Sunday January 2nd, 2011

The exercise:

Today we make more: comparisons.

I'm going to aim for before and after shots of one room a day for the next... uh, five days I suppose. Looking through all the before pictures, it's apparent that I had absolutely no idea how massive a transformation we were about to orchestrate.

Because I would've taken way more pictures if I had.


We begin today with the bathroom. The first time we saw it, it looked something like this:

The sink was in the living room, I think. Or I might have thrown it outside by then. That board that's missing in the floor was taken out due to water damage, if I recall correctly. Oh and the door was against a wall in the living room. The Ajax kinda cracks me up though. That room needed a lot more than just a good cleaning.

It needed this:

What's new: the window size was cut in half and we replaced it; the wall tile around the bathtub; the tile board on the walls; the faucet and shower head; the toilet (to quote me, shortly after one of our initial tours of the cabin: 'Of course we're getting a new toilet. There is no way my bare ass is touching that thing.'); the sink and vanity; the medicine cabinet; a fresh coat of paint on the door and a new door knob (picture taken before that was put on); and the linoleum (I'll have to get a better picture of that). Oh, and the light fixture. Also not pictured. Bah.

What's old: the bathtub (scrubbed relatively clean) and the shower curtain rod (stolen from the downstairs bathroom of Kat's parent's house).

What's left to do: ceiling trim around the top of the tile board; baseboards around the toilet and sink; a touch up of the bathtub paint; and shelving. The whole place is in desperate need of shelving, actually. I'm going to try to build one or two for the bathroom relatively soon. Oh, we also need a towel rack.

It's a little more presentable now, yes?


Zhongming said...

Marc - After renovation your bathroom room look great! If you haven't mention about what you did with the bathtub, i would've thought that it's brand new! i think you did fantastic job with your bathroom, surely a place well-worth for a relaxing bath :)


Comparison (Continuation from the snowy woods)

Memo of day eight, 12.05am Wednesday, 27th Jan 2000.

The three of us landed successfully in America’s Seattle Tacoma International Airport after flying for nearly ten hours. I’m beat but the level of intensity and anxiety has not level yet. I just had a bath and this is a letter which I’m about to share with you. I found it in the middle of nowhere in the snowy woods. I believe there’s somebody still trapped out there.

We’re lucky compared to them isn’t it?


Letter dated Tuesday, 10th of December 1995

Dear reader,

I am taking the risk of writing this piece of memo but to whoever is reading this… help us! We’re being dragged into this, forcefully. We struggled but to no avail against their hostile treatment. Let me offer a piece of advice to you. Don’t ever look into their eyes.


It’s over if you ever look into their eyes. They’re cursed! That is exactly how they drugged us. Which is why we’re here, captured…

There’s a key that I’ve stolen which I hide it in the fourth space. You should see a button after you remove a brick from the wall. Take it! Move on to the fountain and drop the key into the dragon’s mouth and a new path shall reveal itself…



Greg said...

@Zhongming: well, that letter answers a few questions, but raises a whole lot more!

@Marc: the difference between the before and after pictures is amazing! I know you've told us about a lot of the work you've done, but I think it takes the pictures to really understand how much work has been required. The new bathroom just looks amazing, while the old one looks... derelict, I suppose. Fantastic job!
And yes, a couple of shelves wouldn't look at all out of place :)

"Thou art as lovely as a summer's day,
Shall I compare thee to a rose?"
His words were pretty, all dressed up,
And purpled, like his prose.

"Get off with you!" she shouted back,
"Take your dollar words away!
It's sens'ble folk be livin' here,
We're not list'nin' to what you say."

"You're as lovely as a moonlit night,
When you've reddened with bright anger!"
He stood his ground and entreated on,
Not hearing the maddened clangour

For she had taken up her zither
And the copper washing stick,
And pursued him both yon and hither,
Beating him till she was sick.

And now no comparison can pass his lips,
No analogy dares be thought,
He only speaks of what he sees;
This is what she's wrought.

Vicki said...

Marc - Fantastic bathroom! That's a lot of work!

@zhongming - I think I'm going to have to go back and start from the beginning. It's quite an adventure!

@greg - Love the dialects. I don't think I would want to mess with her. I also think that any reference to a zither is just awesome :-)

Here's my comparison. I think the ending needs a bit more, but I'm at work and need to start working.


The balmy day only added to Sam’s irritation. He was annoyed by the heat, the humidity and the natives. He was annoyed that the U.S. government sent him to this remote island to build an airfield, but then didn’t send the supplies to do it. He was annoyed because he knew he should be thankful, but he wasn’t. Everyone else in the world would say this place was paradise. But it was December and he was homesick.

If he were home in Minnesota, Sam would be donning his parka right now, excited to be doing with his dad to find the perfect sledding hill. They would race to see who could get down the hill fastest. Sometimes, they would make snowmen at the bottom of the hill, and then crash into them with their sleds. At the end of the day, Sam’s mom would serve cookies and hot chocolate while Sam thawed out by the fire. To Sam, it was the perfect day.

“Not this year,” thought Sam as he wiped the sweat from his forehead. He wandered down to the beach, climbing the giant dunes on his way. As he approached the top, he could hear some of the native children laughing and playing. Sam was bitter. “Why are they laughing? It’s December and there’s no snow on the ground. It doesn’t even feel like Christmas!” he thought.

