Category Archives: bad days

Travel Agent Trial by Fire

DSCN0668I have always loved traveling and putting together trips. Disney is my happy place. I grew up near Disneyland and as a teen moved to Indiana, where Disney World became our go to theme park. It doesn’t matter the size of the crowd or the heat of the day, I LOVE being at Disney. I also adore Universal Studios (on both coasts), and cruising. I’ve also led about a dozen student trips both in the U.S. and in Europe, in hopes of one day seeing most of the world.

So when I saw an opportunity to become a Magical Vacation Planner back in August of 2019, I applied. I was thrilled when I was chosen and excited to start training. And boy was there a lot of training! Not that I minded as it was fascinating learning the ins and outs of vacation planning for some of my favorite destinations. I truly feel the knowledge I’ve acquired, my love of travel, and my attention to detail make me pretty good at this job.

After only a few months of getting the word out about my new business, I was even one of the top 10 agents on my team in January. It was so amazingly exciting!

And then the coronavirus hit. Talk about a trial by fire.

On the plus side, most of my trips are scheduled for later this year, but I had two clients scheduled for trips in March, and I was supposed to be leaving with my family on a Disney vacation for the first week of our spring break. In fact, I was scheduled to leave for Disney World the day after Disney announced they’d be closing Disney World. The park actually shut down on what would have been the third day of my trip.

20191230_110814It was a mad scramble to get trips canceled and rebooked. I spent several hours on the phone with Carnival Cruise Line and Disney World trying to get everything sorted out. I definitely had my share of frustration over some dropped calls. I’d been on hold with Disney for an hour when it seemed like someone picked up, but no voice could be heard, and I was transferred to the end of call agent customer service survey. There may have been tears. But I persevered, dialed again, and waited one more time until I got through.

At one point I was actually chatting with my client on Facebook Messenger while talking to a Disney agent in order to replan her trip. Although it started out stressful, the agent I talked to was simply amazing and I ended up getting my client an even better deal which included a small refund and an upgrade to her dining plan, which will end up saving her even more money once she’s at Disney.

It’s been a crazy few weeks, but I’ve been very impressed with how Disney, Universal, and the cruise lines have handled everything. I’m also so thankful I’ve been able to get things worked out for my clients and that I still have people talking to me about wanting to travel later on in the year.

Considering how easy it can be to book your own vacations online, I’ve had several people ask why bother using a travel agent. The last few weeks have been a clear testament to why travel agents matter. My clients didn’t have to do anything to get their trips canceled and rescheduled. They didn’t wait on the phone for hours, I did. They didn’t have to sort through all the emails and online information about the latest cancelation/rebooking policies, I did. They didn’t have to try to negotiate the best refunds/deals for rebooking, I did. All they had to do was tell me what they wanted done, and I got it done for them.

One of my funniest moments was actually when my cruise client emailed me about an email she’d gotten from Carnival with an updated cancelation policy the day after we’d canceled her trip. I’d already been on hold with Carnival for 45 minutes trying to make sure she got the better deal when her email came through. I gave her an immediate update via email, and when I got her a full refund, I called her to let her know.

It’s been a crazy few weeks and since I have another client scheduled to travel in mid-April, I expect I’ll have a few more crazy weeks, but I love helping people plan the best vacations I can, so I’m happy to do it. The world may be a bit up in the air right now, but remember that once things settle, I’ll be here to help you plan the perfect Disney, Universal, or cruise vacation. And you’ll get the same dedication, organization, and communication as all of my clients. I want to help people make amazing memories and see the world.

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Filed under bad days, cool places, cruising, Disney World, entertainment, Magical Vacation Planner by Shannon Schiller, ramblings, travel, what makes me me

Spring Break Quarantine: Week 1

20200318_171023Although I have not traveled outside of the country, my famiy’s spring break trips have been canceled due to threat of the coronavirus. Since we’ve been stuck inside, I took to Facebook and started posted daily quarantine updates in a style I like to think mirrors a Jane Austen heroine.

What follows below are my famiy’s exploits from our first week in quarantine.

