OLD BATHROOM/NEW ME
Our ex-bathroom was always referred to as The Pink Bathroom, for obvious reasons. It was covered with deep, saturated, pink tile and when we moved into the house, it only seemed right that we paint the walls in there pink as well. I always liked that bathroom. It was the only overtly feminine room in the whole house. It had Deco fixtures and I’d hung lace curtains. It was really kind of perfect except for one thing: nothing in there worked.
The tub didn’t work and the plumbers said it was so old it was practically a hazard to try and fix it. Whenever a plumber starts bandying about the term Pandora’s Box, I’m happy to just live with the problem fixture for eternity.
The sink’s faucets worked, but its chrome legs kept falling off. For five or six years I was able to rejigger them. But more recently, the jerry-rigging was like building a house of cards. The legs and adjoining towel bars needed to be placed together gingerly and with exacting balance. Turning on the venting fan was sometimes enough atmospheric interference to send them clattering to the floor again.
The toilet worked sometimes, not always. It would frequently choose a feces-filled moment to cease all flushing functions.
The room had a great built in cupboard, tall and deep with little sub-shelves where small bottles could be stored and easily retrieved. The rest of the space, while it may have looked like a bathroom, was really just a pink-tiled enclave for the world’s most efficacious storage cabinet.
I tried to explain all this to the woman at the Tax Assessor’s Office. I’d made a special trip down there last week, suspecting that I may not get my point across effectively over the phone.
“I don’t think our taxes should go up based on the work we’re doing,” I explained. “We’re remodeling, yes. But we’re really just replacing broken fixtures with working ones. It just so happens that the floor and walls need to be ripped apart in order to accomplish that.”
“You’re replacing an old bathroom, with a brand new bathroom. That needs to be reflected in your assessment.”
“But nothing in the old bathroom worked,” I said, talking loudly, as I sometimes do to people that I perceive to be dense or inept. “I don’t even think the current room should count as a bathroom. It’s unusable.”
She repeated her position, verbatim, in response to every argument I made. The old me would have stayed there and engaged her for an hour, enamored as I am of always being right. But today’s me only needed to hear her party line three times before I realized I was not going to make any headway with her.
I came home, crossed TALK TO TAX ASSESSOR off my to-do list, and somehow made that small accomplishment – just the act of going there – count for something.
Good for you, I said to myself. That’s one less thing you need to do this week.