I’m sure I looked…well maybe not!


My pedometer showing the number of steps I took that day.

I went hiking with my friends, George and Gloria and their two dogs Nina and Bobby yesterday at McKinney Roughs. I was busy working on the latest renovation to one of the bogs (more on that later) and George wanted to watch the local football team, UT play against Oklahoma Sooners and as we didn’t want to hike for long, decided that 4:00 pm was a good time for a very short walk.

We made our separate ways to meet at the West Trailhead at the appointed time. I arrived early and busied with payments and grabbing a map, then putting on my boots and generally making my preparations for a walk. We hadn’t walked in a while as the weather had just been too bloody hot but with it cooling down, we had decided it was time to get out there closer to Nature.

I picked a route that would take us about 2 hours to cover and would be between 3-4 miles long. The map actually puts the walk time at 1-1/2 hours but with my much slower walking plus stopping to take pictures, I knew it would be closer to the 2 hours I suggested. We set off along Roadrunner and the first thing we noticed was the trails were so dry and there had been so much horse traffic that they were mostly sand and very nice to walk on.  As we walked, the effects of no rain was very apparent as the plants were wilting and I didn’t see any flowers. Many of the trees were also showing signs of stress.

From Roadrunner, we took Coyote Road and then Deep Sandy which as the name implies walked us along the river as it flowed slowly and sedately along. Again, from the photographic angle, there was not much that caught my eye or that I had not already photographed on previous trips. Still, the walk was very pleasant and with the dogs be-bopping along and good conversation, it was very enjoyable.

The 200 year old Pecan

The 200 year old Pecan

We joined up with Pecan Bottom which brought us past the 200 plus year old Giant Pecan tree. That tree is huge and I could not help wondering what, if any, stories it could tell. In two centuries of life in this world, it just had to have seen some memorial moments.

From Pecan Bottom we moved onto Buckeye heading back to the point of origin. Buckeye turns out to be a very hilly walk and had us puffing and breathing hard for the last 400 yards. If we do this walk again and I am sure that we will,we need to do it in reverse and have the heavy climbs become downhill instead of up. Buckeye eventually brought us back to Roadrunner and to the parking lot. Gloria pointed out that the best parts of any hike is the beginning when you are fresh and excited about the walk and the last part when you know that the parking lot and the cars are very close at hand.

My friends and the dogs jumped into their car first making an offer of stopping for burgers and fries, an offer I had to decline as I knew that it would take me an hour to get home and I needed to be there in time to give my diabetic cat his insulin shot. After they drove out, I finished changing my boots, stowed my gear and decided to check my pedometer that I always carry just to see how far we had walked that day. Including whatever I had walked in the earlier part of the day when I was working on the bog, the pedometer showed that I had walked more than 7 1/2 miles. I figured that the hike probably accounted for at least 4 miles of that.

I ran into my usual problem as I exited the parking lot with the car making its own way East towards Bastrop and Starbucks instead of West towards Austin. I really need to work on that…

The trip home was uneventful and enjoyable as I slurped my latte and upon arriving back to Murmuring Creek, I stripped off and jumped into the hot tub to sooth the aching muscles and joints. It occurred to me while I was luxuriating in the 100 degree hot water that I could not remember taking the pedometer out of my shorts pocket and when I dressed in clean shorts and tee shirt, started looking for the thing. It was not in the house so I went to the car and did a quick search but could not find it anywhere. I remembered taking it out to look at it in the Parking Lot at McKinney and the thought struck me that I had probably dropped it and it was laying on the ground. I considered going back that night but common sense told me to wait until morning.

Just to be sure, I checked the house, the clothes I had taken off, the car, the back of the car and the camera bags but it was nowhere to be found and I was convinced that I must have dropped it. So before going to bed later that evening, I set my I-Phone’s alarm for 6:30 ready to wake up early and drive back to McKinney. I was afraid that if I didn’t get there early and it being Sunday when a lot of people like to hike or ride, someone would either find it or worst case scenario, run over it.

