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picture of construction area and demolished tile and hammer

Bathroom Remodel: Neurotic Parent of Teens Edition

By Mir Kamin

We’re currently doing a bathroom remodel, and by “we” I mean that my husband said “We really should,” and I said “Oh, but the money!” and my husband said “We can afford it,” and I said “Oh, but the mess and inconvenience and also the money” and my husband said “Spring Break would be perfect and then it would be done” and I said “But but but” and my husband hired a contractor and presumably gave him a bucket of money and now I spend all my spare time doing things like picking out drawer pulls.

This is one of the (many) reasons why we make a good partnership, actually. Left to my own devices, I would never part with the money required to do… anything like this, probably. I am always so very mentally ill about finances that I would wait until we could save money and “do it ourselves” (we have done a slew of work in this house ourselves, though whether or not it ends up being more affordable that way is certainly debatable), and the idea of gutting the upstairs bathroom so that my teenagers would have to use our bathroom for a week or more made me feel faint.

Do you have teenagers? I love them, you understand. So much. But they are disgusting. I do enjoy having my own bathroom they never, ever use.

Anyway, the Great Bathroom Debate went on for quite a few weeks until my husband sat me down, looked deep into my eyes, and said, “We’re going to have family here for graduation in a few months. That bathroom is falling apart. Wouldn’t it be nice to have it all taken care of before we have a houseful of people?” At that point I had two choices: I could crumple to the ground, breathing into a paper bag, while contemplating the fact that my baybeeeeeeee is about to graduate from high school, or I could be a smart-ass and reply that—using his logic—we should go ahead and take a second mortgage and redo the kitchen while we were at it. I opted for the latter, but then agreed to the bathroom remodel.

Because my husband is a saint for pushing me out of my comfort zone, and because his schedule is much more hectic than mine at this particular point, I am fielding 90% of what needs to happen with this project, and that’s okay. I’m the one who’s here in my home office as the various crew comes and goes. I’m the one coordinating with the contractor. I’m the one picking out everything (I forgot how you think you’re going to pick a floor and a faucet and be done, but really there’s a million little things that need to be discussed and selected and whatnot). We did go on a date together to the tile store (we are so romantic!), and I do love to text him pictures of fixtures while he’s busy (also romantic!), and one day I brought him upstairs to where I’d taped 10 paint chips to the wall, but in general, I’m making a lot of command decisions.

I hate making these sorts of choices. Everything costs a lot of money and my decoration style is more “whatever” than anything else, so I’m always looking for both a bargain and a second opinion. Sure, we picked a basic white subway tile for the shower (easy) and given a choice of two styles of cabinet doors, I didn’t have a problem pointing to the one I liked better, but who knew there were so many shower rod options? Who knew there were so many different toilets?? How many towel racks do we need? I’ve fallen down the remodeling rabbit hole and it’s lonely down here, sometimes.

But like I said, my husband is crazy busy with work right now. My son is out of town, and I cannot imagine him discussing the merits of a chair rail with me, anyway. So… my nearly-grown daughter is bearing the brunt of my anxiety and indecision.

“Look at this shower curtain,” I said to her, yesterday, turning my computer monitor so that she could better see it. “I think it’s the right colors for the tile and the paint. Do you like it?” She sighed and looked up from her phone. I toggled to a different tab. “Or this one? Which do you like better?”

She got up and came closer, looked at them both, then said, “Well, the first one is ugly. The second one’s okay.” (I liked the first one better, so I probably should’ve seen that coming.) The second one—the one she liked—was part of a collection, and when I clicked through to find the price, it turned out it was out of stock.

“Shoot. Hrm. Well, that one’s not available, anyway. Of course. Never mind.” She chuckled and folded herself back up on the couch in my office, phone in hand, one of the dogs under her knees. “Oh, what about this one??” I showed her another picture.

She squinted at the monitor, then shrugged. “Mom, I don’t know why you’re asking me. I’m moving out in a few months, so do whatever you want.”

Oh. Right. We’re remodeling the “kids’ bathroom” for… the kids who will both be gone in less than a year and a half. It’s not as though I’d planned to decorate the place in rubber duckie motif, or anything, but still. Ooof. I knew this, of course. Still, hearing her say it like that was weird. It was probably a great opening to tell her how much I love her and how proud I am of her, but like I said, I’m not always great with choices. Pointing out how excited I am to replace her bed with a pool table after she goes was an equally valid response, right? I’m sure it was.

I just hope I don’t have to choose what color felt to have put on it.

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About the Author

Mir Kamin

Mir Kamin began writing about her life online over a decade ago, back when she was a divorced mom trying to raise two regular little kids and figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up. Now ...

Mir Kamin began writing about her life online over a decade ago, back when she was a divorced mom trying to raise two regular little kids and figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up. Now her life looks very different than it did back then: Those little kids turned into anything-but-regular teenagers, she is remarried, and somehow she’s become one of those people who talks to her dogs in a high-pitched baby voice. Along the way she’s continued chronicling the everyday at Woulda Coulda Shoulda, plus she’s bringing you daily bargain therapy at Want Not. The good news is that Mir grew up and became a writer and she still really likes hanging out with her kids; the bad news is that her hair is a lot grayer than it used to be.

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