Not-So-Square and Other Renovation Tales

Renovations.  It’s a word that sends a chill deep into my bones. You see, in my house, renovations actually mean I have to do the work. No contractors, no professionals involved.  So when my wife and I agreed it was time to renovate the downstairs bathroom, I got a little nervous.

With all the confidence of someone who really did not know what they were getting into, I tackled the job. How hard could it be to remove the old shower, install a new one, tile the floor, and install some new fixtures? How hard? Let me tell you….

We started with the shower. Simple enough. My eldest son took all the tiles off in an hour. That was easy!

And then the work stalled. That was six months ago.

It’s a good thing we have a tub and shower in the main bathroom upstairs; at least the kids could still use the toilet and sink downstairs. That was until two months ago when we decided to really get going on this project. Over spring break I tore out the drywall in the shower and removed all the fixtures and peeled up the lino. Empty room—things were looking promising!

But that was when things really started to go wrong.

First, I installed the new shower base. It is fiberglass and perfectly square. The alcove it was going into turned out to be “not-so-square.” I had to remove one of the walls to get things square—no big deal. Unfortunately, this meant that the drain no longer lined up. Again, no big problem, I just jack-hammered up the concrete and cut the drain pipe so I could re-build one that lined up. Believe it or not, I was still feeling pretty good about things.

On to the shower walls.  This is when I realized the fact that the concrete floor that was not exactly level was a BIG deal. Over the three feet of the shower base, the floor was out by 1/8 of an inch. However, when that 1/8 of an inch is extrapolated up the length of a seven foot shower wall, things were out by over a full inch.

So, I took it all apart again.

From here, things continued to go sideways. Next up was the problem with the in-floor heating and the repeated issue of a concrete floor that was not level. This was followed by problems with the old copper pipes in the ceiling. Followed further by spacing issues between the toilet and the new vanity we purchased.

Eight months after we started, we are finally getting to a point of seeing this renovation finish up. Maybe….

I am reminded of how much these renovations are like our own lives; but God has infinitely more expertise and patience. This became so clear to me recently while I was working with some grade six students on crystal radios—but that is another story completely! For now, let’s just say I see in myself this tendency to be out of level and to have little issues that have to be worked through in order to become the person that my Lord intends for me to be.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a bathroom to finish.

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