Day 1 of Spring Break under quarantine: The day dawned as usual, although it was with a heavy sigh that I lifted myself out of bed. Today I was supposed to embark on an adventure to a Magical Kingdom, but alas, I am relegated to spend the next month at home.

After a morning and afternoon spent trying to sort out various travel issues for my clientele, I was finally able to take a short repose in my favorite chair. I sent the children outdoors for a constitutional, hoping they would stave off cabin fever with a frolic in the snow. My youngest was delighted. My eldest is displaying his dissatisfaction by tossing snowballs at my window and glowering at me. I fear this will be the first of many withering looks in the weeks to come.

As food shortages have already begun at the local markets, I am baking bread.

I have finished reading the first of the novels I plan to read during this long spring. I have high hopes that all will be well.


20200315_144241Day 2 of Spring Break Quarantine: Everyone was beyond thrilled when I served bacon for breakfast, since breakfast is usually a rushed affair so that we can be on our way to school and to work.

As a family we took our first daily constitutional around the neighborhood. The wind was bracing and made me long for the tropical climate we were supposed to be experiencing as we toured the world in only a few hours thanks to the magic of Florida. But there is no use bemoaning what should have been. Jumping over mud puddles on our walks will have to suffice as our daily thrill rides.

Later I finished the second of the novels I brought home to read. I also made progress on two other heavier works of non-fiction.

In addition to our twice daily walks, I am also instituting a family game hour. My daughter chose Munchkin Shakespeare and although I should not take quite as much pleasure in this as I do, I trounced both of my children and more than my fair share of Elizabethean monsters.

Dinner was a hearty soup with some of the homemade bread from day before.

The children were enconsed in their beds with little fuss and I settled in to my favorite chair, blanket on my lap to play some virtual cards with dear friends.



Day 3 of Spring Break Quarantine: Books are sustaining us through this long, cold, distance with others. I have finished the three of the books I brought home with me. My son has read twice that number. I fear he will soon run out. And with no libraries to sustain him, madness may set in soon….

I began cleaning our homestead. Although much was accomplished, my work was brought to an abrupt end when I found some mementos of my dear departed father and decided to seek solace under a warm blanket and Netflix.

Our morning constitutional was a success, but sadly as we headed out for our evening waltz around the neighborhood, a light drizzle began to fall and my children stubbornly refused to remain out of doors.

Despite the slight rain, spirits did improve with a delivery from Amazon which brought Nerf guns for my son. He is planning a full scale attack on his friends once this quarantine has been lifted. For now, he seems to be plotting against his sister. At the moment a peace holds, but I can’t help but wonder how long it will last.


20200318_103523Day 4 of Spring Break Quarantine: Cabin fever has suddenly set in. The day began with sibling squabbles which culminated in sibling shouting. It was truly much ado about nothing, but it is hard to reason with children in the throws of unreasonable anger.

Tempers cooled and clearer heads prevailed when a Lego challenge was issued. My son took up the gauntlet and created a new roller coaster for a theme park. My daughter created passengers for his ride. A small dose of teamwork brought them together.

Thankfully we were able to take more than just a turn around the room and actually escaped outside for our daily constitutionals. We desperately needed the fresh air and escape from the confines of our humble abode.

I was also able to finish my fourth novel of this quarantine and make impressive progress on The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. Sadly, I did not make as much progress on my Fast and Furious quest. This was due in part to the hour I spent in a Zoom meeting with the dearest companions of my heart. They lifted my weary spirits and made this time apart a bit more bearable.

20200318_171030Day 5 of Spring Break Quarantine: The weather foiled our attempts to get some fresh air. The rain came tumbling down upon us and drove us back indoors. Since it did not cease until after dinner, we were a bit more desolate than usual. The dreary day made our spirits even drearier.

Thankfully a delivery of food arrived from the local market, so I had some beautiful carrots and potatoes to accompany my roast. I also made some biscuits to round out the evening meal.

