Remodel Week 5

Filed under: @ 12:29 pm

The Saga Of The Shower

Sadly continues. Last Saturday after much hair tearing and quite literally hours of net searches, telephone calls, measuring tapes, and so forth we FINALLY had the products that we wanted in sizes that would fit our requirements. I had called the manufacturer (this is the worst name in the history of prefab shower stalls), Mustee, and explained our size needs. I spoke with a very nice lady in Ohio who pointed me to exactly what we needed and told me where to find the installation instructions on their website. Good. WONderful.
I spoke with a very nice lady, Sue, at McLendon hardware in Renton to determine whether or not they carried the correct (snerk!) Mustee products. They did, Sue gave me the prices and the correct order numbers.
So we went to McLendon Hardware. Sue was not there. We got to talk with Jean.

Have you ever watched the movie Office Space? You remember the slightly dim, tubby, little nerdy guy with the red Swingline stapler who wandered around muttering to himself and always got the short end of EVERY stick? Give him long blond hair and boobs and you’ve got Jean.
We gave her the part number and the price for the shower door and told her we needed to order it. She proceeded to look up the part number and the price and wrote them down on a piece of paper for us. Then she took the measurements of our shower enclosure and told us that we couldn’t order the door until we had the shower stall in place.
We gave her the part numbers and the price for the Mustee shower walls and shower pan. She tried to convince us that another product they carried was the right one and only desisted after I told her that I’d spoken with the manufacturer directly. She looked up the part numbers and the price in her computer, wrote them down on a piece of paper for us, and then told us that we had to special order them.

“Why special order? I spoke with Sue and she said that these products were regularly carried by this particular McLendon store.”
“Oh, well we regularly carry them, we just don’t usually have them in stock.”

Unh-HUH. (parenthetical thought to myself….. “and the difference is?…….”)

Okay, so order the little fuckers.
Jean proceeded to her computer, muttering to herself all the time. Andrew and I were both pretty fried at that point so we were taking it in turns to stand at the counter while Jean muttered at her computer. At one point we decided that Andrew would go and look at shower hardware. He found a shower valve and head that we liked then asked Jean where he could find them. The shower hardware (faucets etc.) were displayed on a wall, each set identified by letter and number. The ones we wanted were 8D. Jean stopped her muttering to show Andrew how the wall cleverly opened up to reveal racks of boxed sets of shower hardware. The racks had corresponding letters and numbers so all Andrew had to to was to find 8D to find the valve and the shower head that we wanted. Except that they weren’t there. 8C was followed by 8F with no sign of 8D or 8E.
Yet another moment to disturb Jean and her muttering. She explained to Andrew how the numbers and letters on the racks corresponded to the numbers and letters on the displays and then went to the “8” rack. When she couldn’t find 8D she went and looked at all the other racks (all of which Andrew had just finished doing himself) and then told him that 8D wasn’t in the racks.

“Um…..Yeah, that was what I was just saying. Would this particular product be anywhere else in the store?”
“No. If they’re not on the racks they’re not in stock and you’d have to special order them and Moen only delivers once a week and if they’re not on the racks then we probably don’t carry them and……mutter mutter mutter mutter mutter…..red Swingline stapler, set the building on fire.” (okay, not literally. That was a shameless Office Space reference.)

At that point Andrew had just about had it and to keep him from doing what both of us desperately hoped that he would do, that is, rising up and giving Jean a hefty slosh on the back of the head, he wandered off into the depths of the store to find the other bits and pieces we were looking for. Leaving me to finish dealing with Jean and her muttering about people that don’t understand that if it’s not on the racks that it wouldn’t be in stock and how it would have to be special ordered and what a pain it was to have to deal with them (I’m not making that part up).

An HOUR and A HALF later (I’m not making that part up either) Jean had everything entered in the computer and had given me a purchase order. She also indicated that there might be a Mustee shower pan back in the store room. She went to go check and came back out with a big box on a hand truck. I left box and hand truck in place and went to go find Andrew.
Andrew, the cart, the long threaded pole that we were looking for (don’t ask) and I made our way back to the design center to fetch the box and the hand truck.
At which point we noticed that the box had been opened and the words “MISSING DRAIN AND FLANGE” were written along the top. ERGK!
I collared Jean again, showed her the box and insisted that she find me another Mustee shower pan. She said she didn’t have another in stock and that she’d have to add the pan to the special order for the shower walls.
Weirdly, this only took a few minutes and so both of us, feeling as if we’d been put through enough of a wringer for the day, took our varied gunk up to the checkout, paid, and left.

If you’ve ever remodeled something you’ll notice that there was a part missing here. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, I’ll point it out later.

