Fickle Finger of Fate

Our bathroom remodel started the week before Halloween. We are working with a main contractor who designs everything and who subcontracts with a home builder company for the carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. The first two weeks the carpenters came and got everything prepped for the drywall installers, electricians, and plumbers. It took a couple of weeks for those folks to get their work done, and then we had a couple of snow storms that put everything behind.

For the last three weeks one young man has been working to install the shower and bathtub liners, grab bars, etc. He said he would be done on Wednesday of this week, but he ran out of caulk and had to go back to Bismarck to get more. He showed up again yesterday to install the shower doors, do the caulking, and finish the work on the tub and shower. He isn’t a plumber. He just installs the shower liners and tub liners and grab bars and such. To his dismay, he discovered that the hardware for the shower doors wasn’t in the large box the doors came in, and were back in Bismarck at the warehouse. He won’t be able install the doors until today. That is another delay. Until he is finished, the carpenters and plumbers can’t return with the toilets, vanity, and sink and install the flooring and new light fixtures.

Yesterday the carpenter phoned and said we needed to pick out the flooring so that he and his crew can come as soon as the tub/shower guy is done. We did so today, and found that it will take a good two weeks to get the flooring delivered. I am puzzled why he waited until now to tell us to pick out the flooring. I thought we had already picked out the flooring, but apparently that wasn’t the case, so the earliest our bathrooms will be done is the week between Christmas and New Year. That is two months of chaos.

Our home is in absolute disarray, and is full of drywall dust. Our tempers with each other are getting short. An enormous snow storm is predicted to hit our region on Monday, bringing up to a foot of snow. It may be very hard for the Bismarck carpenters to get to our town next week.

The only good news is that the downstairs bathtub/shower was usable starting yesterday. All that needed to be done in that bathroom was for the tub/shower guy to screw in the mixer handle that turns on the faucet in bathtub and caulk it. He did that, and then told me that the plumbers needed to come because there wasn’t any water coming out of the faucet. I asked him if he had opened the shut-off valves for the pipes to the tub. He said there never are shut off valves like that for a tub. I went to the basement, found the shut off valves that had been installed a couple of years ago by a local plumber, and flipped them open. He was impressed. The water is flowing, and now we will have two bathrooms for us and our daughter when she visits over Christmas. There won’t be new flooring, towel bars, or a bathroom mirror, but the essentials will be there.

When has Fate’s fickle finger mucked things up for you? Do you have a litany of woe? When have you bested the experts?

49 thoughts on “Fickle Finger of Fate”

  1. At age 67, for the first time in my life, I became a homeowner. I learned that some sort of semi-annual remodel is typical. So far, I’ve limited those to insulation and landscaping (when it involves outsiders). I am very leary of having a contractor come in for a bathroom or a kitchen, so will probably live with what we bought for so long as we reside here. For so long as a coat of paint, or swapping something out that is the same size, can do the trick, I can probably do it myself.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. We have lived with two annoying bathrooms for 30 years. It was time to remodel. We have a third bathroom that we redid about 10 years ago. The kitchen we did 15 years ago.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    Anytime someone tries to live in a place where remodeling is happening, misery is assured. Renee, I am not surprised that tempers have frayed. In 2015 when we had a large project done on our house and which included our bedroom, compromised by a pin hole leak which left a soggy floor and mold, we just lived elsewhere for three weeks. (I am very allergic to mold. And of course insurance did not cover this, despite the water damage—fickle finger of fate material). The project was not completed when we returned to the house, but the upper level was livable. The drywall dust of which you speak was in the basement family room. I still find little pockets of it despite vacuuming for 7 years.

    When we had our kitchen remodeled 2 years ago, by chance as the pandemic started, the very beginnings of supply chain problems were beginning. The cost of the cabinets over-ran the estimate by $6K in a 3 month period because of these problems. We could have stopped the project and lived without cabinets, or pay up. We paid up. What else can you do? But that mucked up the budget for the project a lot! Our contractor told us that we were the lucky ones. His clients after us could not get supplies AT.ALL, leaving the projects unfinished with people living amidst the mess until the supplies finally came in. Our contractor, who I admire so much, was a stressed out mess because of this. There was nothing he could do to produce the needed supplies.

    So that is my litany of remodeling woe affected by the very large fickle finger of pandemic supply chain economics. And we were the lucky ones. I bested the experts by living 32 years past cancer.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. I’ve never seen a bathtub/shower setup that didn’t have shutoff valves. Otherwise you would have to turn off all the water at the meter to do any work on the tub plumbing. That guy was no expert…

    Liked by 5 people

    1. We don’t have shut off’s on our tub or showers. When we removed 1 of the three, we had to turn off the water to do it.
      Maybe it’s the age of the house? This is 1968.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Husband has terrible allergies to dust, and is really suffering. I am going to change out the furnace filter today, as it is full of drywall dust, and vacuum upstairs again. We are having a cleaning crew come to dust nd vacuum the basement and shampoo the carpets there. The bathroom down there is done except for the flooring and finishing touches. The dust is horrendous. The are going to dust off all our books.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Ugh! That just sounds frustrating, Renee. I hope everything gets finished sooner than you expect.

    My project at home started with my simple desire to find the leaks in my basement walls and get them plugged up so that I don’t have to breathe second hand smoke anymore. I thought it would work to just sheet rock over the spaces between the rim joists but I learned quickly that it wouldn’t be that easy. It ended up opening a can of worms for me. I kind of wish I had just moved to Duluth in September when I had the chance. My project is ahead of me now and it’s so much bigger than I expected. I want it done before the end of January so that I can leave for Arizona on January 29. I’m expected in Phoenix on February 1.