Looking down from the top of the sand dune, Sam saw the children using wooden mats to sled down the sand. A slow smile crept across Sam’s face. While it still wasn’t home, maybe this place wasn’t so bad after all.

summerfield said...

marc, i figured you could have done a whole book just on the before and after work on the cabin. that bathroom is amazing, seeing from where it started. i do see one tiny positive thing in the first one though: the view from the window (unless of course it was a glued on picture). you did an outstanding job. and once again, i will ask you: is there anything you aren't good at or can't actually do? i'm thinking "kryptonite" :-)

zhongming: that's very impressive, kiddo. keep it up! i'd like to know more.

greg: your poem reminds me of a boy in grade school who kept pestering me until i couldn't stand it anymore i had to beat him up silly. also i've not heard or used the word "clangour" for such a long time. i like reading your posts: you mention a word that i haven't heard in a long time and something comes to the fore and memories just keep trickling in, like an avalanche kind of trickling. i thank you.

vicki: i like your story. where i grew up, we didn't have snow, and we would sing Christmas carols of the "White Christmas" and "Let It Snow" type. ironically, what i longed for this last Christmas season was "december at home" - dry, and warm and sandy.

summerfield said...

ooops, pardon the old person, i forgot to post my entry :-)


My Sister and I

She's two minutes younger, and she is taller
She is fertile and I am barren
She smiles a lot, my face is a frown
Although when I want to I am the better clown.

She is plump, I am slimmer; she is rough, I am calmer
She creates with her hand, I am more the thinker
She likes her men younger and with full head of hair
I like mine older, and the balder, the sexier.

She speaks three languages, I speak seven
I've been around the world, she lives in Spain
I can cook up a storm, from soup to dessert
She does, too, literally, because she's a witch.

She's very friendly, and I am more reserved
She talks incessantly, whereas I sit and wait
She loves diamonds, but I love pearls
She spends her money like nothing, while I spend hers.

morganna said...

Hi everyone, I'm back. Having been sick most of December, I'm slowly returning to my normal schedule and activities, so here I am! I think I've missed a lot here, and my entry for today cannot possibly compete with the eloquent entries I see here, but here it is anyway:

Sunlight gleams, bringing out warm highlights. Fluorescent lights merely illuminate, a dull shine rising here and there.

Watermark said...

Marc: wow! Well done that is quite a transformation. I too thought that it was a brand new bathtub and couldn't tell until you mentioned it! :) Looking forward to see more of the transformations.

Zhongming: I think I'm hooked and want to know more now!

Greg: I think that must be my favourite poem now. Really amazing stuff there and love that style!

Vicki: Really enjoyed the image there and smiled when I thought of cookies and hot chocolate :)

Summerfield: Fantastic comparisons there. I like the way you just painted a picture of the two sisters!

Morganna: I like the contrast there :)

I haven't managed to write my own today (tired brain!) but just wanted to comment.

Heather said...

Marc- Wow! That is an amazing amount of work and timeline for turning it around. I can't wait to see the next few pictures.

Zhongming- Interesting. Very interesting. Will we follow this new path?

Greg- That is simply fantastic! There wasn't a thing I didn't like about it. Exceptionally well done. Truly.

Vicki- I love the story. It's not winter without snow. Although, once the holidays passed, I would have no problem joining Sam in paradise.

Summerfield- I really enjoyed your poem/ story. It made me think of my sisters and how I tend to be the black sheep in some senses while the others claim the title for others.


I hugged them to my chest. They had seen better days, but without them, I never would have. I pulled them away and looked at them. There once smooth curved tops were tattered. In one place, the soft brown leather had turned brittle and crumbled away. There was a tear half way up in one of the boots. It probably measured an inch and a half long. The heels were beaten, worn down by constant wear. A memory of rocking unsteadily as I walked home from a late night party swiftly went through my mind. One of the buckles was missing while the other that held on by a literal thread was tarnished and gritty. Sighing deeply, I blew out a small stream of air. It would be a big job, one that would need to be done quickly.

Quietly, I carried the boots into the garage, grabbing a sponge and bottle on the way. In the cold and dark of the large room, I began to repair them as best I could. It took a few weeks. Minutes stolen from other priorities and when I knew no one would notice, but finally they were completed. They were shorter, the tops not being salvageable, and the buckles were different. The leather was softer, cleaner, brighter. They weren't the same, but they were now capable of rescuing me once again.

I slid them on after dinner. The left heel still rocked slightly, causing a slightly different echo than the right when I walked. They fit my feet beautifully. It was obvious they hadn't forgotten me. Satisfied, happy really, I pulled on my old pea cot and picked up my over stuffed satchel. Never looking back, I walked from the large house and even larger demands. "Yep," I thought. "These boots are made for walking."

Marc said...

Zhongming - thank you :)

That letter throws an interesting twist into the story. I hope it continues because I'm not satisfied yet!

Greg - derelict is one word for it. Actually, that's a very good word for it.

She kinda sounds like a school teacher, crushing the literary hopes and dreams of a student.

Vicki - I liked the ending but I do see what you mean. It wraps up your piece quite nicely though :)

Summerfield - the view is still there, we just have to open the window to see it now :)

And there are plenty of things I'm not good at. Renos were something I would have put in that category not so long ago. You just kinda plug away at it and learn as you go. Worked for me, anyway. Also: we had a lot of help.

That's some great work with your comparison. I really liked the final line :)

Morganna - glad you're feeling better! I hope your recovery continues, as your writing has definitely been missed.

Your comparison may be short, but I think it's exactly as long as it needs to be.

Watermark - thanks very much :)

I do believe I mentioned a while back that I had both swept and vacuumed a bathtub for the first time in my life. Well, that's the one.

Heather - thanks!

I liked the transformation of the exterior of the boots, but even more so the fact that their inner power (for lack of a better term) remained unchanged.