Friday, July 31, 2015

Modernizing the Master Bath

It was suppose to be a tiny bath fix-it.  Change out the 1980's tiled shower stall and replace one of the sinks in the large master bathroom.  Nothing big.  It would've taken less than a week.

However, when our contractor started asking us questions, like "are you planning to change out the linoleum in the toilet area", which was next to the shower stall, he then said that if we are going to use tile, we might as well carry it into the large bathroom area.  Hmm, well, that made sense.  What about your tub, he asked.  "Do you plan to keep it?".  Well, no, we don't plan to keep it because it's U-G-L-Y, and we're just going take care of that sometime in the near future.  Faster than you can flush a toilet, we agreed with him that tearing out the old bathroom and installing new everything was going to be more cost-effective in the long-run.  The contractor gave us a list of things to do, and off we went to El Cajon Plumbing and Heating Supply.
One of the first things we saw in the showroom was this beauty of a freestanding, or standalone, tub.  We knew we were going to purchase one, but not this one.  It was obviously very expensive.  It took us days to select the tub, but in the end, it was that tub because "if you're going to spend your money for this, you might as well spend a couple hundred more to get that", says the sales associate.  Of course, why not, the show room tub was gorgeous, after all.  We placed the order.  We were told it would take about a month for the tub to arrive.  A month?  Where is it coming from? The Netherlands.  Of course, it is.

Week 1:  Shower tall and floor-to-ceiling cabinets are removed, and plumbing parts replaced, then reconfigured for new modern bath fixtures.
Week 2:  Drywall goes up and Swanstone bath kit going up in the shower stall.  Tools and materials everywhere in the bath, bedroom and upstairs hallway.

Plastic sheeting, blowing in the breeze, separates the master bath from the bedroom.  
After waiting for weeks for the Queen of Bathtubs to arrive, it's delivered to our home.  It currently sits in the master bedroom. Interesting story about our tub.  As I said earlier, this particular tub is manufactured in the Netherlands.  When we placed the other, there were only three of this model.  El Cajon Plumbing ordered ours, and bought the other two.  It was shipped to the states and delivered to a Customs and Border Patrol bonded warehouse somewhere, not too far from a port, for clearance.  Then the tub was taken to a warehouse in Georgia where it sat some more until a carrier could deliver it to San Diego. When it arrives to the house, the tub is brought to the bedroom where it sits for days.
Week 3:  The tub base and shell still sits in the bedroom.  After the walls are painted, the tub base is brought into the bathroom to mark for placement on the floor, then brought back to the bedroom.  I can't tell you the number of times I've stubbed my toe on boxes of fixtures that were eventually placed next to the tub on the right, as I made my way to the hallway bathroom in the middle of the night. Not fun at all.  My stress level goes up a notch every time that happens.
The contractor begins wiring the bathroom for lighting.  Our bathroom was always dark and awful with fluorescent lighting.   I always complained to Gerry how I couldn't see what I was doing when applying makeup in the morning.  Later in the week, the lighting is installed - a small and simple chandelier and three saber wall sconces.  The mess throughout the upstairs of the house is getting messier.  More boxes of stuff arrives, and it takes its place on the bedroom and hallway floors.  More work on the plumbing continues.  I'm starting to feel so stressed looking at everything on the floors.  All the hammering, drilling and guys going in and out of the house is getting to me, too.  What I don't like the most is always having to be dressed by 8am.  I've been retired for a year and a half, and I've enjoyed lingering in my pjs on most days into the late morning.  Don't get me wrong.  I do love the change that's happening in my bathroom.
Week 4:  The tub is brought back into the bathroom so we can see what it looks like under the chandelier, in the day time and the evening.  It is absolutely stunning.  This was not the chandelier of my dreams for this bathroom, but one day I will get my bubble chandelier. I'm just going to have to save for it.
I love how the chandelier casts shadows on the walls in the night time.  My cat, Hero, is eyeing moving shadows on the floor.  It's so mesmerizing.
The shower stall is completed, fixtures are up, and the shower door is ordered.  We now shop around for floor tiles and light dimmers.

The master bath is simple in its design, bathed in the color white, polished chrome fixtures throughout and absolutely no tiles anywhere except for the floor.  The cabinets arrive and are installed, and holes drilled for the hardware.  We will be using knobs and handles.  It's decided that the pink plastic will remain on the cabinets until the job is completed to keep it safe from knicks and scratches.