My daughter decided we needed a special project to busy ourselves, idle hands and all…so she suggested baking cookies. Sugar cookies were her choice so that we could make a thorough mess of the kitchen. They have special unicorn chips in them and are quite tasty. But now we have three dozen cookies and only four of us. Normally I would take these extra goodies into school to share with my students, but alas, since school is not in session and we are quarantined, we will have to put our best effort forward and make sure none of these precious morsels are wasted. In hindsight, I should have frozen half of the dough. Clearly I have not adjusted to this new world we find ourselves in.

My son found solace in his drawing lessons and my daughter in her music. I retreated into books again, and have finished my fifth book during this isolation.

20200319_164603Day 6 of Spring Break Quarantine: Today we actually left our home! What was originally supposed to be our day of rest in between two whirlwhind visits, first with family in the bustling city of Orlando, and then with friends in the quiet countryside of Athens, was instead the first day we’d left our neighborhood in nearly a week.

Fear not dear friends, our sojourn into the world did not put us at risk. We had to pick up some medicine from our local apothocary and also had to stop by the local market to acquire some additional ingredients for our meals. We did not actually venture in to either of these establishments, but waited for our items to be passed to us outside. We were back home in less than half an hour.

We were home in time to take our morning constitutional, which was much needed, especially when the rain picked up again and our evening one had to be forgotten.

After luncheon, we moved to the parlor where we wiled away the afternoon playing games the children invented, which were surprisingly amusing. Later, while the children played more games remotely with their cousins, I found even further entertainment from one of my favorite musical groups, The Indigo Girls. They had a concert in their parlor and invited the world to watch. I was so excited at how so many people who were so very far apart were brought together through the wonders of this modern age. My heart delighted in it and I may have danced in my kitchen.

20200320_105341Day 7 of Spring Break Quarantine: It’s been a week and the days are beginning to blend into one another.

One noticeable difference was that my husband was not needed in town until later in the day, so he spent the morning with us. The children were happy to have some time with their father, and disappointed he had to leave before our morning constitutional around the neighborhood. It was windy and the sky was overcast, but it was suprisingly warm. Although we wore our coats, we almost didn’t need them. It gave me hope that maybe we’d see the sun again soon. My spirits were further lifted when my daughter reached for my son’s hand and he actually let her take it for a few minutes as they walked.

Once home, we sat and wrote letters to some of our nearest and dearest. My daughter was excited to post hers, but was filled with grief when I informed her that her cousins would not get her letter or the game she sent them for several days.

Upon my husband’s arrival back home, we decided to play parlor games. My daugther chose Apples to Apples and we had a delightful time playing with words and clever turns of phrase. Once again, I won, much to my husband’s chagrin.

I was downtrodden when one of the avocados was completely spoiled, but still managed to produce a passable guacamole that my family loved with the remaining fruits. It complemented the tacos perfectly. Even during a pandemic, it is hard to complain when there are tacos.

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Filed under bad days, entertainment, food, good days, life as a teacher, love, married life, motherhood, my crazy family, my daughter, my son, pet peeves, problems with society, ramblings, the arts, what makes me me

And the bathroom remodeling saga continues

refinished floor part 2Dear Journal: 

I fear I must write this quickly before I succumb to the vapors escaping from my room. As if the hardship of once again being reduced to one toilet and having to reside in the guest room was not enough, the smell of the polyurethane wafting beneath the door is making me light-headed.

But the smell does signal a step in the right direction, even as it hinders me from taking a step on my floor. And we probably won’t perish from the fumes, right?

I do hope not as I would like to actually be able to shower in my bathroom at least once before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

Before he began work on the floor, he did refinish the mirror frame, so I suppose that is also a tally in the positive column. I am still uncertain whether or not our vanity can be installed tomorrow. I do not believe that tomorrow will bring an end to this saga.

vanityDear Journal: 

The second deadline for completion of the bathroom renovations has come…and gone. As I feared, it is still not finished. While on the surface it appears to be a fully functional bathroom, there is something evil lurking within. Or rather there is something broken sitting right in plain sight.

