Aside from the minor bump at the beginning with the termites, which was resolved fairly quickly and easily (if not cheaply), the bathroom renovation has been going swimmingly. My contractor, in addition to making steady progress, is a super affable guy who didn’t even get mad at me when, two days in a row, I accidentally locked the bolt he didn’t have a key for and he had to climb in through a window to start work (he now has a bolt key). Last week I was riding high on a wave of triumph after finding a beautiful mirror that was on clearance AND had a further coupon discount and only required my painting the frame a different color. Instead of being a drag, that last bit made me even happier, because now I can feel all proud of my craftiness every time I look at that mirror. With that mirror, I thought I was finally done making all the decisions I needed to with regards to the bathroom. All my materials had been chosen and everything was ready to just be put in. Good thing since this is an incredibly stressful and busy time at work and I am already beyond fried.
And then Friday afternoon happened, which is when my contractor called me at work, where I was still stuck grading essays, and informed me that the tiles I had chosen weeks ago for both the shower and floor wouldn’t work. Apparently, you need things like bullnose edges and quarter rounds for showers (which my contractor didn’t think to tell me when I presented him with my choices a week ago and which I was too ignorant to ask), and the floor tile was completely the wrong size. Probably because I had accidentally chosen a wall tile. But whatever. It wasn’t going to work, and he needed something to start tiling with on Monday. As a result, yesterday turned into a frantic and frenzied search for tile. My friend Diana was sweet enough to come with me to a couple of the places and patiently hold up different tiles and say “uh huh” reassuringly when I asked if something looked nice to her.
I struck out with the first three tiles I liked, either because they were out of stock or didn’t come with the requisite pieces, which ratcheted up my frustration and anxiety about 1000%. Diana went on her way and I went home with two samples that seemed kind of like what I was looking for, but when I got home, it became very clear that they were NOT what I was looking for. So back into the car and on to Home Depot and Lowes, the only two stores carrying tile in the area open on a Saturday evening. Come 9:00 last night, I was standing in my bathroom staring at a bunch of tiles laid out and doing my best not to have a breakdown.
I was worried that I wasn’t picking a good tile for the shower, I was worried that I wouldn’t have time to find a good floor tile and everything would be closed on Sunday; add all that to the anxiety I already have about how much money this is all costing me and how many other things on the property I still need to address, and I felt very overwhelmed and very alone, which led to me thinking things like “Why do I own a whole freaking house by myself?!?” and “I’m so stressed, my body is probably releasing tons of cortisol right now and making me store belly fat!” (thank you, some article I read somewhere about that) and “I’m going to die alone and be eaten by wild dogs!” (thank you, Bridget Jones).
The worst is that I got really upset that I was getting so upset. In the large scheme of things, tile isn’t that major. We’re not talking life or death here. The only person affected by this decision is me. And yet here I was freaking out like some kind of hysterical idiot. I was failing utterly at being calm, cool, and confident, and I hate failing.
Cut to today and me driving down State College Blvd., which is kind of the tile mecca in Anaheim. I had my tile from Lowes that I’d picked up last night and actually quite liked when I woke up in the morning, but I still thought I should try a few more places to make sure there wasn’t something better. The first place I stopped in didn’t have anything I liked with the pieces I needed. At the second place, the owner (the only person in the store) sneered at my tile samples, then said his store only carried quality tiles and stones and that he didn’t have anything that would suit my needs. He came out of the store a minute after I did and, while I was starting my car, walked over to his red Ferrari and stroked it. True story. And that’s when I said to myself, “Fuck you, buddy–I like my Lowes tile,” and that was that. Shower tile decided. The next store had a floor tile that complemented my shower tiles beautifully. Done and done. I guess I should be grateful for the sneering guy, because that encounter flipped some kind of switch in me. Apparently, anger trounces anxiety and makes me decisive.
Hopefully, no new wrinkle will emerge when my contractor arrives tomorrow and sees what I’ve chosen this time. I can handle a problem in another area, but anything else tile-related at this point just might make me run into traffic. Hopefully, though, I can grow in my faith that while things might not be perfect or ideal a lot of the time, they do work out. And I probably will not die alone and be eaten by wild dogs.