The next morning, I awoke and it was daylight so I knew something was wrong. Sure enough, I had set the alarm for pm instead of am which accounted for me waking up at my usual time of 7:30 am. I threw on some clothes, dashed cold water on my face and brushed my teeth, put the cats in their room safe from Richie, promised the dogs I would feed them when I got back and flew out the door. First though, I checked the car again just in case the tooth fairy or some other kind spirit had shown up in the night with the pedometer but to no avail. Big sigh and backed out of the garage.

Forty minutes later, I pulled into the McKinney Parking Lot after having taken care to not break too many speed limits in my haste to get there. I was in luck as there was only one horse trailer and one other vehicle before me. I hurried over to where I had parked the day before and started to methodically search the ground but to no avail. I searched several times as I have this bad habit of seeing through things even when they are really there in front of me, but no luck.

Dis-heartened, I slowly climbed back into the car and before driving off, happened to glance down at my seat belt and there in front of my eyes laying in clear view, upside down and resting on both seats, was the pedometer. I could not believe it. How had I not seen it before in the many times that I had searched the car. It was not like it was under the seat or even fallen between the seats. It was laying in clear view for all to see. All that is, except me.

I sat there for a while happy that I had found it but a little disturbed that I had not seen it sooner. How could I have missed it? Is my eyesight so bad that it didn’t register or is my brain not functioning in the recognition department. Shaking my head in utter disbelief, I started the car and took a slow and leisurely drive home. I managed to not stop at any of the Starbucks along the way preferring in fact, to drive home to my usual coffee and breakfast.

There is probably a moral to this story but I have no earthly idea what it may be. I searched several times with no luck. I woke up late but still managed to beat most of the early hikers, I finally found the pedometer right where I should have expected to find it and I even managed to get the car home without it finding its way to Starbucks and as an added bonus, I got to listen to more than an hour of Kathy Reich’s story of Deadly Decisions, read by Lorelei King.

So, I guess, all’s well that ends well…

Now where did I put my I-Phone…

Snakes and Ponds

Diamond Back Water Snake

Diamond Back Water Snake

I went out to check on the ponds the other evening as it was growing dark. That is really the only time I can see into the water with my strong flashlight as during the day, unless the sun is shining directly on the water, the depth of the water and the dark pond liner make it almost impossible to see down more than a foot or so. I generally wait until it is dark and then I can usually see quite a bit.

Sometimes I see more than I want to like the other evening. I was looking in the double pond which at two feet, is the shallowest of all of the ponds. I recently moved all of the very large Koi out of this pond and divided them into the other two ponds because they had outgrown the shallowness and were very reluctant to move around, spending a lot of time in one corner. In their place, I had put in some rescue goldfish along with the  7-8 small Koi that somehow, the larger ones had produced in one of their few moments of activity. All together about 22 fish.

As I flashed the light into the water, I did not immediately see any fish but what I did see was this pretty big snake, probably around 3 feet, swimming around in the water. What surprised me was that it was actually swimming under the water and not like most snakes that stay on the top with their heads sticking out. It did not hang around and disappeared under the cover of the pond plants. I thought about the small fish in the pond but we are all dealing with Mother Nature and her sometimes dramatic way of showing us that we are not in charge. I hoped that the fish would be safe but as I was not about to go after the snake, it was going to be a game of chance.

I went out two or three more times that evening but did not see the snake anymore. The same was true of the next couple of evenings and so I had no idea if it was still around. The fish did not show any outward signs of agitation and were still acting just the same as before the snake appeared so it did not appear that the snake was interested in the fish.

Yesterday, when I was walking around, I found a complete snake-skin by the edge of the pond and I can only assume that the original snake has shed it. I was a bit slow and should have taken a picture of the skin but for once, my photo brain was not working.

