The Bathroom Report: Day 26

After pissing away 14 days waiting for the county, we’re back in business. My crew of two has been here the last two days, patching holes, closing up the walls, and generally getting everything set to install the shower pan, lay in the heated floor, and start working through a small mountain of tile.

Heating the floor was one of my non-negotiable items – one of those things I’d have blown up the project without. With the master bathroom being as far from the furnace as it’s possible to be and still stay under roof, the room never quite gets warm. During heating season, the living room may be toasty, the master bedroom is comfy enough, but no matter how hard the furnace is working, the bathroom at the end of the house has never been anything but cold. That obviously won’t be an issue with Bathroom 2.0. Depending on how successful it is in the bathroom, it’s an option I’d like to look hard at when it’s time to replace the flooring in the currently carpeted sunroom.

I was forced, thanks to design oversight early in the process, to make one trade away this week. Since I was determined that the shower niche should centered on the wall instead of offset, I had to give up my heated towel rack. There was no way to mount it where it needed to be that wouldn’t have resulted in drilling directly into the back of the niche. I hated losing that little feature, but spending the next dozen or more years looking at an off-center niche would have made me far twitchier over time than continuing to be subjected to the indignity of room temperature towels. 

Seeing that the ceiling had been closed in, I asked “innocently,” if there was a plan to replace the vast sea of blown insulation that had come down when they opened it up. The sheepish look from the project leader told me that I probably wasn’t supposed to notice/ask about that. It’s not mentioned in the contract, so I’m sure I’ll get a change order and bill for it, but losing every bit of heat I put into the floor directly through uninsulated sheetrock in the ceiling feels like a dumb idea. Whatever it costs to rent an insulation blower for half a day will be worth it.

For all the good news this week, I’ve had to come to terms with the original project schedule being hopelessly blown. In fact, the original plan called for wrapping everything up next week. Well, everything except the glass panel for the shower that’s allegedly going to have an additional 3-6 week lead time from when they get the final measurements. The schedule might be blown and it may be well into July or August before I can actually use the shower, but I couldn’t help but notice that the pile of material and supplies stacked in my bedroom is dramatically less than it was at the beginning of the week. There’s visible progress and I couldn’t be happier to see it. 

Bon temps…

Not long ago, I was thoroughly impressed with myself because I thought I was actually going to get the go ahead to execute a contract with an estimated value of $1M. Today, I spent a good part of the morning discussing a couple of projects that had several single budget lines of in excess of $100B. Thinking in terms of numbers that large takes a different kind of skill set. It’s definitely not balancing your average checkbook.

As fun as it is to play master of the universe with this kind of money, it occurred to me that this is exactly the kind of spending that managed to get us into a $14T national debt. Sure, it’s going for neat stuff, but I think in the back of everyone’s mind they question when the high times are going to stop. Sooner or later we all know that music is going to stop and everyone’s going to be looking for a chair when it does. In the meantime, let the good times roll.

Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of posts previously available on a now defunct website. They are appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.

Mr. Clean…

I think it’s great that we have a contractor that handles the building’s janitorial services – cleaning restrooms, emptying trash, buffing the hallways. But I don’t understand why all of those things need to happen during normal business hours. Ever tried having a phone conversation when 2 industrial strength vacuum cleaners were running in your 40×40 foot section of cubicle farm? I don’t recommend it.

And while I’m on the topic of office cleanliness I’d happily trade one round of vacuuming a week for the occasional pass of a swiffer over the top of the cubicle walls. As a small test, I’ve had my name written in the dust on top of a file cabinet since Christmas. Seriously. I occasionally have to go back and go over it again it so the new dust doesn’t fill it in. I understand that it’s an office and not an operating room, but some attention to the little things would go a long way.

Editorial Note: This is part of a continuing series of previously unattributed posts appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.