It’s in the 90’s today with 65% humidity. Just a wee bit sweltering for another day into our first week of bathroom updates. The twenty-five year old cabinets, fixtures, tiles, etc. are history. Out with shabby brown stuff and in with whites and neutrals. I’ll confess to many sleepless nights thinking about it all: Did I make the right decision on the floor tile…the shower/bath accent tile? Is this neutral direction too blah? And more importantly, will my selections negatively affect resale? In fact, just the night before I’d had a mini panic attack.
“I should have researched designs more thoroughly.” I say to hubby as I paced the bedroom floor. He brushes aside my anxiety saying everything will look great. He also adds an emphatic: “No more fixing-up this year! Period>”
Tension rises as I know Hubby could have happily lived with poop-brown floors and cabinets for at least another decade.
So, In an effort to save money I did not seek professional design help; that would have been another 5K to the project! And, alas no…I don’t spend any time watching fixer-upper shows on T.V. It was time-sapping enough browsing bathroom ideas on Houzz or Pinterest. This is not our “forever” home. My objective is to keep things simple and neutral. I also remind myself that anything I do to update the bathrooms is sure to look amazingly better than it does now.
So, The Poodle and I are hanging out on the screened-in porch trying to escape the thunderous noise from the work being done on the upstairs bathrooms. The Poodle is curiously calm despite the drilling and hammering as cabinets and tiles get ripped out from the walls and floors. Just a few days before rain fell in buckets, nearly drowning out the construction noise. In fact, there was a flash flood alert just a few miles away.
On this morning, as I sip coffee, beads of sweat form at my temples. I close my eyes, inhaling deep and exhaling slow as I contemplate the day. A Spotify playlist of lively Latino tunes has the contractors singing along as they work. It makes me smile, which is helping to temper a building anxiety.
There has been some turmoil as of late, which actually began whilst we were dining in a Scottish pub on the last day of our vacation. Hubby’s mother had an “episode” in her memory care unit causing enough of a to-do that now she needs to “advance” to another level of care. Understandably, Hubby is majorly stressed (we both are) as we consider what to do next.
My mind drifts to where I was just two weeks ago; cycling in the Scottish countryside. One of the morning rides had us cycling in quite a downpour. Not only were we cycling in torrential rain but it was cold enough to briefly sleet as well. I think too of how awfully nice the Scots are. In fact, everyone I met was as nice as can be and good-natured too. I’m not sure why I’m thinking about the subject of “nice people.” Perhaps it’s because of all the stupid stuff people say or do. I was happily disconnected from news and world events while on my excellent bicycle adventure. Since my return I have encountered a person or two who have been mildly rude or unhelpful. Nothing terribly egregious mind you…but still.
So what a lovely memory I carry from meeting one couple, whose names unfortunately escape me because I’ll recall the noise level was fairly deafening…
So I’ll call him James and her Lillian.
We’d just arrived in Glasgow hours earlier and after a shower and a brief nap we hailed an Uber and off we went to city central. It would be the best opportunity for shopping as the remainder of our adventure would find us in small country towns–and sure enough–too exhausted for much else after cycling all day. We managed to pick up a Crawford tartan scarf for hubby and odds and ends for my sis and her family. After a few purchases we decided to find a pub to begin, in earnest, our Scotland vacation. We stumbled on Denholms, a place up the street from Glasgow Central (train) Station. Hubby was intent on a brew while I just wanted a glass of wine. It was barely 5 p.m. and the place was already packed and the noise level was loud. Hubby asked if I wanted to find a quieter spot.
“Are you kidding? This is perfect! We’re in Scotland!” was my reply.
Hubby ordered his brew and I got a glass of house wine. Hubby was happy with his selection. My wine…eh, not so much. But I drank it anyway just happy to be on a new adventure. As we sat and sipped our libations the lovely couple (that would be ‘James and Lillian’) the next table over, noting that we were Americans, struck up a conversation. Strong accents aside, it was difficult to hear with the background music and all the pub chatter but we gleaned that James was from Liverpool and Lillian a Glasgow native. James served in the military, during the Falklands War, and now retired from the military drives the equivalent of an 18-wheeler throughout southern Scotland. James and Lillian are still newlyweds…barely married a year! They chatted with us as if we were Denholms regulars. These folks were nice as can be!
At one point I excused myself for the restroom. When I returned just a few minutes later there was another glass of wine waiting for me as well as another large brew for hubby.
“Oh dear…” I began, a look of dismay directed at hubby. But before I could finish my sentence he chimed in informing me that James had surprised him by ordering round for us.
“Oh my…well, thank you James!” I said. “But…well, I haven’t eaten for quite some time…not since getting off the plane early this morning. I fear I just might just slide under the table if I drink this.”
“Ah, but it’s better wine than that first glass you ordered. Come on…give it a go,” said James with a wide smile.
“Darling…perhaps we should have asked first before ordering,” says Lillian. She adds a jovial apology.
“No..no. This is fantastic,” I nearly yell over the increasing din of pub chatter and lively music.
Indeed, the wine was far better than my first glass and yes, I could feel a slight buzz coming on due to drinking on an empty stomach. When James and Lillian finally prepared to leave I asked if I could take a photo of them–which they were absolutely tickled to pose for. By then, the small pub was tightly packed. We exchanged a round of hugs and thanks.
“Oh you shouldn’t be thanking us” I said, hugging Lillian. You bought us drinks! You both have given us a lovely start to our excellent Scottish adventure.”
“Aye…but we had a lovely time too,” replied James.
Hubby and I lingered for a few minutes more which is when I caught sight of my first Kilt-clad gentleman. It was obvious he was a regular. As I watched him make his way to the far side of the counter he greeted folks right and left. His mood was so genial as he ordered his brew and then raised it in thanks to the bartender that inexplicably, it made me smile from ear to ear. Of course, I had to take a picture of the man in the Kilt and had I not felt that I’d pass out from hunger I would have stayed and gotten his name.
The Poodle rises from his place by my side and starts barking, snapping me back to reality. One of the workers had come into the kitchen for water. Through the patio window I could see he was eyeing the enormous Costco box of chocolate chip cookies that I had placed on the kitchen table. I had purchased several boxes–as well as bottled water– as snacks for the crew. “Go ahead,” I said as I entered into the kitchen. “The cookies are for all of you guys.” Still, I could sense his hesitation–most likely due to a language barrier– so I motioned him to take cookies.
“Thank you Miss,” he said radiating happiness with a broad toothy smile.
Oh how lucky I am. And, it doesn’t take much….
Though uncertainty, sadness, and a host of other emotions punctuate the day one thing is for certain, the feelings experienced from gratitude and kindness…that is true bliss.
Feeling blissful, one moment at a time.