NORMAN — Few countries outside of the U.S. make it so easy to change or renovate a home. To cut expenses, homeowners often do a lot of the work themselves.
Ted and Eva looked a long time and were thrilled to run onto a trendy bath vanity on sale. Ted immediately removed the old built-in vanity.
“Eva, can you come here a second?” he called. “I think we may have a problem.”
Eva hurried in fear Ted may have sawed into a major water line. She stared at a hole in their bathroom floor, just the size of the old vanity.
“You’re kidding,” she said. “You mean all this time, we’ve been living with the outdoors under the bathroom sink?”
“Now what do I do?” Ted said.
“Call a realtor.”
The Sims thought of turning an outdated bedroom into one with a bath. Jerry decided to tackle the plumbing. Nothing to it, he thought. He bought tools. He consulted his banker. He already knew where to turn off the water to the house.
The third day out of water with lots of confusion, Jerry cursed the house, those tools and his banker. His wife weighed in on the subject.
“You’re in over your head, you know,” she told him. “You don’t know how to do plumbing, much less do it up to code, but if you don’t turn on our water today, I’m moving out.”
An angry Jerry turned on the house water, causing a small flood.
“Now you can take a bath in the living room,” he shouted to his wife.
She also knew where to turn on the water. Then she called a plumber.
Fred and Sue hired Manny, a self-promoting contractor. They hired him to modernize an upstairs bathroom in a two-story home. Manny took a long time.
“I guess he’s a careful worker,” Fred commented.
“Or just slow,” Sue concluded. “According to his word, we should’ve been back in that bathroom a week ago.”
The finished bathroom gleamed with no-drip faucets and no-line shower doors. Fred and Sue were pleased, until they discovered water from the bath upstairs leaking into the walls and floor in the kitchen below. Savings were tapped once more for a licensed contractor.
Sue’s comment about the finished rooms, “Costly but beautiful.” For the second time, she put back all their stuff.
“They cost us twice as much as we planned,” Fred said. “Hiring Manny was a big mistake. When I think of hiding him from the building inspector in the middle of his work, I shudder.”
Everyone envies folks naturally talented in doing home projects.
“How in the world did you do this all by yourself?” a neighbor remarks as she gazes at a basement turned into a cozy media and family room. “I’ll hire you to do mine.”
“Would you like to know how many times we tore something out and started over?” the neighbor responds. “I’m surprised we’re still married.”
“We are?” her husband jokes.
Shirley Ramsey, a retired professor of journalism, lives in Norman.
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