Yesterday was a really good day. Which may seem weird, because I woke up to two feet of snow blocking my driveway. My heat went out. I ripped half of one of my toenails off. I was insulted for being a girl… twice.
Days are like that sometimes. On paper it looks like a total shitshow, but in reality… couldn’t be better. There’s probably some kind of moral about having the right perspective in there, but honestly, I’m not feeling that philosophical right now. And just look how pretty it is…
That’s… my driveway. Um. Somewhere in there.
But really, the story of my awesome day doesn’t start out with a pretty Monday morning sunrise. It starts Saturday, when I was bound and determined to get the tile board installed in the upstairs bath, like I said I was going to.
(Well, you know, technically it probably started three years ago–to the day, if you’re reading this on the 4th–when I happened to drive by this house for the first time… and then bought it online while sitting in a bar. But that’s getting a little too nostalgic for a Tuesday night, and I’m saving all that up for the 3 year anniversary of closing on the house next month.)
Anyway, Saturday. Tile board.
I knew there was a reason I was avoiding this project… because it seemed like it was going to be easy. That’s a huge red flag. Any time it seems like it’s going to be easy, very frustrating things are about to happen to you.
In my case that meant that farm chores plus a full social schedule put me behind, and I only had one hour to get as much tile board hung in the tub surround as possible. (If you follow on the good book, twitter, or instagram you saw real-time updates of this fiasco in progress…)
First step was putting furring strips on the wall because the original drywall had been furred out to fit the smaller-than-normal tub that was here before. First mistake was that I used the exact same size furring strips that had been there before…
Then I tried to wrestle the board in place…
Then realized because of the old odd-sized tub and all of the ensuing wall-drama, I was going to have to shave a half-inch off this thing to get it to fit. There is nothing more annoying than trying to take a thin strip off of drywall or cement board, like this. My oscillating saw was nearby though, and this actually was way easier than scoring-and-snapping.
Then, after it was cut to size, I managed to install the first board While balancing on the edges of the tub, and using my hip to strategically hold everything in place while driving the screws…
This worked, and for about 30 seconds I looked at the tile board hung on the wall with an immense feeling of satisfaction…
Then I realized I’d misjudged the width of the tile board vs. the old drywall, and instead of being flush, the board was inset 1/4″. (Basically, wrong size furring strips.) And since I was out of time, I had to take the tile board down and it wasn’t going back up that day.
Progress made Saturday: 0
Then Sunday I decided the only way to make appreciable progress in the bathroom was to hold the only bottle of wine in the house hostage.
The last comment on that photo is from my trainer… dude has been working with me a couple of times a week for a year and a half now, and not only is he a saint for putting up with my shit for that long, he also totally has my number.
So after I cut new furring strips, got everything in place, went to screw the board in again, and then realized…
These screws were not long enough to go through the tile board, furring strips, and drywall, and sink securely into the studs. And there was already a foot of snow on the ground preventing me from going to get different screws… I decided to have a damn glass of wine anyway.
But I paid the price for it.
Progress made Sunday: 0
Instead I went to bed, and woke up Monday morning with three-foot snow drifts between me and civilization. Or even just like… the barn.
After last year, I’ve been through this enough times to know how the story goes. It starts pulling up my big-girl Carhartts and doing a lot of shoveling just to get the barn door open so I can get to the tractor…
But, you know, it was sunny, the wind wasn’t blowing, and all that shoveling was a great way to loosen up my arms from all the penance-pushups from the night before…
Then I got to spend a couple of hours breaking in the tractor for its first time plowing snow….
I managed to put in a full day of work from my home office, shovel my way to the barn, plow my driveway, and was just about to congratulate myself on a good days work with a hot shower and maybe another glass of wine (and 20 more pushups) when my heat went out.
This house is heated with fuel oil, and monitoring the tank is more of an art than a science. I also must have burned through 400 gallons in 5 weeks, which is definitely a record, so I wasn’t expecting to have to watch it that closely for another week or two.
But I couldn’t even get irritated about this because I was so relieved that the tank didn’t go empty until I was already plowed out and able to go get some diesel to keep things running. So I popped my collection of gas cans in the back of the truck, headed out to the nearest gas station (a good 20 minutes away) and then figured, what the hell, I’m out driving around anyway, might as well stop by Lowe’s and get the right fasteners for the tile board.
(I also may have stopped at the liquor store, because… backup wine.)
Anyway, in the space of about 15 minutes between the liquor store and the gas station, one asshole called me “sweetheart” and another one wolf-whistled and shouted “looks like you’re a working girl” across the parking lot as I’m hauling cans of diesel into the back of my truck. You can see my response to that nonsense here.
And I joke about delivering a well-deserved ass kicking now and again–step foot on my property without an invitation and it’ll stop being a joke realquick— but for the most part, here’s how I really respond to shit like that…
I go home after a day of shoveling and plowing and doing my actual day-job, and I haul 25 gallons of diesel out to the take to get the heat back on, and then strip out of my Carhartts, walk straight up to my upstairs bathroom, and install those dammed pieces of tile board.
Because I understand that when someone tries to patronize me for any reason– because I’m a girl, or because I’m short, or because I’m young(ish), or because I don’t fit their idea of what another person should be– well, that shit is coming from a small person, with a small mind. And I can guarantee that someone like that would never have the fortitude, the confidence, or the strength of spirit to do the awesome things I do, even on my worst day.
And that’s the kind of shit that comes together to make one really good day.