Marsha Canham's Blog

November 30, 2012

I warned Bathroom Guy I was going to blog…

Filed under: Caesars Through the Fence — marshacanham @ 12:38 am

After he redid the tiled backsplash for the THIRD time today, I warned him that I would be blogging tonight. He just laughed and said I was funny and that whatever I said, he would just add his two cents later.


It started yesterday. Although, as you will read in a few, it started three weeks ago when the DIL and I found a nifty tile place in the town just south of Newmarket. A huge place, we wandered up and down the isles looking for something that would leap out and catch my eye. I wanted a tiled backsplash with a hint of green to pick up the color of the island, and a hint of beige to pick up the cupboards. I found a few that would work and brought one back to test it against the counters and island and cupboards. Eureka. It worked.

Bathroom Guy took *ahem* precise measurements and told me how much  tile to get. I said *ahem* because so far, Kitchen Guy has batted far less than a thousand with his measurings, and even Tile Guy sent me back for more shower tiles (though, as I recall, it was Bathroom Guy who measured that too. Hmmmm.) There is also the small matter of 6 extra sheets of shower floor tiles which were shlepped by yours truly after receiving *precise* measurements from Bathroom Guy as to how much was needed.

People who have measured things during this reno never seem to get it right the first, second, or sometimes even the third time. But with faith in Bathroom Guy still riding slightly higher than the expiration date on the chocolate toffee squares I bought last year, I went back to the tile place and got the square footage he told me to get. Two and  a half boxes. Heavy little peckers too. Shlepped them back home, where they sat by the back door for a week or so.

Remember when I said this was like dominoes. One thing gets done then other things can follow. So when Kitchen Guy showed up on Friday and swapped out two of the three banks of cupboards that needed swapping, he gave Bathroom Guy the go-ahead to do the backsplash, with the intention, undoubtedly, to avoid more hysteria on my part.  Just the notion of having the splotchy torn up drywall covered after six weeks took some of the glowing red sparks out of my eyes. The thought of being able to wipe the counter without having a sprinkle of plaster dust fall right back down over it almost made me sorry for Kitchen Guy’s limp. Won’t even mention the dust that floats down over the dark hardwood floor every farking day, or how many times I’ve swept, wiped, or washed everything in that kitchen. No. He said I could have my backsplash! The crud would be covered, including the gaping black hole where the old fan vent used to be and from whence I imagine bats, mice, and plate-sized spiders crawling through every night when the lights go out.

So yesterday, I left the house around eleven, confident Bathroom Guy would remember how to get in without written instructions. I was gone for four hours and when I returned, Sparky was there, all cheerful and pointing out the marvellous job he’d done putting the backsplash up and how great it looked against the counters and cupboards.

Yeah. From a distance it looked marvellous. Up close I had to blink a few times. One wall was fine. He had started the tiles at the door jamb and worked his way across the counter to the corner, leaving artful little spaces between the tiles so the grouting would show off the rustic, rough edges of the rustic, rough tiles.

But then he had a brain fart.

Instead of starting at the window trim and working his way back to the corner, he continued on from the corner and worked his way over to the window, at which point  he had to squeeze in an inch-wide strip of tiles to make them fit.

When I asked why he hadn’t started at the window and worked his way into the corner, thereby having a row of full tiles at each end, he gave me a Forest Gump look and said yeah, that probably would look better.


Splook splook splook…off came the tiles which were still removable from the wet tile goo. Now keep in mind, his first effort at tiling had taken him four hours to do both walls. In the time it took me to go into the bedroom and change from jeans to joggers and return to the kitchen, he had taken the tiles down from the sink wall, reversed them, and stuck them back up.  In about the same amount of time, he had his jacket on and was out the door, flying home to pick up his daughter from daycare, yelling back as he flew “See, I told you I could fix it for you!”

It was late afternoon, the light was fading, I was tired and slightly cranky.

It wasn’t until 7am the next morning, as I was waiting for the coffee to drip through, that I had a good look at the way he had stuck the tiles back up.

Ever see the movie Harvey with James Stewart? He takes his girl out for dinner and while I forget the exact reason why he feels the need to shout, he teases her by saying oh, oh, I feel it starting in my feet….and climbing up my ankles into my legs…oh! it’s in my belly and climbing up my chest….it’s in my THROAT…it’s…’s trying to come out…it’s almost there…   And at that point, the girlfriend screams NOOOOOO!

So there I was, feeling this scream starting to climb up from my toes to my ankles to my legs to my belly….

It looked like someone who had been sniffing tile glue for too long had put the farking tiles up. Most of them were touching, leaving no room for grout. Others had a quarter inch of space between them. Some were crooked, not even in a straight line. Two uber-rustic tiles with eroded corners were put side by side so that there was a gaping huge space that would stick out like a eyepatch when and if they were ever grouted.

The scream never came out, but emails sure did. I fired one off to Bathroom Guy telling him I WAS NOT HAPPY (actually, I think I said I was PISSED and dropped the f-bomb half a dozen times) and would NOT advise him to show his face today. I fired off a copy to Kitchen Guy as well so he’d know he wasn’t the only one tiptoeing dangerously close to that precipice known as YOU’RE FIRED.

To his credit, Bathroom Guy bravely made my phone ring. To *my* credit, I can assume my mood had been properly conveyed via email as the first words out of his mouth were:  Don’t hang up on me!

