Wow, what a job! I decided I better make the shower at least useable if not perfect, so I have destabilized the universe with a cheap chrome and plastic on/off system. Oh, but it gets worse. It’s not even a Moen cheap chrome and plastic thing. No, it’s generic. Believe it or not, it gets even worse than that! The tile and cement board were cut so closely to the (old-style) valve that the screws to attach the handle system couldn’t access their little screw-holes. Hubby could chip away at the cement board thru the hole, but he could do nothing about the tile. So he turned the valve thingy and the handle had to be installed upside-down. Why not? It points downward, and hot is on the right, cold on the left. Of course, the back plate things are designed with a hole at the bottom to let out any water that got behind it. Our hole faces up, which isn’t really good. Hubby grabbed some caulking to take care of that issue, and after I freaked out about it needing 36 hours to cure, we realized that it is painter’s caulking, designed for windows, doors, baseboards… not exactly tubs and showers. So– here’s hoping for no more troubling surprises!

Our tile-guy/relative is paid off. And wow, even with a “family discount”, it ain’t cheap. I am SO in the wrong business. He spent about 5 days setting the tile and grout, working anywhere from 5-9 hours per day or thereabouts. I didn’t track the exact hours, but it comes out to almost $200/day! That averages out to $20-$40/hr., depending on the length of the ‘workday.’ I wonder what he usually charges. In any case, I think I could manage the thin-set, which was my troubling issue (I’ve set tile before, but with another medium), so as long as I don’t have to depend on anyone else (Pan Guy) to take months to get here, I shouldn’t run into such a time-sensitive deadline like I did this time. A very, very expensive deadline. We don’t have immediate plans to finish the floor (which is good, because while I bought tile for the shower and bathroom floor, plus 10% extra, we are down to six boxes of tile, which won’t even come close. I don’t know if they were prone to breaking or what, but dang.), and after triple-scrubbing the toilet last night, the bathroom is almost useable, if undone.

[Note to self: wear hazmat suit when scrubbing toilets that have seen only hard water, construction debris, and men for 2 years.]