. This hedge is eight feet tall and so wide my husband and I can stand on ladders on each side of it and our industrial hedge clippers won't meet in the middle. Taking out this chunk of hedge will be like clear-cutting the rainforest.

Once the section of hedge is out, we will need to erect a temporary fence to keep the dog in the yard and small children out of our fish pond. Once the shed is done, we can put in a permanent gate. Try to find someone willing to take on a single gate. Eight fencing companies inform me it is too small a job for them to consider. But they'd be happy to give us a quote if we want to rip out the rest of the 310-foot-long hedge and fence the whole yard.

So when people ask why I'm buying a wood chipper and an axe, I'll say it's so I can renovate my bathroom.

Maybe the boys can just bathe in the fish pond...

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