While the Jazzman was painting the kitchen, he was inspired to keep improving our circa-1927 house. When he finished pointing out to me all the improvements he made to the kitchen, he whipped some paint chips out of the “junk drawer”, saying “and this is what I’m thinking of for this bathroom.” Whattaguy!!!
I did not take Before pictures—shame on me—but if you’ve ever lived in an ollllld house, you can imagine it. The floor is classic hexagonal black and white tile with the little black hex flowers on the white background. It has a classic pedestal sink. I updated the faucet six years ago and chose the ceramic handles. The towel bar is white ceramic. The exterior wall is almost consumed by the window, so that the mirror just balances in the corner, resting on the window ledge and the towel bar.
The walls were ugly-bugly institutional blue-green. Did I mention ugly? The ceiling over the sink was flaked and flaking, tired looking and sad-sad-sad.
Jas started the work a couple of weekends ago. In his classic style, he removed all the hardware to clean it. He scraped the ceiling until not one flake of ancient paint remained. And he fixed holes and imperfections, scraping and sanding and patching until the walls looked as new as 88-year-old walls can look. The ceiling was painted ceiling white—lovely, reflective, clean! The exterior wall was painted a charcoal gray (the man loves him an accent wall), and the other three walls (two of which include doors, so not much to paint there!) were painted a medium silvery gray. Gahgeous!
On the Labor Day holiday we made a trip to Home Depot and Lowe’s and Jo-Ann Fabrics looking for this and that piece of hardware and curtain fabric to replace the antique curtains that shredded when I washed them. We didn’t find what we wanted, but figured out what we didn’t want.
This past Saturday we made another hardware trip to a different set of stores. We hadn’t figured out what we wanted to do about the old light fixture on the wall, but Jas was ready to get busy painting when we got home.
And shortly after we walked in the door, we got the call that Jas’s precious 91-year-old mother had been taken to the hospital, vomiting and in pain. The next call confirmed the worst: an aneurism in her stomach that she’d been living with for years had burst. He showered and packed for the three-hour drive to Columbus. Just before getting in the car, his brother called again and Jas was able to speak to his mother for a minute, telling her we loved her and that everything would be alright, for her not to worry about us. And twenty minutes into his drive, she was gone. Three hours from diagnosis to death. No long periods of pain and suffering. A peaceful death knowing that your three sons and their families adore you.
Jas continued on to Columbus to help his brothers make the decisions that had to be made. Sunday evening he came back home. The burial will be in Youngstown, and we realized we needed to open our home for a gathering after the burial. And here we were with the first floor bathroom in shambles.
On Sunday, while digging through all my boxes of fabric trying to find just the right piece of fabric for a bathroom curtain, I happened across a piece of white linen printed with musical notes and French lyrics. I had found this on the sidewalk outside a Paris fabric store while strolling through Montmarte a year-and-a-half ago. To make it even more perfect, this musical discovery came right after I visited the grave of my teacher, Nadia Boulanger. Inspired fabric!
I pulled it out, measured the tattered curtains, and quickly made a curtain to slide on the original hardware. And smiled!
Monday morning we awoke to a long to-do list. During the course of the day, he finished the painting, finished cleaning the hardware, and reassembled the bath. Once he replaced the window hardware, I was able to determine the correct length and finish the bottom casing. Fifteen minutes later, we had a finished bathroom. Bright, shiny, ready to host our friends after we say our final goodbyes to Jas’s mother.
But there’s one little problem. The remote for the garage door hangs on the kitchen door. When we push the appropriate button to open our individual doors on the detached garage, sometimes the doors don’t open. So we walk into the bathroom and pull the curtains aside to see whether the door is open. It’s a little family ritual. Because this is a single curtain rather than the original two, we can’t pull it open to peek out. We have to actually walk outside to look. Oh, the aggravation.
Next week, when we’re all done with the stress of this week and beginning the new sans-Mom life, I’ll pull the curtain down, slice it in half, and turn it into two curtains. And be thankful for this wonderful man in my life, and his wonderful mother who treated me as her own from the day she met me, five years ago.