Today, I was working on one of the filters next to the pond and had a lot of time to view the fish in that pond and there appear to be just as many as I originally had. I haven’t seen any more trace of the snake which is not to say that it has gone. I do know that when I get into that pond which I have to do in the very near future, I plan on wearing my waders and elbow length gloves and maybe my 9 mil Glock. Wait, maybe not the Glock as I would probably blow a hole in the liner. Besides, that it going a bit too far.

Grass Snake in water

Grass Snake in water

Research shows that it was probably a Diamond Back Water Snake and they are non-poisonous. At least, that is the best I could tell from my 15 second viewing before it disappeared. In my 25 years of Ponding,  this is the first snake I have seen actually in the water on purpose. I have had others but mainly they have taken to the water either because of the dogs or more likely, because of me and none of them stayed around. By the way, I do not kill the snakes as they are very beneficial especially for catching the rats that inhabit my ponds. I usually either steer them away into the woods behind my yard or if I absolutely have to, I catch them and physically move them. So far, I have not seen any poisonous snakes in my yard and I hope it stays that way. I was working on the bog today and decided to poke around to see if the snake is still there. As far as I could tell after stirring things up pretty good, there is no sign of the it, thank goodness.

Another interesting event that I reported a couple of years ago. was the discovery by Richie, my inquisitive dachshund, of a large tree snake. This may well be the same one that he had a run in with the year before which I written about in an earlier blog. Luckily, I am beginning to recognize some of his barks and can tell the squirrel barks or the buzzard barks. This one had a note of real panic and concern which got me over to him pretty quick. Again, the tree snakes at first glance do resemble the markings of a rattlesnake. I moved the dogs indoors whilst I dealt with this intruder.

The wood-snake that Richie found

The wood-snake that Richie found

So, armed with a camera I went back and given more time, was able to determine that this snake was harmless. I took a few pictures and made sure that it left the property by slithering under the fence before letting the dogs back out. Richie was straight back to the spot he first encountered the snake and was most disappointed that it was gone. Nothing left to kick up a fuss over. By the way, this snake was all of 6 feet long.

Interesting to note that in all of the miles of hiking I have covered, I have only seen one snake on the trail and this was a grass snake which quickly slid out-of-the-way.

I don’t know what it is about humans and snakes. Maybe it’s because we generally don’t see them until the last-minute or maybe its an inherent fear of things that slither along. Or maybe, they are the things that nightmares are made of. Who knows.


Remodeling the Bath-Part 5 -Installing the grab bars and glass doors

Finished Shower

Installing the grab bars and glass doors

I had been working on the project for the best part of three weeks and it was coming together very nicely. The major work was complete and all that was left was to install the grab bars, shampoo holder and a wooden seat on the far end along with the sliding glass doors.

I had made a plan of the layout of the studs in the bath area so that I could use them to affix the grab bars. Needless to say, they didn’t work out distance wise so I had to resort to using a special fastener called a Secure Mount Fastener made by Moehn, the grab bar manufacturers especially for just such occurrences. I had to buy a special 1 1/4 inch hole saw bit that cost me almost $40 but it turned out to be well worth the cost as I ended up drilling 8 holes per bathroom.  It drilled through the tiles leaving a hole just big enough for the fastener to slip through. Then by the pull of a special plastic link, the whole thing unfolded behind the wall leaving a very secure unit in which to screw the grab bars. In the case of the drilling actually hitting on a stud, a couple of long screws quickly affixed the unit to the wall.

I had been using the second bathroom while mine was out of commission and decided that it would be a good idea to install grab bars in this one at the same time. This after nearly tripping upon entering it one morning made up my mind for me. So, I used the same techniques and the exact same measurements and set two grab bars and a shampoo holder into the second bathroom.

Now both the shower and the bath have grab bars and shampoo holders and if I have to use the second one again for any reason, I will certainly feel much safer.