Week #5:  The beautiful blue pearl granite slab arrives.  It's going to be measured for sink placements.  Unfortunately, the granite guy made a mistake and has to pay, out of his pocket, for another great big granite slab of blue pearl.  The tile is now being installed and it's looking great.  The tub comes back in so we can see what it's going to look like, and to measure distances around the freestanding tub. There is ample space.  The tub will be placed at an angle versus running perpendicular to the show window, for more interest. The window guy arrived early in the week to measure the windows, five total, for faux wood blinds and faux wood shutters (they are more durable than wood).  The glass guys arrived this morning to measure the wall space for a super-large mirror to be placed above the sink area.

The bath contractor says his job will be finished tomorrow.  We'll see.  He said it was going to take 4 weeks for him to complete the job.  It took five weeks plus one day, maybe.  There's still more work to be done.  I can't wait to show you the finished product.  

Meanwhile, I will take care of myself.  The stress has brought on what I thought was my lupus flaring up with rheumatoid arthritis.  It turns out I have osteoarthritis in my shoulders now, and bone pain from possibly a medication I've been taking for years.  I was sent to the lab for blood tests and xrays.  I'm waiting for the results.  For now, I'm not sleeping well because of the pain, and yes, I'm still bumping into things in the middle of the night.  I keep telling myself that this bath remodel is almost over.

Stay well and get happy,

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Collections from My Travels

It all began with this .................

My first travel souvenir.  I traveled to Manila, Philippines when I was 17 years old.  I found a book store that sold old and unusual books and found this old copy, which was translated to English and published in Manila in 1957.  The very first copy of this title was published in Ghent, Belgium in 1891, entirely written in Spanish.  I heard about this book from my mom, who liked telling me all about the Philippines' national hero, Jose Rizal.  I had to have this book. Many years later, I still haven't read it, but at least I have it!

Here are a few items I've collected over the years:

This is an art fabric panel that I purchased in Greece and had custom-framed.  It's of Orpheus playing the lyre to charm every living creature and to help keep peace wherever he goes.  The goddess is Athena who reminds people that wit, intellect and creativity can be used to solve problems and achieve any goal.  This piece hangs in my living room as a reminder to all who enter to simply chill and enjoy yourself. 
On my dining room wall hangs a handmade Greek icon in the old traditional manner of Byzantine art.  It's of Jesus and his disciples. It has been painted with egg, tempura and gold on canvas and old wood.  The sword comes from Toledo, Spain.  It cost a pretty penny, and I walked away with buyer's remorse, but now I'm so happy I bought it.  You should see the larger swords at the shop . . . . . so exquisite.
Strange story about this small rug from Istanbul, Turkey.  However, that's a whole other blogpost.  It's that bizarre!
Shown above are elegant Venetian wine glasses (the red and blue), lavender sugar from the Cotswolds, chocolate wine sauce from Taos, New Mexico and sassafras concentrate from Kentucky.

I love picking up "global treasures" on my travels.  I used to buy T-shirts with that city or country's name on it, but now I'll buy a clothing piece that is particular to the country and widely worn by the local women.  Other treasures include jewelry, textiles, wine and fine liquor, shoes, bags, and other unique and beautiful goodies.  Some of my treasures didn't cost much, and others far more than I wanted to spend, but I had to have it because it would look awesome in my home or on me!

These treasures are special to me because they remind me of the places I had always dreamed of exploring, and how I managed to make it happen for me and my family. Looking at my treasures, and touching them brings back those special moments.  
This chocolate bar is one of the things I brought back from my last trip abroad.  Beer in chocolate?  I purchased this at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.  Excuse me while I enjoy this candy bar while I type. (smile)

I always make sure to bring back a little something for my kids, grandchildren, mom, siblings and friends.  Sometimes I also like to play a game called, "Where in the world is Marie?" when we're not in full throttle touring mode.  Through Facebook, I'll throw out clues that don't reveal too much information all at once about my whereabouts.  The answers I get are hilarious and plenty, and my friends will keep on guessing and guessing.  The winner gets a prize, a little souvenir from that place.  It's so much fun!

What do you collect on your travels?