Reason #541 for why I love my husband is the incident with our tub. I caused this problem myself, which ultimately tested (and proved!) my husband’s patience.
First the backstory
My husband Craig is the muscle and brains behind our cabin/house remodeling project. I am not a handy, tool-wielding, Minnesota woman who likes construction projects. Give me construction on TV, done quickly between commercials, where I never have to experience budget overruns. Not an option with this project. I am in the middle of it, but not talented enough to contribute significantly. I sand, seal, paint, (and repeat!) on the many surfaces throughout the cabin, not that I am accomplished at this or enjoy it. But that is my job, so I try to help and not hinder projects.
Craig and I have fixed up and sold three houses in the last seven years. He does the construction work; I sort, pack, clean, and paint. The three family homes needed help; I did not choose the activity. I don’t have that fantasy of flipping homes; I would rather watch that on TV. Although we have worked on houses, living within the construction zone is a new experience for me. Once I came down the cabin stairs to see Craig hoisting a six-foot-wide, wooden, load-bearing header to support the opening for our fireplace. I rushed over to help him, chiding him for not asking for help. Not that I am brawny or full of upper arm strength, but I was the only human being available to help. I helped him lift the beam, but we discovered that the sheetrock needed further trimming before the header would fit in the space. We had lifted, attempted to fit, cut out, and repeated the process several times before the header set snugly into place.
“On TV when they do this, the header fits right in the first time. And when they need to lift, 20 people come from backstage to help the hosts and pick up the beam,” I remarked wistfully. No one comes to help when you are in the deep, dark woods working alone on projects! Craig accepts help from this wimpy wife because he has no other option. So I try to help and avoid causing extra work for him. Until the tub incident.
Finishing the area above the tub surround, just below the ceiling, is a task I had done before using a step stool in the tub. The first time was a second floor bathroom with an old-fashioned porcelain tub. The second house I painted was a fiberglass tub on a concrete basement floor. This time I used the step stool on the second floor tub, to sand and seal the knotty pine – times three coats. The step stool had a u-shaped back leg support and two front legs. As I sanded up near the ceiling, I heard a crunching sound as the short ladder gradually pitched forward. I jumped off when I realized that the legs were sinking.
Sure enough, when I pulled the stepladder up, the front legs had pushed the drop cloth down as they pressed the tub.
The stool legs completely punctured the fiberglass, breaking holes through the entire tub surface!
Did I mention that Craig was on a fishing trip when all of this happened? And that this is our only bathroom?! Sickened by the tub holes, I wondered how this could have happened. I took no comfort in the fact that, according to many online sources, ladder-feet punctures are the most common need for fiberglass tub repair. Repair or replace the tub? I didn’t know which, nor did I want to make that decision myself. When I asked friends about the incident, the story became a comedy routine as everyone had a good laugh at my expense. To avoid ruining Craig’s fishing trip, I resolved not to tell him until he was on his way home from the remote resort in Canada. Meanwhile, I collected offers to shower elsewhere, or even come to live with friends if Craig was very upset. I knew he wouldn’t be that mad, but I still felt terrible that I had done this.
On his way home from Canada, fish tales swirling through his mind and happy after spending man-time with brother and friends, Craig took my call. I explained the events to Craig, emphasizing how much I loved him. He was ever so patient and kind, despite the unspoken fact that I stupidly tried that with the step stool. Unlike Craig, I know nothing about load-bearing subfloors, structural support, or the tensile strength limits of fiberglass.
My dear husband patched, epoxied, and sanded the tub to fix my mistake and repair the tub punctures. Craig did not scold or get mad at me. His patient, labor-intensive, problem resolution impressed me. I deserved to be chewed out for my carelessness, but he never complained. For Craig’s loving response to my mistake, I am grateful and honored.
Thank you God, for reason #541 to love my dear husband.