When I walked in the door, I was thunderstruck at the addition of the vanity. I remembered it differently from the photograph I was shown, but considering that the fleeting photo I saw was viewed over a month ago, I chalked that up to a mere fault in my memory. What is not a trick of time, however, is the fact that the faucets my husband was so proud of finding at a stellar discount, are both broken, although interestingly in different ways. One has a hairline crack which cannot even be detected unless the water is turned on. The second is missing a thingamabob which does not hinder its function, but according to my husband cannot be endured.

So, in addition to the time we will be unable to use the shower due to painting and allowing the paint to dry, we also cannot use our sinks until these faucets are returned and the new ones are ordered and installed.

My husband’s prediction is a fully functional bathroom by Tuesday. I smile, nod my head in agreement, and secretly assume it will be another week.

Oh, did I mention the floor has to be resanded and resealed on Monday as well?

paintingDear Journal:

As we enter the fifth weekend with only one bathroom, I was prepared to rise from bed, sighing heavily at the prospect of two more days without progress. Miraculously, this did not end up being my lot today. For today, there was progress. Granted, that progress is completely due to my husband’s obsessive nature.

While I am still faced with the prospect of at least three more days without a functioning bathroom, today my husband took up a brush and began painting. For the past 10 hours he has been working toward two full coats of paint on the walls. The inner shower room has been completed. Now he is working on the outer area, which is much larger.

The paint is darker than I anticipated and I am anxious to see how it all comes together. But, as of this moment, I have hope.

bathroom painted with toilet.jpgDear Journal: 

While technically there was no further progress made today, late last night my husband set his paintbrush to rest.

Last night I was not able to fully appreciate it, but in the dawn of this new day, I was able to truly view his endeavor. While the paint is still darker than I expected, I do think it will grow on me.

I have been assured that tomorrow our house will be completely restored to us. Our contractor claims he must away and instead of starting the kitchen job for another client, he now says he is leaving the country. Maybe I have become a bit jaded as a result of this project, but this latest development sounds dubious.

Nevertheless, the final payment is on the counter and tomorrow our garage will once again be capable of holding two cars. Alas the project will not be finished as we are still waiting on the replacement faucets to arrive. So we will have two sinks but no way to use them. But maybe by Tuesday I can actually shower in my own bathroom.

Here’s to dreaming.


no faucets.jpgDear Journal: 

The bathroom is finished! Of course the floors are still drying so we must sleep in the guest room. And if you look at the photo, you’ll notice there are no faucets on the sinks. We are patiently awaiting replacements for the defective ones that at least made our sinks look usable. Our best estimate is that we might have working sinks on Friday.

The trim still needs to be painted and some sort of shoe molding also must be applied. In addition we need two additional lights and a vent for the shower room.

Alas, it appears I have at least one more day to endure the children’s shower. Although at this point I have become numb to the torment.

Dear Journal: 

It is a Christmas miracle! Yes, of course I do realize it is not yet Christmas. But there were snowflakes yesterday and a simple jaunt across the street today found my legs and ears nearly frozen stiff, so it’s close enough. Although really the miracle has nothing to do with the season and everything to do with with five weeks this bathroom fiasco has persisted. But as I have mentioned, this morning there was a minor miracle. Not a water into wine miracle, but a water based miracle nonetheless.

Yes, that is right dear readers, I was able to shower in my bathroom for the first time in five weeks! It took a bit of adjusting. My first hurdle was the fact that now there is only one shower door to slide open. This may not seem like much of an obstacle, but I did not want to be pelted with cold water while I waited for the water to heat. Nor did I want water to pour from the shower while I kept checking to see if the water was ready. It was a bit like being in a hotel.

Before I’d had a chance to completely digest the door dilemma, I realized there was an even weightier matter to deal with: I did not even know how to turn the water on. It took a moment or two of finagling, but then a cascade of warm water rushed out and I was able to step inside with minimal water leaking onto the floor.

Of course, since we still do not have working faucets, I still had to use the children’s bathroom to relieve myself (so I could wash my hands). I had to venture back in there right after the shower because my contact lens was bothering me and needed adjusting. Still, it was a relief not to have a child banging on the door, demanding to be let in to use the toilet while I showered.

It really does seem that this nightmare will be over soon.

