Wednesday was tile day! The beginning of the end of the bathroom reno. The first day in forever where I've not been run off my feet patching and painting walls, ripping out flooring and converting a dresser into a vanity. I stayed up late laying out exactly what I wanted for the tile mosaic, a splurge I found myself second guessing repeatedly the past few weeks, always coming back to it as being something I wanted. This morning the tile guy arrived and we discussed exactly how it was going to be. It was decided. I would have a 'bath mat' mosaic in front of the tub/vanity (the tub is to the left of the door, the vanity to the right) in a pattern like this:
And all day, I had a feeling. That it was too good to be true. That the feeling that everything was coming together was nothing more than a rouse. I left work anxious and arrived at home with a knot in my stomach. I texted one last time to a friend, in anticipation, and said:
Then I rounded the corner (no pun intended) and found this:
Let's review, shall we? Because, colour me purple but, the corners on these are NOT the same.
Not gonna lie... I had a minor (or major) freak out. I went away and came back, again and again, somehow thinking what I saw would have changed. I paced and pondered my options and then phoned Home Depot (who my contracted tile guy was booked through and, no, I don't need any "you shouldn't have gone through them" or "everyone I know has had trouble" comments because now is not the time and, really, they've done the job when others haven't wanted to and, if anything, I feel more protected having them as the middle man than if I had to deal with the tile guy alone, given the recent turn of events. A store can write off material as a loss. An independent installer? May not be as willing to do so) and explained the situation, only to be told I'd have to phone the install manager back at 9am. When explaining that the tile guy would return to finish the job at 7:30am and I just wanted to know what my options were I asked for a manager. And, when told they were busy, promptly broke into tears. Granted, I may be far too old to cry but it has gotten me out of many a situation where logic, reasoning and even anger and frustration have not. People hate to see a grown woman cry! Lo and behold, the manager to phone me back almost immediately. Speaking with him calmed me. He let me know that I would have options and that I should let the tile guy do his thing and we'd figure it out.
Now that the grout is in I can see it's not horrible. And after discussing it with the tile guy I understand why he did it (if you look closely at the photo it makes the mosaic fit perfectly between the tiles to the right and left of it, without having to have a thin strip of tile on either side and makes it so none of the black triangle tiles or long white edge tiles had to be cut) but the thing that bothers me? It's not what I had asked for. Is it livable? Sure. Would I have paid all the extra money to have done it if I had known the end result? Maybe not. And am I most upset by the fact the tile guy never even called to say he was changing things up? Absofuckinglutely!
And so, after reviewing all my options the tile will stay as-is (my second choice was to get rid of the mosaic completely and redo the whole thing with only basketweave) and I'll be refunded the cost of the mosaic.
Before the tile escapade I went on an errand with my "work mom" (don't we all have one of those? We should!). We were talking about nothing in particular when she asked what was keeping me here, in this town, in a city that seems to have nothing to offer me other than the most amazing friends a girl could ask for (although I must admit I seem to have amassed such wonderful people all over the world, for which I'm grateful- I'm looking at you right now!). I expressed how overwhelming it was that I could go anywhere, do anything.. to be in charge of picking out a place, a future. A path. She told me that our paths are already laid out, from the moment we are born and that I should just take a leap because wherever I may land (or, more likely, fall) is where I'm meant to be. I know she meant it to be comforting and freeing and maybe some day I'll see it as such but all I could think was that, if true, it isn't fair that no matter how hard I try to change my path it will be futile.
I will never have the tile I wanted.
I know it's just tile but I think part of the problem is it feels like it's more than that. This is the first time I've hired someone instead of doing it myself. This is the first time I've treated myself to "have it done right" and this is the first time I've tried to ask (and pay) for as much help from others as I could instead of going it alone. And this is the first time I was sure things would be different. Instead, I'm left trying to convince myself that it won't always be like this - that I won't always be left feeling that no matter how hard I try things won't work out. That it doesn't matter and I shouldn't bother.
This is the first project in a very, very long time where I have bothered, where I've tried not to focus on the things that seemed to go wrong and not read too much into the plaster wall that wouldn't cooperate, the plumbing that broke off in the wall, the hardwood floor that got scratched when removing the old tub or the piece of ceiling in the basement that fell down because of the way the tub was removed (overflow drain still attached, oops!). I'm staying the course and doing my best to be logical and not take things personally when they don't work out as planned.
But, man alive, it's tough!
This whole renovation project has been both exhilarating and deflating. I've found myself proud of all the things I've done (I cut a pipe using a jigsaw I didn't even know I owned!) and heartbroken at all the things I've had to do (and decide on) alone. I've been overwhelmed by the help I've gotten from friends (and the husbands and fathers of friends!) and underwhelmed by having no one to fully share this experience (and, yes, stress) with. And, time and time again, when it seems to be one thing after another (after another) and progress is slow and stress is high there's one thing I keep coming back to...
Sometimes all I really, really want is a hug.