We spent Easter Sunday knitting, reading, watching Monty Python, eating Easter candy and arguing with the dryer. Since part of our plan for the laundry room included moving the 240 volt dryer outlet to the opposite wall and purchasing a stackable washer and dryer set, AND since David The Contractor had needed to move the outlet as well as the dryer vent, so he could finish the drywall in the adjoining room, our washer was still in place but the dryer, unplugged from the wall and the vent, was sitting in the middle of the room. I needed to do at least one load of laundry so I would have clean work clothes for the week. Easy enough to bung them in the washer, but the outlet for the dryer would require that the dryer be placed with its back against the front of the washer with a flexible vent running out the window. So I got the load of washing done, we attached the flexible vent and pushed the dryer snugly up against the front of the washer.
But the dryer cord was too short to reach the outlet.
All sorts of *very important laundry words* were said and while Andrew argued with the dryer cord and the placement of the washer, I went upstairs to hang at least my work clothes to dry in the bathroom. Did I mention it was pouring rain? No chance of hanging things on the clothesline.
We tried shoving the washer over, we tried putting the dryer on sawhorses to make the distance the cord had to reach shorter. No go.
At that point I just gave up. My work clothes would dry hanging in the bathroom (the miracle of poly/cotton blend scrubs and lab coats), I was bushed and I didn’t want anything further to do with it. Andrew concurred, at least temporarily, and we went back upstairs to watch more Python.
Two hours later Andrew was at Fred Meyer getting a longer dryer cord which he brought back and installed so we could dry enough laundry to last us through the week. The new stackable unit was scheduled to be delivered (I’ll leave the Sears ranting until later) on the 29th at which point it wouldn’t matter anymore.

Monday morning I was at work when Andrew called and told me that he’d been speaking with Jean at McLendon. Turns out (this is the part that was missing before) she failed to let us know that when one orders a shower unit it needs to be paid for before the order can be processed. I shocked what of my staff was around by coming up with a stream of words they weren’t sure I knew, banged my head against my desk and called McLendon with my credit card number.
An hour later Andrew called to let me know that when we had given Bath Fitters our deposit on my credit card they hadn’t taken the security number which they would need to process THAT order.
With the paint on the walls only a little singed I found the correct numbers and Andrew took care of Bath Fitters. I settled into a regular work day.

I generally call Andrew just before I leave work so he’ll know when I’m getting home. Since he does the vast majority of the cooking, that allows him to time dinner. I called Andrew at the end of the day and he sounded a little down. I asked if everything was okay, he said he’d talk to me when I got home.
With that ominous statement ringing in my ears I drove home with visions of part of the roof rotting out (the insulation guys showed up on Monday and had spent most of the day meandering around in the attic) or something equally horrid.
When I got home I found that The Saga Of The Shower wasn’t over. David had pulled out the old shower stall and found the reason behind the spongy shower floor.
Turns out that the previous fiberglass shower pan had been carefully placed mostly on the concrete slab floor, but for some obscure reason the area of concrete around the drain had been chipped out and the rest of the shower pan was supported with (wait for it) A CHUNK OF WOOD!
Hole In The Shower Floor
The white thing at about 6:00 is a plastic bag covering the drain pipe. David took the chunk of wood out with the shower pan and walls, but otherwise the floor is as it was found.
The wood had, of course, rotted out which allowed the shower pan to pull away from the drain. Water from the shower then leaked around the drain and under the pan which rotted out the floor sill in the shower enclosure. As it stood on Monday, we weren’t sure whether or not the floor sill for that entire wall was bad and whether or not we’d have to take down the entire wall between the laundry room and the garage.
Oh my.
Honestly, though, having expected to hear that our roof was rotting out, this was somewhat of a relief. David could take the wall apart, replace the floor sill, and still stay about on schedule for what we needed him to do.
Besides, the insulation dudes, two of whom were Evergreen graduates (they noticed our diplomas on the wall) had replaced the bathroom fan AND the hideous light fixture so we were up for the day by a functional fan and a non-hideous light fixture.
New Bathroom Fan
New Bathroom Light Fixture

The rest of the week was actually fairly straightforward. The Insulation Monkeys banged around in the attic and in the garage, David banged around in the laundry room finding that only the floor sill in the shower enclosure was rotten, and Sheri showed up on Friday afternoon with a remarkably rocking garden plan (I’m so excited!).
There are still a few little glitches to sort out….. like installing the NEW washer and dryer that we ordered from Albert Lee Appliance (big, BIG shout out to Albert Lee and their sales associate Craig Mims for sorting things out for us and providing us with a superb experience) after Sears, pardon the language, FUCKED UP IN THE EXTREME. We still have to have the Insulation Monkeys do a final walk through (the attic) and figure out why the bathroom fans leak cold air and why, if left on for too long, the bathroom light fixtures cut out and start smelling like melting plastic (we’re spending a lot of our bathroom time in the dark until Tuesday). But things are ticking along.
Now I’m going to go and scrub wallpaper paste.

2 Responses to “Remodel Week 5”

  1. Sara and Danny Says:

    You don’t have to tell the Sears portion of the saga. We’ve all experienced it for ourselves. When that “Sears Quality” thing kicks in , home ownership becomes a nightmare. Sounds like you actually found some good folks however. Alas, there are clones of Jean everywhere.

  2. Val Says:

    Yup. Sounds like you’re having the typical remodeling experience. Isn’t it FUN!

    The more you do, and the more you rip out, the more you find that is wrong. My prescription for this is to get the Tom Hanks movie The Money Pit (just hold your hands over your ears during the Shelley Long parts). When you get to the scene where the bathtub falls through the floor and Tom Hanks starts convulsively whooping with hysterical laughter you’ll know he feels your pain. That, and the turkey exploding from the oven and shooting out the window crack me up every time.

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