Dear Journal: 

I did not write last night on the eve of our bathroom’s completion date. After all, it seemed silly to me to crow over some painted trim when today I was finally going to have working sinks, a finished floor and lovely shoe molding…the finishing touches on a job that began so long ago on that much warmer November day.

But alas, Fate has stepped in and dashed my hopes yet again. It seems at every turn I am crushed by the universe’s cruel sense of humor. Each time this job is brought to the precipice of completion, something pushes it back so it is miles from finished.

What malicious turn befell my bathroom today? Just after nine am, my husband received a message from our contractor. Despite waiting the entire week in anticipation of his arrival today, he did not appear. The message explained that he’d been delayed on his return from Singapore. Yes, as in the country half the world away. He and an old friend were “piggybacking home,” and our bathroom would have to wait until at least Monday. Yes, that is correct, our two week bathroom project has now entered its sixth week. And yes, this is now the fourth time in those six weeks that our contractor has contacted us the morning he was supposed to arrive in order to tell us he would not, in fact, be arriving.

So, for my friends who felt sad these posts were ending, I hope you’re happy. I feel your longing for amusement has inspired Fate and prolonged my suffering.

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The never ending odyssey of bathroom remodeling

toilet restoredDear Journal: 

Today I am truly thankful that our toilet was reinstalled yesterday. Nothing else in our bathroom may be functional, but thank all that is holy that the toilet is. I know some have wondered at what might appear to be an obsession with having two toilets. Our contractor chided me about it yesterday and I know was a bit bitter that he stayed later than planned (he didn’t arrive to start work until 11 am) to reinstall it, but I had a premonition that could not be ignored.

Even though it is only the four of us gathering around our table for a decadent meal this evening, my husband awoke with one of his violent migraines. I was roused much earlier than I expected by his retching. Since that first unsettling event, he has been on a continuous toilet-bed loop for the past several hours. if it were not for that second, much begged for toilet, we would all be far more miserable than we currently are.

As it is, I will be cooking a huge meal with my husband’s favorites, that he may not be able to eat. But at least he can vomit in peace without a child banging on the door with a bladder emergency.

Dear Journal:

Yet again I mourned the loss of my second bathroom. Our contractor was supposed to be here this morning. On Wednesday he spoke of finally attaching the shower doors, cleaning the floors and removing the carpet from the vanity area in order to begin work on that area in earnest. But, like so many other mornings during this project, an emergency arose. While we were celebrating my husband’s birthday with a special breakfast, our contractor called and left a message that he would not be arriving today.

So now we sit through four days of no progress at all. IF this bathroom is finished by next Friday, I will be amazed beyond belief. My hopes of a three week bathroom remodel have been dashed and I fear my revised hope of a four week remodel will meet a similar end.

At least I have mashed potatoes and cranberry orange sauce to sustain me in this, my hour of need.

Dear Journal: 

There is no progress. I am adrift in a world without my shower.


Dear Journal:

It seems silly to continue to write at this point. Nothing has changed. When I put fingers to keyboard, all I feel is despondent and lost.

bathroom vanity #2Dear Journal: 

We have been assured that the bathroom will be completed by the end of the week. To say I am dubious would be an understatement. Understatement is probably an understatement of how dubious I am about this situation. After four days without any improvements to our bathroom situation, I was desperate for some real progress today. What I found made my heart sink. Did I mention that I am dubious this project will conclude by Friday? The odd clearly are not ever in my favor.

shower doorsDear Journal: 

Today I returned home to find massive wind machines pointed toward my bathroom walls. Apparently their job is to help the “mud” on the walls. I am still uncertain as to why mud on walls is a desired aspect of construction, but I am assured it is a necessity. I was pleasantly surprised to find actual doors attached to my shower. I was nearly giddy with delight when my husband told me that tomorrow morning I would actually be able to bathe in my own shower.