It took a week for the sliding glass doors to come in and then one evening, I received an e-mail telling me that it was in and ready for pick up. It was 9:30 in the evening when I drove back to Home Depot and they loaded out this large box that contained the glass doors. I had been doing some checking on the web and according to the Home Depot web site, there were supposed to be three boxes which I mentioned to the store clerk. Somehow, she convinced me I was wrong and as the box said 1 of 1, I drove home. The next day I opened the box, which by the way was so heavy that I couldn’t lift it and had to drag it around to get it to where I wanted it. Needless to say, it was missing the other two boxes just as I had read on the web site. I called Home Depot and they were full of apologies and that the boxes were in the store. I jumped into my car and drove back to Sunset Valley and grabbed the other two boxes. The staff were very apologetic as the same two people were working the counter. I wasn’t annoyed or put out. They must have caught me on a good day…

Following the directions, I very carefully installed the hardware just as I was supposed to with the two side tracks first. They too required drilling through the tile but with a much smaller bit and things went according to plan. I installed the bottom rail and then finally the top rail. Then came the heavy part. The glass sliding doors were already pre-drilled  and I installed the hardware on them. The tricky part was to pick up the doors and hang them onto the top rail which I managed to do with a lot of grunting and groaning. Luckily, I did not have to make any adjustments so only had to lift them up one time. Those things were heavy, more so because of the awkwardness in being able to handle them.

I had some caulking to do around the frame and by adding the door handles and a couple of guides, the project was finally finished. The next morning I tested it out and took a shower in the comparative luxury of a walk in unit. I was not sure what to expect when I turned the valve as it had never been tested for hot and cold but water came out as it should and I was able to adjust the temperature at the same time, making a mental note of the position of the handle to know where to place it in the future.

All in all, it was a good project to work on. I was able to figure out the plumbing and the drains which from my perspective, were the hardest part. Above all, it looks good and very modern and is definitely much safer than me stepping over the bath sides to take a shower.

Plus, I saved myself $10,500 dollars by doing it myself. You can’t beat that…

Remodeling the Bath-Part 4 -Installing the tiles

The tile repair job

The tile repair job. New tiles in brown

Installing the Tiles

With the basic work done on the shower unit, it was time to turn my attention to making it look pretty. I had, as a part of the planning process, already worked out what tiles I would need to finish off the job. First though, I had to cover up the walls with Hardy Tile Backer Board, a special composite board made to be installed in places that could suffer moisture and dampness like behind tiles in a shower. I am not sure exactly what is in the board but it really is heavy. It comes in a 3 x 5 feet size and each board probably weighs at least 50 pounds. Luckily, I would not need too much of this stuff and what I had to install would be cut to different sizes. I bought enough to complete my project along with a tub of mortar premix to patch other areas.

Cutting the Hardy Board was a real bitch. I had to cover my nose and mouth and wear safety glasses as it made a huge cloud of white dust and the only way to cut it was with a carborundum blade in my old saw. It had to be screwed into place and the screw holes had to be countersunk in order for them not to stand out as they would not pull into the board on their own. It took two layers of this board in order to bring the surface even with the back of the existing tile. In between the boards, I carefully filled in any holes or rough patches with the mortar premix. I also repeated this process after I had installed the top layer of board so that the tiles would have a level surface on which they would be affixed. It took a couple of days to install the board and I finished it up by finally caulking everything with a joint or opening to prevent any chance that the water might seep into the wall.

With the Hardy Board in place, it was time to turn my attention to installing the tile. I had discovered in my searching in the store, a product called SimpleMat, which is a Tile Setting Mat that comes in 9 x 12 inch sheets and comprises of a special sheet material with the ability to glue itself to the wall side and to have the tiles glued to the front side just by pressing them on. Just the ideal thing for my project and would save me having to deal with thin set mortar. The tiles that I chose were named Pacific Sand and were brown in contrast to the existing 4 x 4 yellow tile which I could no longer buy or match. They came in a 9 x 12 size which allowed me a 1 1/2 inch space between the new tile and existing. Searching around, I found a trim piece named Crackle Fantasy Glass Decor that fitted very nicely between the new and old tiles to give it a very finished look.

