Saturday, July 20, 2013

Now You Can Find TP, But Not T-Shirts

A while back, my sister approached me with a very important directive: under no circumstances were we to put the toilet-paper holder to the right of the toilet; it causes undue difficulty for right-handed people.  Additionally, dispensers placed directly across from the toilet can be problematic should the distance between the seat and the opposing wall be great enough to require anything more than a slight forward lean. Having never actually thought about the placement of toilet-paper holders in the house-- other than my distaste for free-standing holders placed beside the toilet-- I proceeded to visit both of our bathrooms, sat on the lids, and groped around to see which were the optimum placements for our specific set-up.

Turns out, my sister was not only correct, but will have to deal with the reality that neither of her directives were heeded. The toilet-paper holder upstairs can really only be placed to the right of the toilet, since there's no wall to the left, and the bath towels hanging directly across would make any roll underneath them humid--yuck. Downstairs, there's no wall on either side-- regardless of the fact that we wanted one, if you can recall that from a ways back-- so the opposite wall's the only choice, apart from a free-stander, which is out of the question. This is all to say, however, that after living in the house for three months now, and having working plumbing for several more, we now have mounted bathroom hardware!
Now you can actually dry your hands in our upstairs bathroom.
What you see when you sit on the toilet
in our upstairs bathroom.
What you see when you sit on the toilet
in our downstairs bathroom.
My bed, with my closet sitting
on top of it. :(
As an aside, holy crap is it bright in Isaac's room!  My mom complained about it last time they were over, but I didn't think anything of it. But on the second night in there, Isaac woke us up saying he couldn't sleep, and I had no idea what time it was-- judging by the light coming through the shades, I guessed it was about 5:30, but when I checked my phone, it was barely 3:15. That street lamp outside has some major power, and is positioned perfectly to make Isaac's room the Forest Glen equivalent of Times Square. (Maybe that's why all his guppies are dying? They've all got insomnia!) Needless to say, last night we moved the pile of clothes onto the closet floor and we all slept-- soundly-- in our own beds. Still, I worry that the brightness will somehow affect Isaac, even if he doesn't complain. I'm not worried about guests like my mom, because once the guest room is up and running, lack of light may be the problem, rather than overabundance. But black-out curtains might be in Isaac's future, unless we can somehow persuade the community to let us cover up the half of the light that points at our house.

The contractors have been at the house a few times this week, if you can believe it, and have supposedly put our house in compliance with twelve of the thirteen items that had caused us to fail our inspection the last time around. The one that's left I'll discuss in a moment, but I'll note that the reason I say they put us in compliance rather than "they fixed the stuff" is our closet work-around situation. The issue in there was that my closet system, which was installed back in April and represented a big, unusual splurge for me, did not leave enough clearance for the inspector's taste when it came to the ceiling lighting. So rather than rerouting the electric and tearing drywall up, the contractors wanted to tear out my closet. Abby called me at work, asking if I would be okay with the system's temporary removal, pending the inspection. I freaked out, since part of the draw for me was that a) the system was installed by the manufacturer, and b) it has a lifetime warranty. I didn't want anything the contractors did to void the warranty, so I called Closet America to see what the deal was. Apparently, they're okay with it, but anything broken during the process would not be covered. In other words, you break it, you buy it. I communicated this to Abby, telling her that they could take it apart as long as they took responsibility for any issues. Abby confided that she trusted Fernando, the guy who'd be doing the work, so it all went down on Tuesday. As a result, our entire closet was emptied onto our bed, and we slept in Isaac's room for two nights while the kids had sleepovers in Lola's room.

My closet, stripped naked of its accouterments.

So back to lucky #13: the foundation wall. When we last left off, we were in a weeks-long wait to get the new downstairs front wall approved, and were looking at a $4000 bill (and most definitely a fight over responsibility for that bill) to dig up our front yard for a day to show the inspector something he supposedly saw and forgot to record several months ago. This week, Mark told me there's an alternative: a third-party inspector who can approve the job by looking at the plans, figuring out where weaknesses would be that should be able to be detected even with finished walls and a filled-in front yard, and ensuring none of those weaknesses are present. All this for the bargain-basement price of about $2000. To me, this all sounds very fishy: some guy is allowed to okay a permit that some other guy can only approve once earth is moved, and all he has to do is knock around on some walls, and all we have to do is pay a fee about twenty times the price of normal?  If I were abroad, I would call the Embassy or Transparency International to get the 411 on this, but now? I just want this thing completed. I feel defeated. I don't want to do anything that would jeopardize our investment in this place, but jeez!  Meanwhile, we're steeling ourselves for what will inevitably be a brawl over the cost. But first things first: get the damn inspection!

So as it sits right now, we're potentially on track for a final inspection in the middle of next week, although I'll believe it only when the inspector physically enters the premises. But in the meantime, at least twelve-thirteenths of the requirements were completed, according to the contractors. And hey, we've got toilet-paper holders mounted on the wall now too-- and I'm totally willing to take the necessary flak from my sister.

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