Months ago my bathtub became our pantry annex, a repository for extra TP, dried beans, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, and other must-haves for our newly isolated life-style. Our walk-in pantry/tool shed looked like a couple of survivalists lived here. The hall closet was crammed with our emergency food stash…finally, after all these years of living in earthquake country! My bathtub was the only large space left in our condo to transform into a supply depot. So I gave up my retreat.
More and more over the last month, I have longed for a relaxing bubbly candle-lit bath. With cold weather coming on, the thought of an evening soak was so appealing. On my birthday I declared my intention to reclaim my space! The solution was obvious, although kicking it off took some time and a lot of conversation—clear the pantry shelves of Bill’s well-used tools and wood collection.
We bought our condo from blueprints over 35 years ago. We loved the large size, the efficient open floor-plan, and the second floor location with sunset views. But, once it was built, we hated the finishes used by the contractor. Everything from light fixtures to the kitchen cabinets was cheap and homely. We nearly backed out of our contract, before realizing we could transform the space with a little money and a lot of work.
Before we even moved in, Bill built extra shelves in all the closets and floor to ceiling shelves in the pantry. He’d already run stereo and TV wiring throughout all the rooms before the sheetrock went on. Together we wall-papered nearly every wall and eventually stripped it all He installed new baseboards and crown molding and cased in open doorways. Within two years, Bill tore out the hideous melamine kitchen cabinets and built a brand-new kitchen to my design.
Bill took on plumbing and redid both bathrooms…cabinets and sinks and toilets! Together we tore out and rebuilt. We learned to install plank flooring and became painting pros. Over the years, Bill changed out all of the ceiling light fixtures more than once.
He and my dad replaced every ugly brown door in the condo with beautiful two panel wood doors. Bill is a meticulous craftsman…always in mind of measuring three or four times before making that cut. My slap-it-together father learned a lot of patience over that week!
For decades we kept a lengthy list of projects. Bill joked about my ideas going on the ten-year plan. Each project called for new tools. Drill drivers, planes, spiral saws, sink wrenches, soldering irons, and all manner of levels filled the pantry shelves.
But, there isn’t any more work to do, no need for tools or extra wood. Every room is as we need it to be. Our home is cozy and beautiful and functional thanks to Bill’s work over the decades. Giving up his tools and wood was not easy. He accepted that those tools and that wood no longer have a purpose in his life. They have served him well, but it is time to move on. So, Bill offered the lot to a good friend who kindly came by to pick them up.
Once we cleared a good amount of shelf space, I immediately began to empty the tub. After we sort through my painting tools and the old cans of paint, I will haul the last boxes of TP into the pantry. I’ll have my retreat back…thanks to my husband.