But alas this happiness was short-lived. My visions of showering without Barbie dolls and plastic whales at my feet are still but dreams. Less than an hour later he requested I wait one more day to make sure everything was fully dried before I could be introduced to my new shower. I am not sure exactly why shower doors need to dry. There is so much that is utterly perplexing about construction.


refinished floor part 1Dear Journal: 

Reality has gobsmacked me once again. 28 days later, 7 days longer than I anticipated, I am still bereft because I only have one bathroom. There was a bit of a kerfuffle yesterday evening with the contractor. Apparently there were differences of opinions about how much of the small strip of the wood flooring in the bathroom needs to be finished. My husband and I fell firmly on the “all of it” side. Our contractor did not wish to refinish the the portion that will rest beneath the vanity

However, since the vanity is raised, the unfinished wood would show underneath it and the mishmash would be unseemly. Tempers flared. Words were exchanged. Nails were bitten in anxiety.

While I am happy to say that cooler heads prevailed this morning, and the contractor cane around to our way of thinking, this means almost no work was done and alas, it appears the job may spill over into next week. I nearly fainted when I heard this news.

And since this nightmare refuses to end, once the work begins on the floor tomorrow, I will be evicted from my bedroom as well. It appears I will be relegated to the guest bedroom until the floor is dry. So not only will I be down to one toilet again, I will also have to suffer in a full-size bed.

The horror!



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More odysseys in remodeling

20191121_172626Dear Journal:

Today was yet a new experience for me. My children both needed to visit the doctor, so we were home when the contractor arrived. Although I longed to extend my repose until at least 8 am, my husband was sure work would begin at 8, and I did not want to wander the house in my pajamas or be in the shower when a virtual stranger showed up to work.

As it happened, I could have enjoyed at least an hour of additional rest as no one arrived until 10. Work began quickly. Since this project began, not only has my bathroom been destroyed, but my garage is in absolute shambles. Half of it has been taken over with tools and supplies. Thankfully my husband understands the decree I made when we first moved into the house: my side of the garage will always be clean because I will never again scrape ice from my windshield in the morning. While I do appreciate still having my space in the garage, it is odd to share it with my toilet, which I sorely miss.

He trekked in and out of the house on his mission to complete complicated construction work. As I sat grading papers, wrapped in blankets to protect against the cold which wafted in from these trips to the garage, I heard the whirring of motors.

My presence was requested in my former bathroom as he was packing up. He wanted me to view the completed tiling in the shower. I am under the impression that tomorrow when I return from work the hole that was once my bathroom may actually have a completed shower and tiled bathroom floor. I am still unsure of the status of the toilet.

20191122_184657Dear Journal: 

I was hopeful, I truly was. I thought today would be the day I had real tile beneath my feet in the bathroom. Although I warned myself not to dream too big, I had a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe we’d have two toilets again.

Thankfully I am now used to having my hopes dashed against the rocks of construction. My shower may have a floor (without grout), but there is still only wood beneath my feet. Well, there would be if I was allowed to step on the floor. Alas, I am not.

20191122_184711Dear Journal: 

Nothing has changed. Life is desolate. I dream each night of tile and showerheads. Is there no end to this madness?

Dear Journal: 

There is no end to this torture. I have accepted my fate. I will forever be forced to bathe with tiny LOL dolls and plastic dolphins. There will always be a line of people waiting to use our only toilet. This is my life now.

bathroom tileDear Journal: 

Once again promises have been broken. Once again my heart is shattered. As I readied myself in the early dark of the morning, I thought today might be the last day I was forced to look at the repulsive baby blue carpet and vanity. In the depths of my soul I was reaching out for the pulchritudinous of the new vanity that has been sitting in my garage, just waiting for me to enjoy its double sinks. I held out hope that I might once again be able to use my toilet in my own bathroom.

But it twas not to be. While my shower floor has been grouted, there is now a shower curb and the floor itself has been tiled, that tile surrounds a hole where my toilet should be. And my old vanity still sits there with its single sink, mocking my pain.

bathroom destroyed vanityDear Journal: 

As we approach the holidays, I must admit that I am not jolly. Not in the least. As I bow my head to reflect on the hours I will have spent making the traditional meal for my family, I had hoped to be giving thanks for a beautiful new bathroom. Alas, it seems to me that this Thanksgiving I will not be thankful for having my toilet or my shower restored to me. There is no foreseeable way that construction will be done on time.

