24 May 2010

Now With World Famous Hungarian Plumbing!

I just got to go prevent Hungarian plumbing from happening in my basement. Why would I do this? Because, like most of the world, I prefer to have my cold water control on the right side where the dial actually says it is.

We've had just a shower in our place for the last year and a half. When we found out I was pregnant, I had a giant fit and demanded I have things like a bathtub and a working sink in the bathroom. Since my father is a licensed contractor, we generally get these things done for cost of supplies and a large amount of aggravation. I am not actually participating in this fiasco since I am not allowed to do things like this, but I helped build the shower and the bathroom when we first moved here, so I am familiar with the process.

This is how things go:

After several months of insisting he come down and do work for his first grandchild, my father calls 36 hours in advance and says he'll be down. I tell him no, we have plans and it will need to be the following week-end. He tells me he will arrive at 4, which in contractor-speak, means 9:30 at night, after Lowes has closed. Nothing will get done Saturday, except he will make grandiose plans for all the things that need doing. The project started as a bathtub and a sink. Now, we are additionally refinishing the kitchen, adding shelving, a utility room, gutting and remodeling the bathroom, building a couple of closets, partitioning off the utility room, and building the baby's room BIGGER and BETTER!

Then, there's the time estimate. My father works on contractor time, which has no bearing on reality. Estimate: just Sunday afternoon. Real time: at least through Monday and probably with multiple trips. This is a pro-tip. Whatever amount of time your contractor tells you, triple it.

Steven and my father left the house at 8:30 yesterday to go to Lowes. I sent a list. A good list, with SKUs and everything. Time they rolled back in: 1:30, with McDonalds. Time work started: some time after 2. To be fair, they did work until after 9, so I am not complaining about actual time spent.

As of today, at 4, the bathroom is pretty well started and the kitchen is mostly finished. There's another Lowes run happening. Here's another pro-tip: your contractor will never have everything you need, no matter how much planning you've done. Minimally, they will require at least one extra trip for a part that is crucial to everything finished. If you are lucky, it will be while the supplier is open.

This brings me back to Hungarian plumbing. My father built the house I grew up in. Obviously, to save money, he built as much of it on his own as he could. This lead to our bathroom water being piped in completely backwards. For whatever reason, my father is completely incapable of managing to pipe cold water in on the right-hand side.

So my husband comes bounding up the stairs, telling me I need to come downstairs before we are installed backwards. Steven has a big stake in this: while I grew up with this fine plumbing, Steven lived in a house that was built by actual contractors who were not related to him and would burn himself. So I tell my father that I would like my bath to have cold water on the right. I am pretty sure he doesn't actually believe me, but apparently, since I am pregnant, I can have things plumbed however I want. I pointed out that the mixer actually says cold on the left, too, but that could be fixed by installing it upside down. No one is the wiser, right?

So here's a tally.

Things That Were Done In Theory:

  • Bathroom renovation
  • Kitchen renovation, including new counter
  • Oil tank drained and removed
  • 2+ closets added
  • Baby's room made with false wall
  • Utility room
  • Shelving
Here's what will be done at some point today:
  • Bathroom mostly finished. Will need spackling, painting, and some kind of floor treatment.
  • Kitchen renovation, including new counter.
  • Oil tank drained and set outside.
Still waiting on the theoretical bill for how much this would have cost. Cost of an ill-advised home renovation project while pregnant? Priceless.

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