There are times in life when things that are meant to be gifts can actually end up giving you a metaphorical kick in the head. Whether they are gifts to ones self or gifts from another person, if there are any kind of strings attached, they can end up mercilessly making a mockery of you. These treasures can end up making a person feel like a total asshole. I can think of two examples at this very moment. My Godforsaken whirlpool tub, and my blankety-blank string of real pearls.
Allow me to back up. I don’t deal well with disappointment. Disappointment is for the weak. That is exactly why I created a little workshop in my head. In my workshop, I do nothing but transform pure disappointment into seething rage, resentment and frustration. Resentment and frustration are powerful and intimidating. Disappointment is not. Disappointment is whiney, annoying, and irritating. Disappointment is for spineless ninnies.
Two weeks after Maggie was born, the pipes in our bathroom imploded. The implosion of said pipes rendered our only bathtub totally useless. The same tub in which I was supposed soak, to treat my third degree tear and other insults sustained by my woman parts in the course of delivering a baby just under nine pounds. With foreceps. The imploded pipes also totally destroyed the downstairs bathroom as it caused the plaster to fall off the walls and ceiling in giant, soggy, heavy chunks. Oh, the goddamned bathrooms. I am beginning to seethe this very moment, just writing about them.
This winter, my husband Jim began the long arduous process of tearing down the downstairs bath to begin the remodeling process. My trepidation grew as I discovered the financial reality of home improvement projects. They cost a bazillion dollars and they take decades to complete. No. They take quarter centuries to complete. In an effort to create a sense on enthusiasm, I busied myself with choosing new bathroom fixtures. I chose a pedestal sink, a new toilet, and a brand new whirlpool tub. Oh the luxury of soaking in a whirlpool tub of my very own! Visions of my spa-like sanctuary danced in my head. I purchased candles in every fragrance, and stocked up on bath gel and waited eagerly. I tried to be patient. I would soon have my whirpool tub! A healthy way to deal with life’s stresses and aggravations! A place of my very own in which to carve out a quiet moment or two, and read magazines in beautiful silence.
This was in January. It is now nearly May, and the goddamned fixtures still sit in the basement, gathering dust, and mocking my naive excitement. Excitement is for the gullible and delusional. I should have known better.
It started with the walls. They were full of mold and had to be chopped to bits and destroyed. Then came the floor. The floor was not level. Two months later, we hired a cement guy who came out, charged us $800 and fixed the stupid crooked floor. Then came the tragic coincidence of the water heater springing a leak, which required the purchase of a new one. In addition, we ended up with a with a new water softener. Next came the walls part one. Jim and our brother-in-law spent an evening building framework for the walls. Half of them. THEN: the plumber. OH, but for the plumber. The plumber came out once to move the toilet base. Next, he came out to move the pipes for the sink.
Then we got cheeky and ordered a goddamned washer and dryer. We have had them for a week, and are still unable to use them. Enter the plumber again. The acquisition of the washer and dryer created this mysterious need to re-plumb the entire fucking laundry room. We now have a brand new laundry tub that we didn’t really need in the first place, a maze of sparkly new copper piping, and, IRONICALLY a fucking useless brand new washer, and fucking useless brand new dryer. And a lot of copper piping I am not certain we needed in the first place.
The pile of unwashable laundry has grown nearly as large as the size of our rapidly increasing plumbing bill. It sits there as a reminder of why the first word out of my mouth needs to be “NO!” when my buy-in is requested for these projects.
It has been three months since my whirpool tub was delivered. Yesterday the plumber took the tub and set it over the drain to see where it would fit. Start the laugh track here. It appears that the tub that we purchased from Home Depot has three mysterious holes that shouldn’t be there. They render the tub useless. If we install this tub, our home will be destroyed and our dogs will die, and our gardens will wither. The whirlpool tub is not UP TO CODE.
There are no other tubs at home depot that have these holes. Some fucking yutz bought the tub, drilled holes in it, realized they had made an error, and brought it back to exchange it for a new one. THIS IS THE FUCKING TUB WE ENDED UP WITH. It needs to be returned. However, because it has been sitting in the basement for so long, I am not certain they will take the stupid NOT UP TO CODE tub back and give us one that is UP TO CODE.
Five months into the project this is what we have:
A wall-less cement floor that does not yet serve a purpose, but boy, is it LEVEL.
Two partial walls and a few holes in the floor for fixtures.
A lot of sparkly copper tubing, a new laundry tub that I did not want or need, yet somehow will end up paying for.
A brand new washer and dryer THAT ARE AS OF YET TOTALLY USELESS AND IMPOTENT.
A water softener that has yet to be installed.
A cluttered unusable basement full of dusty, unattached fixtures.
The GODFORSAKEN vandalized whirlpool spa tub that sits there and mocks me. It says to me “What a fool you were, Meghan, to think that your dream would come true without first causing you so much frustration that you would want to pull out your own hair, fistful by fistful, and then crumple to the floor in a sobbing heap.
Right about now, I want to make a homemade bomb in the garage out of fertilizer and send that whirlpool tub and all it represents, exploding violently into a million little pieces. I want to stop the project RIGHT NOW. Pay the plumber, do my goddamned laundry in a Laundromat for the rest of my life, and give that stupid wall-less room the FINGER every time I walk by it. That scenario, complete with a lifetime of Laundromat patronage, is more appealing to me than admitting I have had my ass kicked by this never ending project. That I am disappointed. That I feel bamboozled and foolish for allowing things to get this bad. That I should have said “No” several times throughout this process, and didn’t. If I could give it all back right now, I would. I no longer want that stupid whirlpool tub, because every ounce of fun and enthusiasm has been sucked right out of this process. I HATE THAT WHIRLPOOL TUB.
As you can see. I don’t deal well with disappointment. And I haven’t even gotten to the story about the pearls. Let it suffice to say that I have a strong resentment towards being led along with carrot-like rewards, only to be repeatedly frustrated and disappointed in the end. These are the times when a gift is not really a gift, but a means of emotional manipulation. Even when I do it to myself. This leads to me feeling tricked and disappointed, and somewhere in the recesses of my soul, feeling disappointed and tricked makes me angrier than anything could ever possibly make me.
Does a desire to drop a bomb on a once-coveted whirlpool tub and then scream obscenities at a semi-walled flat-floored open space in the basement indicate some kind of mental breakdown? I think the answer is yes. What do you think?