Note: Last week, a glitch on my website caused many subscribers to be sent multiple test emails containing blog fragments. If you were one of them and did not unsubscribe, thank you. It’s embarrassing when something that should remain behind the scenes spills out into public space. Worse still, when the accident is annoying to readers I value. My webmaster think the problem is fixed. I sure hope so. I would certainly not deliberately annoy readers I care about with multiple emails. Thanks for your understanding.
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This week, the renovation in the bathroom started. All we needed was to replace the top of the vanity, which also
created a shelf over the toilet tank. Well, and add a new sink to update the look of the bathroom. And the mirror over the sink was losing its silvering, so a new mirror. A day, I figured. Maybe two.
Stop laughing. I can hear you laughing from this side of the keyboard. But yes, you are right. Once the top of the vanity came off, there were two gouges in the wall. The vanity was not a standard size, so no new top. Instead, a new vanity. Which is not the same size as the old one. No problem, just take out the old vanity. Only to discover that the tile in the bathroom stopped at the edge of the vanity.
So, now we needed a new vanity, new sink, new mirror, re-tile the floor, repair the wall, paint the wall. The list was getting longer.
When the plumbing was removed from the old vanity, it turned out we needed to replace some pipes and fixtures. Age and hard water had eaten them away. Oh, and the light fixture, centered over the old mirror, needed to be moved to be centered over the new mirror. Which is when we discovered an electrical problem.
What started out as removing an outdated vanity unraveled the entire bathroom, piece by piece. I think we can keep the old soapdish. Maybe.
Isn’t this exactly what happens when we start to plan a simple creative project? We plan to spend about an hour working on a project, and one piece of equipment is missing. Then it’s two. Then we need to learn a different skill, acquire more colors, another $200 worth of tools, and right after that, a bigger studio.
Solving problems follows the same pattern. We want to solve a tiny problem. It’s connected to a bigger problem, a lack of skills which we need to learn about and practice. Three years later, we wake up and realize the original problem was solved two years ago, but the ancillary problems are all still in progress.
But what I learned in my bathroom is something that works here, too: if you want to do it right, you may be in for more than just a cosmetic fix. And to truly understand a problem, you can’t assume it’s always cosmetic. Hidden problems show up when we uncover smaller problems. It’s the nature of life. And it’s not a bad thing. It’s the reality of renovation–whether that is a bathroom, a creative project, or your self-awareness.
—Quinn McDonald thinks the bathroom renovation will be done this coming week.
P.S. I’d like to thank blog reader and comment-leaver Robin Young for a wry, funny and knowing email exchange on the topic of renovations. He suggested that any renovation will always cost twice as much plus 20 percent as you planned. The email exchange gave me the idea for this blog.