I marked out all of the cuts and then went to Home Depot and rented a wet saw for four hours. It took me less than an hour to make the cuts and put them in place. The hardest cut was around the shower valve which required a four and a half inch circle cut between two separate tiles. I got over it by making a series of cuts and then using a pair of tile nippers to finish it off. It didn’t have to be super smooth looking as it would be covered by the shower trim.  I had a couple of areas that required some extra thought as I knew that I could not match the damaged wallpaper that had been in the way of removing the tub. So, I had bought some  6 x 6 tiles with trim to finish off those areas. With the tiles finished and the saw returned I finished up for the evening and planned out what I would do the next day.

I was looking forward to working the following day as I would be finishing up the hard part of the remodeling project with the grouting in of the tiles and the cleaning up of the whole bathroom. All that remained was to install the grab bars, the shampoo holder and the sliding doors.

In Part 5, I will explain in detail the installation of the grab bars and sliding doors during the remodeling.

Remodeling the Bath-Part 3 -Hooking up the Plumbing

Floor Plumbing

Floor Plumbing

Hooking up the Drains and the Plumbing

I stood looking at the hole in the wall and turned my attention to the floor drain. Luckily for me, the original contractors had not concreted in the drain hookup so I didn’t have to break out any floor. I had a nice, convenient hole to work in.

I measured the preformed base and then made the comparisons to the existing two-inch pipe and figured out that I would need to do some juggling with a couple of bends and an “S” trap to get things lined up even close enough that I could make the drains work. Marking the true location of the center of the drain in the new base, I fiddled around until I had the pipes almost lined up to where I could make them fit. I knew that I could buy a 2 inch offset drain to fit the base that would help me to get the pipes aligned that last little piece, enough to make them work. The first test required that I worked the new base into the space and see how closely the drains would align. I also had to get an exact measurement of the standpipe between the trap and the base drain. Too short and I would not get the pipes connected, too long and the base would rock about and the weight would be on the drain maybe causing it to break.

I took my measurements and checked them at least twenty times, well maybe a couple, and slid the base back to finish work on the pipes, gluing everything into place and hoping like hell that my numbers were sound. I slid the base back into place and then with the pipes lined up, screwed the trap into place getting it as tight as I could. Everything worked. What a relief as this had been the part of the job that really had me worried. I did NOT want to break out any of the concrete floor which I would have had to have done if I made any mistakes in setting the pipes and the base unit.

With a sigh of relief, I turned my attention to the copper piping and the existing valve that I needed to replace. It turns out that the plumbers who worked on the original house way back when, used the bath space to run the plumbing to the bathroom sink and toilet and had an intricate system of four pipes, two hot and two cold running side by side that were connected together by “Tee’s” with the pipe from the top of the “Tee” running to the shower valve. Well, I say valve but in point of fact, there was a system of copper pipes that connected together the hot and cold faucets to the bath, plus the bath filler pipe with the top pipe going to the shower head. I guess that maybe they didn’t have the ready-made valve mixing units that are available today when this house was built. Even so, it worked well in the previous 30 years.

I knew what I had to do in the way of plumbing and after going back to Home Depot to get the necessary parts, I started to assemble the new plumbing to hook up the shower valve. This entailed sweating the copper pipe joints with a torch and solder which I have to confess, I am not very good at. However, I was at least going to try it and although, working conditions were a little cramped for space, I had every confidence in my ability to make a solder joint, and above all, one that wouldn’t leak. Alas, it was not to be. After nearly setting alight the studs in the wall, I quickly determined that it was not the way to go. So, back to Home Depot where I located a new (to me) system called Sharkbite. It was a plastic system with push and lock fittings that also had an adapter to hook onto a copper pipe. That did it for me and I carefully planned out all of the moves and the fittings I would need to get my piping in the wall hooked up. Discovering that system was the best thing that happened to me that day as I carefully hooked everything up, including the new valve.  You can see the Sharkbite system in the pictures below. I had the water turned off during this process and had to turn it back on to test the joints. I had a couple of small leaks which I fixed by some judicious tightening of the correct joints. At the same time, I inadvertently opened the valve to the shower which I happened to be standing under at the time and needless to say, managed to get soaked. At least I knew that the shower worked.