In fact, while I know it is actually a step toward progress, today feels like two steps further into the abyss. Our vanity and sink have been demolished. At this moment, my bathroom is devoid of all water. It is a shell of its former self.

But like the mighty Phoenix which rises from the ashes, I see the newly plumbed fixtures as a sign of hope. I realize that my hopes will no doubt be thwarted again. My heart may well be cleft in twain a time or two yet during this process. But I will persist with the idea that one day my children and I will no longer be forced to share a bathroom again.

toilet restoredDear Journal:

I never thought this day would arrive, but it does seem there has been a holiday miracle! Not the sort of miracle which involves my bathroom being truly functional, but rather the type which means while one person is showering, another can use the toilet in a completely different room!

It’s true! The bathroom may lack a shower door, an appropriately sealed shower floor, towel rods, and a toilet paper holder, but at least now I have an extra door to hide behind when everyone in my family needs something and all I want is a minute alone.

This small victory did not come easily. We were without water for over four hours today. The smell of burning, this time something pipe related in the crawl space, permeated the entire house. And our contractor is already talking about the work that will be done on Monday, which leads me to believe that I will be at least a month with only one bathroom.




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Further Odysseys in bathroom remodeling

20191114_223638Dear Journal: 

When I entered my house, there was an alarming scent of burning wood. Since my husband was home and did not seem even remotely unnerved, I deduced that nothing was currently on fire. Apparently at some point during the day a two by four was ablaze in some fashion. The details are still hazy, and the smell persists.

Much discussion was had about where the detachable showerhead would hang. At this point, as long as it is on a wall, I will be thrilled.

My husband believes there will be tile when we get home tonight. Ever the skeptic, I worry I will be disappointed.

20191114_223644Dear Journal: 

Curse my prophetic soul! My premonition that no tile would be up when I returned home did, in fact, come to pass. Evidently another calamity has befallen the head of our crew, so no work was done on Friday. So it is now another stretch of three days with no progress.

The smell of burning wood has mostly subsided, but every now and again when the wind shifts, I catch a faint vapor to remind me.

Not to be detoured, my husband has purchased a new leaf blowing machine and will begin work in our backyard, not even pausing to give our poor destroyed bathroom a second glance.

When will this nightmare existence end?



Dear Journal: 

Darkness taking over. Words failing. I am utterly miserable. Had to wait ten minutes to relieve myself while another family member showered. I believe this is what Dante wrote about in the fifth circle of hell. Must persevere, but not sure quite how to.


Dear Journal:


Dear Journal: 

You may have noticed, dear reader, that this saga skips a day. This is no accident nor a mere oversight. After facing yet another day of looking at the hole that once was my bathroom, I simply could not set fingers to keypad. I had to leave off to gather up my spirits.

I wish I could say that after 3 full days of stagnation I returned to a wall of tile. Alas, I did not. I returned to almost half a wall of tile and two seemingly random floor tiles which I am not sure are actually affixed to the floor. Apparently there was some sort of mix up at the tile store and we did not buy all the required tile.

Instead of going to my much needed exercise class, I had to go home and care for the children while my husband trekked back over to the merchantile to purchase the missing tiles.

Once again I have been assured this project will be completed before Thanksgiving, but I fear that I shall not be giving thanks for my new bathroom this year. Or perhaps ever.


Dear Journal: 

Not to be outdone by days past, but another calamity befell our bathroom today. As our contractor was creating the lovely nook that will hold a shelf for our toiletries, he discovered our wall was bowed. This required much refiguring and additional destruction in order for reconstruction to be done. Honestly, I’m not sure what it meant or what was done, only that it created a two hour setback, so limited tiling was done.

Just as I was getting over the shock of this step backwards, my husband added more bad news: apparently painting is not part of this remodel. At this rate I may never shower in my own bathroom again.



Dear Journal: 

Wonder of wonders! Our shower is actually starting to resemble a shower. At least if I don’t turn my head to where the actual showerhead would be. It is rather delightful to see the tile extending all the way to the ceiling.