Hmphf.  He talked, I listened. He would fix it. He promised he would fix it and he would be there soon to do it.

Hmphf. When he showed up, I pointed out the reason for my hysteria and he agreed. Sloppy. Did not match the wall behind the stove, where he had taken care with his spacing and levels and matching up the lines. But he would fix it. Don’t worry.

I knew, if I heard those words again, I really would scream, so I prudently left the house to do some shopping.  When I came back two hours later, he was just finishing up. Yes, Sparky, it took two hours to fix it properly, not ten farking minutes with your coat half on.

I’ll be curious…as will all of you, I’m sure…to see his comments when he comes to read the blog.

Oh…and remember when I said he had given me the measurements and told me how much tile to get?  As I was taking the dog out for a walk, I happened to notice two boxes of tiles still by the back door. The top one was open and had a row of about 20 loose tiles in it…tiles that have to wait for Kitchen Guy to finish installing the cupboard *light valences* now before the backsplash can get finished and grouted.  (Dominoes. Always the dominoes.) But sitting beneath that  box was another box….FULL OF TILES.  I’m curious to know where he plans to use them. I suspect there is enough there to do a double layer on the entire backsplash!!!!!!! Or perhaps he could use them to artfully tile the front of his truck. Or the back of his truck. Or he could combine them with the 6 sq feet of excess tile he over-measured from the shower floor and start tiling my basement floor. Or the wine room. Or that natty little space where the sun doesn’t shine.




  1. OMG! Marsha, I so feel for you in the midst of your renovation debacle. I underwent similar experiences a couple of years ago and ended up firing the general contractor and nearly filed a complaint against him. I really felt that he thought he could get away with substandard stuff simply because he was dealing with a single woman and what could I possibly know about construction. If I’d only been able to catch him, I would have happily run over him with my car!

    Comment by Lorree — November 30, 2012 @ 2:24 am | Reply

  2. You are so funny! I’d be in jail for murder by now if that happened to me. Keep thinking, Florida, this won’t be happening in Florida=)

    Comment by Southern Belle — November 30, 2012 @ 2:31 am | Reply

  3. Hahahaha. This is one of the funniest blogs I ever read. To my defence, I measured the back splash without knowing how high I would go to meet the hood fan. Plus I always add extra tiles for waste and off cuts. It’s always good to have a few extra then not enough. Imagine we were short tiles, and when you went back to get some more they didn’t have anymore! Also, it’s always good to get all the tiles at the same time so you get the same lot number on the tiles. As for redoing the wall… I plead the 5th.

    The important thing now is that it’s done and you like it.
    P. S. I should post the email you sent me to show everyone the “dark side” Hahahaha Hahaha

    Comment by Bathroom guy — November 30, 2012 @ 3:32 am | Reply

    • A FEW extra? There’s a whole wall worth of extra! Now THAT is funny. And everyone who knows me also knows the Dark Side. And the Evil Eye.

      Comment by marshacanham — November 30, 2012 @ 4:34 am | Reply

  4. oh husband…
    I live with the man. And let me tell you, I am often tempted on suffocating him with my pillow while we sleep at night. I have been through a home renovation and it really is a horrible experience. I wanted to curl up in my closet and die. Nothing goes right….EVER! And the dust, oh the dust. When ‘bathroom guy’ was sanding the walls at our house, I would stand behind him with the vacuum hoping to catch most of the drywall dust. I don’t think I can ever live through that experience again. But the good news is that there will be an end…eventually. And I’m certain that the end product will be amazing and well worth all this misery, right?

    Comment by Bathroom Guys wife — November 30, 2012 @ 1:58 pm | Reply

    • Note: to his credit, he did a super job at our house. The process, however, was excruciating.

      Comment by Bathroom Guys wife — November 30, 2012 @ 3:16 pm | Reply

      • LOL! Probably out of fear. Even MY Stupid Ex knew better than to goof off on a job he was doing for me. And in all honesty, when he does get the job right, he does a fine job. It’s just excruciating to work through the process. *nod nod*

        Comment by marshacanham — November 30, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

    • There are, indeed, glimmers of magnificence…but it’s hard to see those glimmers through the dust and grime and clutter. I just spent the morning trying to spray that expanding foam crap into the cracks and crevices the *Boys* opened up in the kitchen and never thought to plug up. In one spot there was actual wind blowing through a hole in the wall. Mind you, Bathroom Guy did stuff the open end of the fan pipe with one of my good towels, but who’s complaining. At least the snow can’t get through. *snort*

      Comment by marshacanham — November 30, 2012 @ 6:19 pm | Reply

      • I wish you a speedy renovation!
        Good luck!

        Comment by Bathroom Guys wife — November 30, 2012 @ 7:04 pm

  5. OMG I just love your updates on Kitchen guy/Bathroom guy. stay.. sane?! So that’s what happens with these workers ..get a little too much of the glue or paint fumes LOL! Im thinking your right after some things Ive had happen, and standing behind the guy with the vaccum..oh yes I can picture that! That would be me as well LOL!
    So your advice(since III be doing my floors soon…is tarp the whole condo and remove in 6 months or so..gawd I dread the dust:( hang in Marsha..enjoy yourself in Florida..and try not to worry what is happening at home.
    P.S. I really think this would be a great book..or..the abc’s of a reno? Ha-Ha:D

    Comment by Thepiratewench — December 2, 2012 @ 12:15 am | Reply

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