Learning to Assert Myself

Yesterday after work I had a meeting with Nick, my wonderful builder. My insides were jelly. I had almost decided not to say anything, but then I broached the subject in an email and I was committed.

One of the few splurges I am choosing in this house is a tiled shower rather than a pre-formed acrylic one. DH loves the shower here in this lake house and I had decided this would be my gift to him.

Last week Nick had framed the shower stall with a bench as I requested, and covered it with special sheetrock. I had looked at the bench.

“It seems very narrow?” I ventured.

The bench is 11″ deep. I have since seen on the Home Depot site that this is a fairly regular depth. I thought to myself that sitting on a slippery 11″ shelf would not be ideal for us as aged people. The shower seat in this house is 15″ deep.

“You only need it to rest your foot on when you are shaving your legs,” Nick explained.

Hmm. I was not thinking of a need for shaving my legs in this shower but of a need for a safety grab bar. I worried that using this bench might be akin to doing wall-sit exercises. However the bench was built and I didn’t want to upset Nick or require him to tear anything apart. So I let it go.

Then this weekend I noticed the entire shower was framed, sheetrocked, and mudding had begun. The walls and ceiling were all flush with the room. This was not what I wanted. I wanted the shower to be set off rather like a doorway, with a dropped header and small 7″ walls on each side, to contain the water. This small framing detail has meant no wet floors in the lake house.

My immediate reaction on seeing the disappointing shower was to say to myself, Well, it’s done, and I’ll have to live with it. I thought about this disappointment all day as I carried heavy packing boxes. I strove for resignation. I’ll get over it eventually.

But that night when I was emailing Nick about something else, I found myself typing: I need to talk to you about the shower. We agreed I would meet him yesterday after my teaching day.

As I got out of my car at the farm, my heart pounded. Standing next to Nick in the future bathroom, I was apologetic as I explained the shower design I had hoped for. Nick was stoical. His face did not change as I outlined alterations that would mean tearing out his hard work.

“I can do that,” he said calmly.

When I got back in my car I was wilting with relief. It is absurdly difficult for me to insist on matters larger than punctuation.

  *   *   *  

After walking the dogs, I then drove an hour to the nearby city to look at kitchen cabinets. The simple cabinets I chose last September went up in price almost $1800 in January.

The house-building process seems designed to keep me in a stew of anxiety.

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2 Responses to Learning to Assert Myself

  1. Mac West says:

    Yes but once you’ve stewed through it, you’ll have a beautiful, comfy home and only your lovely animals to worry about.

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