Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Hard Part

Before Mom moved in I told a colleague that I was sure that having Mom here would be difficult in ways I didn't expect. It is. Mostly it is easier than I even hoped. Mom clearly came deciding that she was just going to adjust to the way we do things. We don't keep the house as tidy as she would, she doesn't complain. She doesn't make veiled comments about my weight like I feared she would. (In the past it wasn't that she said mean things. It was more that she always noticed and complimented me if I lost any weight. She said mean things about OTHER people's weight problems. That combined made me feel bad.) Anyway, mostly living with her is good.

The hard part turns out to be money. She is indirectly far more expensive than I expected. Her direct expenses are of course minimal. Her impact on the grocery bill is nearly nil. She pays all of her own personal expenses. We even use her car, which she maintains, insures, and supplies with gas, whenever we have to take her anywhere.

So how is she expensive? My mother has always been very frugal, which has also meant that if there was something important she needed, she had the money for it. She expects me to be able to do the same.

So, for instance, the bathroom. Mom needed it to be renovated. I told her that I needed her to pay for it. Because of the inconvenient window, we hired someone who would do a custom tile job. No way would any pre-fab unit fit. They guy came, we think very highly of him. It was his idea to move the toilet. That would cost an extra $300, but it was such a good idea. In retrospect I suppose I should have said, "great, now install a pre-fab shower/tub and your great idea will mean that we will pay you less." The truth is that I didn't even consider it. The extra $300 was in Mom's budget, just barely, but still under. Then I realized that the shower faucet set up that the contractor was going to use would be great for just us, but for an extra $50 I could get the ADA compliant one that would be SO much easier for her to use.  I'd have to pay the extra, but how could I not? THEN I realized that moving the toilet and tub meant that there would be three small holes in the floor where the tub plumbing used to be. I debated what to do. I could leave it, I suppose. So there are holes in the floor. The obvious answer is to pay a very reasonable amount of money to have the floor tiled to match the tub surround.

I considered not repainting the kitchen which I had been planning on doing since before Mom said she was moving, but my father sent me money for my birthday and there was enough to cover it. When it was done Mom said that I really should put up knobs and pulls. I asked if she needed them and that if she did, I would split the expense with her. She said she didn't really need them, but that my nice painting job was going to get messed up if I didn't add the hardware. After she mentioned it a couple times, I just bought the pulls.

Our AC really isn't very effective and it gets hot here. She said that if it was okay with us, that after she caught up with having paid for the bathroom, she pay her next installment for "room and board" by replacing our windows in the living room with some like she put in her house (translation: high quality ones). We tried not to jump up and down for joy at that suggestion. She said that that would probably help keep the room a whole lot cooler, and did I think we could afford to add a window AC unit? I said sorry, but we really couldn't. THEN Roland told me today that he thinks that he thinks it might not even be safe for a elderly woman to be in a house that often hits 83 degrees in the afternoon (it is a dry heat), and he has ordered a window AC unit.

She has noticed that I have repainted every room in the house except the living room. She said she really doesn't like this color and that should be my first project next summer. I told her that I wasn't going to do it. I'd LIKE to do it, but see, the wallpaper under the window (behind the sofa) is falling off and taking some of the plaster with it. I have no idea how damaged the plaster will be if I pull all the paper off and that might be more of a job than I can handle. I said that if it really bothered her, she could hire someone to re-do the plaster and I would paint. She chuckled and said no.  Then later in the kitchen she said, "you know, I had several rooms in my house re-plastered. It really isn't that expensive."

I said, "mmm" and wandered off to have a whole conversation in in my head with her that she isn't having with me, if you know what I mean.  I hear her say, "I am planning on spending a lot of money on your windows, and the living room will still look bad unless you are willing to spend a couple hundred dollars to do something you clearly NEED to do. The wall paper and plaster are FALLING OFF THE WALL."

Then I reply, "Mom, I can't keep spending money that I haven't planned on spending. If the walls bother you so much, pay the couple hundred yourself. I'll still do the painting."

And she says, "You want me to buy you windows AND pay to have the room re-plastered?"

And I say, "No. I don't giving a brown word about the fornicating walls. I like the wall paper just fine. The part behind the sofa doesn't bother me because IT IS BEHIND THE condemned-to-hot-place SOFA! You don't even  have to buy the fornicating windows!"

Then I realize that I am cursing at an imaginary version of my mother and I probably should consider writing a blog post even if I haven't written anything positive and I HATE it when I only write when I have something to complain about, because really, mostly I enjoy having her here.



Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bathroom renovation pics

I plan to update this daily.

Day 2:

As you can see, we decided on a regular tub instead of either a walk-in (tub or shower). This one is lower than average, which will make it easier for Mom to climb in. There will be grab-bars aplenty of course.

Monday, July 09, 2012

bathroom renovation

Remember the posts about the need up renovate the bathroom for Mom? The big issue was that there was an inconveniently placed window. This is what my bathroom looked like this morning after we took out the shower curtain, rugs and towel bars:

After what the builder called "demolition" and I prefer to call "de-construction," the bathroom looks like this:

We are going to move the toilet to the spot next to the window! Problem solved. This solution is possible because the laundry room, which is directly under the bathroom has no ceiling. All the plumbing is easily accessible.