I woke up today to my mother throwing a cat at my head and hurriedly explaining that the work men that our landlord hired to renovate our bathroom were here. On time. For once. Antonio's an older Portuguese/Italian guy who show's up at least four hours after he says he will, if he shows at all. So I was expecting to sleep in this morning. Which I could seriously need after my 3AM bedtime last night.
But no, I had to get up and round up the cats into one room so no one made a great escape into the great outdoors through the open walls. Two of our cats are feral. Which, after thinking about it for a minute makes them very much like old Vietnam vets. They're both incredibly paranoid and won't let you near them, and they know without a Shadow of a doubt that you're out to kill them, so they should at least attempt to kill you first. 20 minutes and some blood later I'm watching Tony, Antonio's much younger helper watch awkwardly as Antonio dives head first through the open bathroom window. Antonio is absolutely terrified of my dogs, which is slightly hypocritical seeing as he has several lovely family Pit Bulls sitting at home.
Tony, at the risk of getting caught laughing at his boss turns away and awkwardly pats a dog on the head.
Then it's all noise. They're tearing down walls and breaking windows and for some horrible reason - listening to Rhianna on repeat.
Today is also my mothers birthday, which of course, means I must make a half hearted attempt at baking. Please don't get me wrong, I love the idea of baking. I love the measuring and the checking and the frosting and all of that other cool stuff. However, the fact that I have yet to make a cake that doesn't collapse in on itself weighs heavily on my mind. A box of instant cake mix later, and I'm well on my way to another magical collapsing cake.
I start to worry about the boy that ever decides they want to marry me. Poor soul.
It's also at this point when I hear Antonio chattering on in a mix of Portuguese and English very similar to spanglish. Here I could pretend to tell you that, having lived in a Portuguese neighborhood all my life I somehow understood half of what he was saying, but in all honesty the only thing I can say to a Portuguese speaking person is "thank you" and some very choice words I learned when my neighbor found her husband cheating on her and proceeded to beat him with various sports equipment on their front lawn.
While not understanding the words I got the general jist. Something was wrong and it was in some terrible way going to effect me.
As it turns out they ordered the wrong tub. The tub they needed had to be 4 foot 6 inches, and the one they ordered was only four feet. Leaving not only a ridiculously tiny tub in the room, but a six inch empty space where the tub should have continued.
It'll be fine, he explains to me while Tony shakes his head.
I'll drywall the extra six inches. He says.
It's at this point that I send Uma into the bathroom with the command to "Get him". Antonio backs up against a wall and throws his hands up while also attempting to mask his movements and somehow keep his manly dignity. He fails however as the dog trots in wagging her tail intent on licking the drywall dust off his cheek.
You have to understand, if you know me, you've heard about my bathroom. It's four and a half feet by six feet. Which sounds like a perfectly nice size to most people. And it is, when the room is empty. Add all of things bathrooms need to be bathrooms and you're stuck in crowded, claustrophobic little room.
No way in Hell he's taking away those six inches.
Over Antonio's dead, chewed up body.
The problem is the 4 6" tub is a special order, and he isn't going to go around looking for someone who happens to have one in stock. We're at a stand still.
An hour of frantic cursing phone calls and Antonio's on his way out complaining about missing his lunch hour to go get a tub.
This leaves my self, my mother and Tony. An awkward 20-something year old who obviously isn't sure what he's supposed to be doing in a strangers house now that he has no reason to be there. He asks about the dogs and tells me about his girlfriend who works at a pet store apprehensively. So I give him a piece of magical collapsible cake that magically did not collapse today for the first time in forever. It makes him feel slightly more at ease, and seeing as I don't eat cake - somebody has too.
My writing class was canceled earlier in the morning and I'm left with nothing to do for the rest of the day. At least, nothing I don't already have an excuse not to do. So I wander the internet or marvel at how big 4 foot 6 inches by 6 feet really is.
About and hour and a half later, Antonio returns with a tub that should fit. After fifteen minutes of the the two of them trying to get it in I offer my worldly advice that the tub looks about an inch too large for the space. Antonio threatens to smack me and sends me away. 10 minutes and some stripped wood later, the tub fits and Antonio is thanking us for saving him the extra work of extending plumbing and adding more drywall.
"In fifteen minutes you'll be able to take a shower!" he announces. Glancing around the room that currently lacks walls I nod unenthusiastically, and then the house if filled with more Rhianna, a buzz of some sort of saw and a nail gun - a power tool that I've always felt very close too.
While this goes on I sit around hungry because they've blocked all access to the refrigerator and they're both in and out of the kitchen. I consider going down the street for food but decide I'm both too poor and too lazy for it. So instead I sit shifting through email and developing a headache.
I later find that the only place I can find any sort of relief is face down on my living room floor, cheek flush against the hardwood with limbs outstretched in shapes that almost mimic some sort of ritual sacrifice.
Twenty minutes later I decided that there were indeed things I needed to do (including going grocery shopping), I forced myself up and went along with my day.
When I return I find that several sheets of drywall are already up, and Antonio is working on some of the last of it. Hope has returned that maybe tomorrow I can sleep in! They'll be practically done if they keep up at this rate!
Of course these are stupid thoughts, because they don't have anything really done. Unless I want to give up on this whole bathroom idea and instead decide to have a dark, empty green meditation room. Which, as my headache returns starts to sound like a lovely idea.
As Seven o'clock shows itself it becomes apparent that we'll have Antonio and Tony trekking through our home for at least another two days. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. It just kind of sucks.
You can't really act like it's your house when you have workmen wandering around now can you?
As the boys pack up to go I make a list of things I have to do tomorrow.
Sleep in is not one of them.
Another day, Another dollar, another 4 hours of sleep.