DOWN HOME: Is it a bathroom or spiritual metaphor?

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Posted: 4/11/08

DOWN HOME:
Is it a bathroom or spiritual metaphor?

Call it The Law of Unintended Home Improvements.

Or maybe call it The Difference Between Husbands and Wives.

I’m not sure what you call it, but we’ve got Exhibit A at our casa in Coppell.

Where to start? Where to start? I guess at our “beginning.”

Joanna and I moved about 20 months ago, after we realized our girls were grown and we didn’t have to drive so far to work anymore. So, we relocated just far enough south to cut my commute time by about half but not so far that we needed to change churches. (We’re so “Baptist.” Our lives sit on a three-legged existential stool propped up by home, church and work.)

One of the major factors that attracted us to our house was its location in an older, etablished neighborhood. We live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, so “older” is a relative term. In our case that means a shade more than 20 years old. And “established” means they didn’t raze the earth and knock down all the trees when they built these homes. So, we’ve got tall, tall trees. At least by local standards.

The only problem with “older” homes is that things start to break down.

The first time we knew we had a problem was when paint started flaking on the baseboard in our bedroom right by the bathroom door. At first, if memory serves me, I pretended not to notice.

Finally, when the board started looking like barn siding, I had to concede that maybe the previous owners didn’t prime the lumber when they painted. Unfortunately, that’s about the time the water stain showed up in the carpet beneath the baseboard.

I come from the Duct Tape Will Fix Everything school of home repair, so I was stumped. First, I re-caulked the shower, but that didn’t work. Then Larry the Plumber suggested caulking behind the baseboard and inside the shower door, but that didn’t work. Larry said the shower drain pan must be cracked.

Since I’m a logical guy, I figured, “Well, we need to get somebody to replace the shower drain pan.”

Since Jo is a brilliant domestic strategist, she figured, “Well, we need to re-do the bathroom!”

She was almost right.

We re-painted the bedroom, too. (After all, if you have to re-paint a three-foot piece of baseboard, you might as well re-paint the whole bloomin’ room.)

So, now we have not only a new shower, but also new countertops, a new bathtub, new sinks, and fresh paint and glaze designed to look—what else?—really old.

Little did I know it at the time, but our bathroom became like the Apostle Paul’s metaphor for becoming a Christian: “… old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

–Marv Knox

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