Although I still don’t know how the third wall, floor, toilet, vanity, double sinks, wall surrounding the sinks, a refinished mirror, carpet pulled up, and hardwood floor beneath will be refinished by Thanksgiving.

For now I’ll close my eyes and dream that it is not just a dream.



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Odysseys in remodeling: Life with only one bathroom

20191107_182927Dear Journal: 

Today is the first day of the remodeling.  As I looked around the wreckage that was my bathroom, I felt most dismayed. I shuddered at the memories of past repairs. I stared at the place where my toilet had been and thought, “oh dear, with four of us in this house, I think I’ll miss you the most.”

Of course, that was until I entered the children’s bathroom for a shower this morning. It was then I remembered how much I hate that shower. The showerhead is tiny and hung about two inches below my head, so I have to crane my head uncomfortably far back to wash it. Not a problem for my kids who are a good 8-14 inches shorter than me. Since it is so low on the wall, I get the full force of the stream and it’s way to strong!

Will I survive living in these conditions? Honestly, I don’t know.

second day of remodeling

Dear Journal: 

As day two comes to an end, there has been some progress made, but I fear it is not enough. While I have been assured that this “floor” is great, the lack of toilet and shower are burdens to my soul. Since no work can be done on the weekend, I am forced to seek out new places of refuge.

This search led me to a new life experience: I showered at the gym. Yes, I actually ventured out of my house unshowered, something I have not attempted for years. Even when I am going directly to the gym, I get up and shower. So today threw me for a bit of a loop.

It was going well until I realized I forgot my hair gel. So, I am exercised and washed but have flat hair. When will this nightmare end?

Dear Journal:

Because day three is the Lord’s day, no work can be done on the bathroom. Things are as desloate as ever. I am starting to abandon all hope. Showering in the children’s bathroom has left me utterly bereft of happiness. Before I could even get in the shower today I had to go back to my own room three times for supplies just to make the shower possible. Also, the bathroom is turning into a jungle of towels.


Dear Journal:

I should have written yesterday, but we’ve had a setback that has left me desolate.

For the third day, no progress has been made. An emergency befell our crew and all work ceased.

In a valiant act of chivalry to bring some sort of civilization to the children’s bathroom, my husband ordered a new showerhead. In my fear of losing our only working source of cleanliness, I begged him to wait for the experts.

He ignored my wishes, but to his great consternation, the old showerhead would not budge. So once again it was a pale imitation of a shower for me this morning.

I pray our crew will be able to return today and bring some light back into this darkness.



Dear Journal:

There has been much rejoicing by some of the locals over the installation of a new showerhead in the children’s bathroom. It was certainly a marvel to behold.

I had my first experience with it this morning. To my husband’s dismay I am not as enamored of it as he is. While the increased height is a wonder and I rejoice that I no longer have to strain my neck to shower, the water pressure is a disappointment. This is touted as a rainfall showerhead to be a bit less of a sprinkle and more of a downpour!

There has been some progress made in our bathroom. My walls now sort of look like walls again and my shower has a curb if no actual floor. I have been assured these are giant leaps forward, but after the trickery of the rainfall showerhead, I feel I might have a different definition of leaps.

destroyed sink.jpg

Dear Journal: 

It has now been one week since I was last able to enjoy my beloved shower. None has been its equal since. My husband assures me that once the new showerhead is installed he will devote himself to making sure the disastrous pressure issues of the children’s bath do not haunt us in our own. I remain skeptical.

Some sort of “mud” has been placed on the floor of the shower, which my husband insists on calling the pan. I am not sure if it is actual mud or some sort of nickname created by those in the construction arts. I have been told that it must set up and dry for at least 48 hours, which has destroyed my hopes of seeing tile this week.

The work has not extended beyond the shower area. Demolition has begun around our sink. I’d hoped it would lift my spirits to see that ghastly 70’s blue tile gone, but my broken walls are a constant reminder of my broken dreams. I am not sure how much longer I can last.

mud pan

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Filed under bad days, married life, my crazy family, ramblings, what makes me me