Showing the Tees

Showing the Tees

Shower Plumbing

Shower Plumbing

Just to be sure, I turned on the faucets to the sink and flushed the toilet a couple of times and both were getting water so I deemed that I was all through with the drains and the plumbing. The next part would be more interesting as it entailed installing the tiles and then the grab bars.

In Part 4, I will talk about tile installation for this project.

Remodeling the Bath-Part 2-Removing the Tub

The tub removed from the wall

The tub removed from the wall

After giving the project much consideration, I devised a plan that really consisted of five different parts. The first part quite obviously was to actually start the wrecking process and remove the bath. I sat and looked at it for a long time knowing that the first blow of the hammer would  commit to completing the project. There was still time to back out and leave things as they were and just add a couple of grab bars for safety and maybe add glass doors.

I thought back over the summer and all that had happened so far with replacing both toilets and the kitchen sink, working on the septic system after it backed up and losing my little dog, Abigail. Even though the work on the septic system had been both hard and difficult (and heartbreaking), I had enjoyed the challenge and the completed deck does look very nice.

Removing the tub.

I took a deep breath and carefully swung my hammer and broke out the first tile and the project was on. I removed the first row of tiles above the bath so that I could get the bath ledge clear. As the house is 30 years old, back when it was built, the method used to set the tiles was to metal lath and plaster the walls and use thin set grout to attach the tiles to the wall. Not only did I have to remove the tiles, I had to remove an inch thick layer of wire lath and plaster. I used one of my older power saws fitted with a carborundum blade to make a clean cut at the bottom edge of the remaining wall tile so I had a complete separation between what I was removing and the tile that was to remain.

I went to work in removing the bath bit by bit. As the salesman had pointed out, it was bloody heavy and I had to devise ways for me, on my own to get the job done. I knew that the drain would be an impediment and had to carefully work on removing it. Nothing I tried would unscrew it and I ended up using a screwdriver acting as a cold chisel with well delivered blows from my hammer to break it loose. The tile floor that I had installed a few years ago also gave me a problem and I had to devise a way of lifting the front edge of the bath up and over those tiles.

It was slow going and I was able to work the tub out bit by bit moving it an inch on one side and then an inch on the other and on and on. Luckily , I have many tools one of which is a long crowbar with a welded on fulcrum that was invaluable in working out the tub. The framing is built to fit the size of the tub and with the other stuff like floor tiles and wall plaster, it was not an easy job. In fact, it took the best part of half a day to just get it out onto the bathroom floor. It took me another 60 minutes to raise the tub sufficiently to get a movers dolly under it so that I could push it out of the bathroom, across the bedroom and out the sliding doors. The method used to raise it was actually pretty simple. I knew that I could not lift any part of it as I guessed it to weigh well over 100 pounds so again, patience was the answer. With my trusty bar and several blocks of 2 x 4 , I worked on each end prising it up and slipping a block under until I had it high enough. I had to work on alternate ends to keep it balanced. After I had slipped the dolly underneath, I reversed the process and lowered the tub back onto the dolly.

It was pretty simple to push the tub and dolly out of the bathroom and across the bedroom to the sliding doors but there I ran into a different problem.  The sliding doors have a metal track on the bottom which stands about one inch high. I knew that the hard rubber wheels of the dolly would not mount the tracks so I built a ramp that would get me up and over the them. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned and the tub slid off the dolly and wedged in between the sliding door frame.

