The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Regrets, I've had a few...

By Antonios Maltezos


Since its remodel, I’ve stayed away from the powder room just off the entry way. I’ll use it only if it’s an emergency – if I know I won’t make it up the stairs to the big bathroom. Hasn’t happened very often because I’m generally well-timed, but still, sh*t happens.

I did the remodel myself, gutting the room so I could replace the floor tiles. They were of a 70’s color and pattern, very gross, cracked around the base of the toilet. What’s worse, they were set on a thick bed of mortar. No problem for me since I’d done many bathrooms before. I would replace the crumbling, cementitious, mess with a fresh sheet of plywood screwed onto the existing plywood sub floor for added strength.

I’m a bit of a carpenter, so there was always piles of scrap wood in the shed, pieces I thought might come in handy one day. When that filled up, I kept a stack in the storage room of the basement for a long while, moldings, 1” by 2”s, small pieces of hardwood I couldn’t bring myself to throw out, a ton of paint sticks because they made excellent shims. Naturally, my children would get into my stash and spread it around, building bridges were none was needed, or shanty town digs for their dolls. Inevitably, the day came when my wife said enough was enough, and that I’d have to clear out all the wood I’d been hoarding.

I’m not saying it’s her fault, but when I went to get my second layer of plywood, I was thinking about having to throw away the excess. I’d need one and a half sheets only, and the thought of throwing away a perfectly good piece of ¾ inch plywood turned my stomach. So what did I do? I went with the ¼ inch so it would be easier to toss the scraps afterwards.

Freaking emergencies, they catch you unawares, scrambling to find solutions. This morning, the only solution, the only option I had available was that powder room. You know, maybe it’s because I spent so many years doing renovations, and I can easily see through the skin of a room, but the idea of sitting on a wiggly toilet seems absurd to me. I can picture the screws securing the brass ring pulling out of the plywood, and it kills me. Just for the record, this toilet moves only for me, the heaviest person in the house, and the powder room looks great, but still… the toilet moves! Give it a couple more years, and I’ll redo the floor again. In the meantime, and whenever I can help it, it’s the upstairs bathroom for me.

***

I can’t believe it. I’m outta time. I was going to twist this so I could slip in some literary life stuff. It’s a post about regrets, and I wanted to talk about how you only get one shot at impressing an editor with a submission.

Just take your time, do it right, okay?

5 Comments:

Blogger Tricia Dower said...

I hate wobbly toilets! I never knew they were caused by floors that are too thin. I enjoyed this glimpse into your powder room, Tony. (Haven't heard that expression in ages. Assume it comes from "powdering your nose," not "taking a powder.")

Thu Sep 28, 12:34:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

HA!! this is great!! our powder room is our fall project as well!! new floors, and A TOILET!!

Thu Sep 28, 07:09:00 pm GMT-4  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Antonios, thanks for the post and the sound advice at the end - the literary stuff you missed :).

Diane

Thu Sep 28, 10:32:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

Gulp, good reminder. I'm so damn impatient sometimes...and not only in my writing. You should see my hastily installed kitchen sink.

Tue Oct 03, 09:22:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger tamara said...

Tony, I grew up in a house full of renovation works-in-progress. I just realised reading your post that that could explain my tendency to have so many creative works-in-progress... Time to start sealing the walls, I guess.

Wed Oct 04, 03:57:00 pm GMT-4  

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