    I am a Wednesday’s Child. We are full of woe. I remember reciting the poem as a child but never put it together that I was born on a Wednesday until I was older. Some say the good and bad evens out and that you must take the bad with the good, blah blah blah. It’s woe. All woe. And then they throw in the holidays. Ugh.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Since most of the remodeling projects at our houses (sequential, not multiple) have been ones I’ve undertaken myself, I don’t have any contractor stories, although the lumber supply during the pandemic did necessitate some compromises and visits to numerous supply outlets.

    My wrestle with fate and with the system is much too long and complicated to relate in detail but it began after my dad died and about a year later my mother remarried to a man she had met at church. Within a couple of years of their marriage, my mother began to exhibit unmistakeable signs of dementia and that progressed over the next two years to the point where she had begun wandering (in the snow, in her pajamas) and didn’t seem to recognize family members, etc. Her husband, who had personality issues in the best of times and was showing signs of dementia himself, refused to recognize or accept that my mother needed care. Even after she had become incontinent and completely bewildered by her surroundings, he was still driving her and himself down to Texas, where he had a trailer in a trailer park, in the winter.
    We spoke to lawyers. Legally we were powerless to intervene. The law favors spousal authority and since her husband had not been officially diagnosed as having dementia, although he clearly did, we had no way to protect my mother.
    Finally, one day we went to visit and found my mother sitting in a chair, her eyes oozing from a serious infection. Her husband sat obliviously in a nearby chair watching television. We insisted that we take her to urgent care and the husband assented. From urgent care we were instructed to take her to hospital emergency. My mother spent several days in the hospital and her condition was touch-and-go for part of it. Most importantly, she was now in the system and wouldn’t be allowed to return home, so we were able to get her into a memory care unit.

    There is a lot more to this story, much of it in hindsight unbelievable, and the whole odyssey took several years of my constant attention but the point of this is that the system, in ostensibly protecting my mother from exploitation, put up barriers that endangered her.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is about how I got Sandra into memory care. Even as a spouse I had no power to put her into memory care without her consent and then going through a long legal process. But she had an heart rhythm problem which got her in the medical system from where we could do the process right in front of her with all the medical people telling her it had to happen and she accepted it

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My main shut valve was once locked in place, rusted in other words. Slick to watch them work. Use CO2 to free the line and then cout out the valve and replace it. Slick as can be. Only a few drops of water.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Like most homeowners, every project of mine has had a few twists and turns, but nothing too awful so far. Fingers crossed.

    Right now I am feeling very sorry for my next-door neighbors. They had water damage in the basement last winter and the amount of work that has to be done just jumped exponentially. First they had a crew out who took all the drywall out and the studs and all that junk on the walls. Then they had another crew out who took out the concrete flooring because that apparently needed to be redone as well. Now it turns out that (and I’m going to get this wrong) whatever’s supposed to be holding up the house has been disintegrating over the last hundred years. The person who gave them this horrible news is actually surprised that they haven’t seen any other damage to the house because of this. But what it means is it now there’s extra work because now they’ve got a redo the foundation of the house I guess? All I know is it today there are four trucks and I’ve counted at least nine separate individuals who are working. They’re taking buckets and buckets of stuff out of the house through a little basement window. Of course, everything in their basement is now upstairs in the living room, dining room, and they have no washercor dryer so they’ve been going over to the in-laws house for that. I did tell them if they had a quick emergency they could always come on over and use my washer and dryer. And they have two small kids, in the midst of all of this insanity.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. My contractor stories are just that they’re all busy. I spend a lot of time finding good ones that I can trust. And people always tell me I get along well with them. It helps sometimes that we’re all farmers. The theater HVAC install, he’s a farmer. It helps it’s not my house and I’m not trying to live in it. 🙂


    1. A friend of ours contacted a local plumber last March. He returned her call in October.

      The weather service says the storm that is coming will start Monday night and last until Thursday night.


  10. The fickle finger has lately been doing little things – it seems any snowstorm we get arrives on Friday morning, when we have to do meal deliveries. This morning we went out (before most roads had been plowed) in 6-inch-deep stuff.
    How much did you get in the cities?

    A lot of my tale of woe is of my own doing – I had schedule 5 little things today, some of them back to back. Luckily I’d moved one to Thursday, anticipating this storm, and two have cancelled, so I’ll have time to get out the Christmas boxes. But I would have been a total wreck by the end of the day if they’d all transpired – what was I thinking?


  11. And from Wiki:

    Common modern versions include:

    Monday’s child is fair of face,
    Tuesday’s child is full of grace.
    Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
    Thursday’s child has far to go.
    Friday’s child is loving and giving,
    Saturday’s child works hard for a living.
    And the child born on the Sabbath day
    Is bonny and blithe, good and gay.[1]


    1. I was born on Sunday, Mothers day, so I wondered what a Sunday kid was. Thanks for this.

      Kelly and son were both born on Mondays. Daughter was born on Tuesday. (I couldn’t remember which days; I had to look them up).


        1. I am just here working hard. Lefse dough gets mixed up tonight, fried tomorrow. Three more varieties of cookis as well. Four more Stollen made Sunday.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. I know that a lot of baboons aren’t on FB. I also know that at least Ben and I – there may be other baboons as well – follow a fellow named Brent Olson on FB.

    Brent is an “elderly” man, I’m not sure exactly how old he is, but he’s a writer, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a county official of some sort, and a former pig farmer. He’s also a repository of a lot of wisdom. Today I was delighted to receive one of his somewhat irregular posts in the mail. I’ have never met him, but I know I’d love him. Here’s a link to his post:

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m sure, OC that we all know people of both types. The ones who are incapable of saying anything positive about anyone or anything, and the ones who are always cheerful and upbeat, no matter the circumstance. I’m grateful that most people I know fall into the latter category.

      Liked by 1 person

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