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A few weeks before I was to depart on my Texcursion, my mom asked me to locate a general contractor near my home and get an estimate for him to install a new Shower stall in my bathroom. I knew she and Dad would be coming while I was gone to install baseboards for me but said she had wanted the new shower stall to be a surprise Christmas gift for my return from my trip. She was having a lot of trouble finding a contractor for my house because we live so far apart so she needed to surprise me early.

So I was surprised early. I selected an affordable shower stall from my local hardware superstore, then had a local contractor give me an estimate for installation, reserved his time and hooked my
mom up with his phone number. Then I went into anticipation wonder, kind of like a kid who knows he will get a bike for his birthday but does not know what it will look like or feel like to ride. What I did know was that people would be in my house while I was gone. So I spent extra time and trouble to make sure I left it very clean.

I remember being at my son's house when Mom told me I would need to take the construction debris to the dump for myself. But I do not remember where I was when she told me that she and Dad had been to my house twice while I was gone and might not be able to get back for a third visit until the weekend I was due to arrive home.

A little confused why they needed to visit my house three times, I wound up spending Friday night at my sister's house instead of at theirs. This was perfectly fine with me since I got to visit with my adorable niece and treat my sister's family to a +Wapaghetti's pizza that I picked up on my way through Chicago. (It was a take and bake pizza. I got another to share with my parents when I got back to my place.) Granted, this is not the best pizza in Chi-town. But a little, old Italian man named Joe still owns the place, it is the pizza I grew up with and it reminds me of "home."

In fact, I told the cashier that I was stopping through on my way from Texas to Milwaukee to bring a couple of pizzas from home with me and he offered me a free slice! That was really nice of him (and oh, so Italian.)

But I digress. I was talking about my surprise. Yes, it was a surprise. There was several inches of snow in my yard when I got there and my mom had graciously shoveled a narrow path through it for me to park my car. (As evidenced by the photo, I broadened this drive path the next day.) I walked inside to find my dog very happy to see me (the best part of any trip). The interior of my house was covered in saw dust, tools were scattered everywhere, my kitchen table was unusable for dining and many of my things were either rearranged or in boxes.

But my bathroom is beautiful.

It seems that under my old shower there was more than just a little rot. The old shower was not sitting on tiles. It rested on subflooring. This I knew. What ai did not know is there was rot on the subflooring. So the contractors needed to pull up some tiles until they got to a spot where the subfloor was good before they could replace the rotten stuff. Mom told me they started pulling up tiles and could not find good subfloor till the other side of my toilet (in the opposite corner from my shower). Because the contractors had to pull out the toilet, anyway, and it did not flush very well, Mom and Dad bought me a new toilet. The flooring (and subflooring) needed to be replaced, so they did that. While they were doing that, they leveled out my vanity. In addition, they bought a slightly larger shower than I had chosen because, for some reason, the (cheap) one I chose did not fit quite right.

In essence, I have a brand new bathroom instead of just a new shower and my parents, who gave it to me wound up spending much more than they anticipated.

Over the next two days, my parents helped me to put moulding around my windows and doors. Dad even used his router to bevel the edges of some new window sills for my kitchen windows.

Aren't they pretty?

After the sills and moulding were done, Mom helped me put plastic over my windows to help keep out the cold and hung curtain rods over two doorways that still need doors.

My parents left my house on Tuesday morning. A layer of sawdust covered every inch of space on my main level but, after a month of constant motion, there was finally time for me to just stop and rest... and that is exactly what I did.
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