There was nothing else for it but to manually work the tub through the doors, out onto the deck and repeat the process of getting the dolly back under it. Using a great deal of care so as not to damage the tile floor or the sliding glass doors and frame,  I carefully worked the tub along and out and through the doors onto the deck. There, I repeated the process of raising each end up a block of wood at a time until I had it sitting back on the dolly ready to be moved off the deck. To date, three weeks after starting the project, the tub still sits on the dolly in the middle of the deck. I have not yet decided just what I plan on doing with it. I have several choices not the least of which is to set it up to start pond plants or to install it by one of the ponds and use it as a small bog. I could just break it up and sell it for scrap. Decisions, decisions.

The old tub still sitting on the deck.

The old tub still sitting on the deck

The whole process took all day from the first swing of the hammer to getting the tub outside. I walked back inside and took a look at the hole left by removing the tub and thought to myself, “Well, we are really and truly committed to remodeling the tub to shower now”.

In Part 3, I will explain in detail the plumbing and drain work during the remodeling.

Remodeling the bath – Part 1- Dealing with the Salespeople.

The original bath.

The original bath.

Dealing with Salespeople.

For the longest time, I have been thinking about remodeling the bath tub by removing it and replacing it with a shower. The idea being that I have read so much about accidents in the bath with people falling and stuff and I have to admit to having a couple of close calls myself. If it wasn’t for the fast reflexes and a decent sense of balance that I still have, I too might be another statistic. Besides, I am not getting any younger, unfortunately, and need to plan ahead to when I can’t do things as well as I would like.

I was at my favorite store, Home Depot and noticed the trailer that sits outside advertising some of the many services they provide so being a naturally curious individual, I wandered inside and took a look at some of the bath remodeling that they had on display hoping to get a few ideas. I was immediately accosted by a salesperson and eventually agreed to let them come to my house and give me a price for my project.

On the designated date and time, a couple of sales people showed up and I led them indoors and showed them what I had and explained to them in detail, what I wanted to have done. Turns out, I might as well have been talking to the Moon for what good it did. An hour and a half later, after all kinds of sales pitches for this and that, I told them they may as well leave as I knew what I wanted  and they had totally different ideas. No matter what I said, they were not interested in remodeling the existing bath, instead, they wanted to tear everything out and replace the perfectly good tiles with a plastic surround. I kept trying to tell them, “No, I want you to take out the tub, leave the tiles, put in a shower valve and new shower base, a couple of grab bars and a set of glass doors”. They finally admitted that they do not do remodeling of the type I was asking and oh yes, to do a complete remodel like what they wanted, would have cost me $11,500 with me buying and installing the glass sliding doors.

It was interesting with some of the tactics they used. Things like, “The tub is so heavy, you will never be able to get it out by yourself” or “You can’t do what you are suggesting as you will get leaks and probably mildew.” or, “Those tiles are not worth saving”. The best one of all was,”The sheets of Hardy Board are so heavy you will never be able to handle them yourself” and on and on. As we sat there, they kept reducing the price with their rock bottom at $6500 still doing it the way they wanted. That’s $5000 less than the original price which I assume was all mark up and profit. This was for a preformed unit with a base and three sides plus the plumbing. I wonder just what a much fancier remodel which included a tile base and all tile walls would cost?

I showed them the door and cordially thanked them for their time and bade them farewell and went back to planning how I could do it myself. By the way, I had made no secret of the fact that I was familiar with construction having spent a lifetime working in the various fields which no doubt had made it much more difficult to sell me their project. Probably a lesser experienced person or one that did not mind looking at white plastic walls might easily be sold by their sales pitch.

I’m quite sure they would have done a good job installing what they wanted to put in and I am not criticizing either the sales people or Home Depot who I know offer this as a service. They should have told me right at the beginning that they don’t do remodeling and that they only do replacement.

In Part 2, I will explain in detail the actual project and what I ran into during the remodeling.