We renovated our master bath this summer.
When I say "we," I mean that I had the ideas, and Andy implemented them.
That sounds like a fair division of labor when you put it into one sentence, but in real life I spent an hour or two picking out tile and looking at paint chips, while Andy spent every night after work and all his weekends, all summer long, doing things like contorting his body into pretzel-like shapes under the counter to plumb the new sinks, and jackhammering through concrete to make way for new drains for the shower and bath.
I estimate that he spent at least 20 hours just trying to make all these holes in the floor work the right way.
We'd talked about renovating our bathroom for a long time. Since we bought the house in 2003, in fact. It wasn't a bad bathroom, but it had these brown sinks which must have seemed like a good idea to someone at some time. Until the first time somebody brushed their teeth, and the terrible truth was revealed: brown sinks and toothpaste are not friends.
In fact, they are sworn enemies locked in a feud that can only end in the destruction of one or the other. Think of Tyrian Lannister and his dad. That's the kind of bad blood we're talking about here.
For 13 years I've been bravely enduring the war of toothpaste on brown sinks. (First world problems, I know.)
Then early in June, Andy said, "We could renovate the bathroom this summer."
So, we took those first fun steps of picking out tile and countertops.
The new white sinks went in, the brown sinks were vanquished, and there was much jubilation.
And then Andy turned his attention to the other side of the room, where we'd decided to separate the shower from the tub so we could install a deep soaker tub and make the shower more easily accessible to the aged selves.
And that's when the blood, sweat, and tears really began.
Around the time that first picture at the top of this post was taken, I was seriously wondering what we had gotten ourselves into. I couldn't believe we were digging buckets of dirt out from under our house. (Is this really wise? Isn't the dirt what holds the house up?)
Later on, we lifted our soaker tub in and out of its alcove approximately 57,000 times before the fit was right.
Then, we laid out four completely different floors looking for the right one. As in, bought the flooring, brought it home, laid it out on the floor, took it back up, tried again. Four times.
And you know what? I never want to see another "Fashion Bath" faucet display as long as I live. Did you know that most of that stuff is plastic these days? I was shocked and dismayed.
Of course, the whole time I had a picture in my head of what it would look like and I was mostly confident that Andy would figure out how to make it so. He always does.
But the day of that picture at the top, we wondered: would we ever find our way out of the pit of despair?
The past couple of years have been a time of spiritual deconstruction for us. Unlike our bathroom renovation, we didn't do it on purpose. We backed into it and suddenly realized that we'd hacked giant holes in the walls and floor of our formerly fixed spiritual structures.
Or maybe the holes had always been there and we'd just been ignoring them.
Whatever the case, there we were with everything knocked all catywampus and buckets of dirt all over the place. Hoping that somebody, somewhere had a picture in their head about how this whole thing was going to turn out.
I think a lot of us find ourselves in places like this. Many times, not on purpose. I think this is a common story because my friends and my clients and my readers tell me stories like this all the time: "I thought X was going to happen, but it turns out that it's XYWIEZLSUQ instead."
We ended up finding the exact soaker tub we wanted on Craig's List.
After extensive research, we decided that we wanted the Kohler Archer tub. Deep enough, non-jetted (I don't like the noise of jacuzzi jets), and fiberglass so we could lift it in and out those 57,000 times it would take to get it right. Once we'd made a final decision, Andy decided to just take a quick look at Craig's List, just to see. And sure enough, a guy out in Colleyville had the exact tub we wanted, new, sitting in his garage, for half the price of Home Depot's. How could we resist?
"I was going to replace my old tub," he said. "I tore the old one out and set this one in place and then I realized it was going to be too hard. So I put the other one back."
And sometimes we do this, too, when XYWIEZLSUQ occurs. It's too hard, too scary, so we put everything back the way it was.
And that's a legitimate choice to make.
But we all know this, too: sometimes it's just time to tear it all out, no matter how hard, no matter how scary.
No matter how many YouTube DIY videos you have to watch, no matter how many phone-a-friends it takes (we give thanks for our retired-contractor friend, Jeff), no matter how much blood, sweat, and tears.
And trust that somehow it's all going to turn out okay.
That Love will always be enough.
Because it always, always is.
(And my bathroom turned out pretty dang awesome in the end, too. Andy Bruner, boy genius!)