You Can Check Out Any Time…

Dearest Rachel –

While I’m sure you know the rest of that line, I should be pointing out to you that it’s a bit of an exaggeration. This isn’t the Hotel California, here; it’s not that one can never leave when the team is here laying the floor; it’s just that you may just have to wait.

They tell me that the adhesive they’re using takes two hours to dry. Once that’s over and done with, I’m in the clear to walk out. By the way, they tell me that those clips in between each tile are meant to level everything out as the adhesive dries, since the floor… isn’t… level.
However, if I absolutely must leave right now, they’ve put off tiling the area in front of the garage door for last. All I have to do is squeeze around this cutting device (which basically requires that I jam myself into the pantry to do so – good thing the construction team already removed all the shelving – in order to do so)

So yeah, I can leave if I want to. It’s just that they don’t make it easy. But at least it’s a temporary situation. And one I can deal with; after all, it’s not as if I have to leave at a specific time for the ‘office,’ or anywhere else.

However, I can’t stay here indefinitely, either. I just got a call yesterday from Northwest Electric regarding the fan that we ordered for the kitchen; it’s finally arrived, and I want to take Daniel with me to pick it up. After all, this is pretty much his baby, so he ought to be there to take delivery of it. Besides, it’s an excuse for both of us to get out of the way of the team as they’re working – and to get lunch while we’re out. So, wins all around.

Only thing is, in order to get out, we have to be able to, you know, get out. And for all that those pictures show above, the floor situation is constantly changing. Since then, nearly everywhere has been tiled aside from that three feet of the front hall by the door, but the paste has yet to dry. In fact, we’ve been told that the garage exit is now off limits, both for now and until they return on Tuesday (since, y’know, Monday is a holiday).

I’m told they’ll be using quicker-drying adhesive for the vestibule, so that won’t be as much of an issue, although it begs a series of questions: why not use it for the entirely of the kitchen and laundry room? Or is it so much inferior to the slower stuff that they only want to use it for the high-traffic areas that need to be accessible right away? Wouldn’t those areas also therefore be the places that would benefit most from the higher-quality adhesive, inconvenience be hanged?

It’s probably why I’m not the professional here, and should really leave the task to these guys who – presumably – know better. For what it’s worth, the portion of the front hall that has already been laid and dried seems sturdy, and no matter how you look at it, is a considerable improvement from the loose and cracking tiles that had been there for the last five years or so (despite having been installed during our stay here, unlike just about everything else in this house).

Anyway, we manage to gingerly pick our way over the sections where the tiles and the adhesive holding them are still drying, and head for the car. Daniel points out that we need to be back before Logan comes over – that’s starting to be a Friday afternoon custom, much the way that Ellen coming over used to be a Monday evening one long ago – and also questions me as to how things will work out when we return and the tilers have to leave. I shrug, and tell him that they can let me know when they need the driveway cleared, and I’ll pull out and make a run around the block while they leave; it’s the best I can do under the circumstances.

The trip is relatively uneventful; we arrive at the showroom, and the girl at the reception desks rings for the shipping department to bring the fan out for us:

The clerk assured us that the picture is a stock photo; the sticker in the corner makes it clear that the blades are actually brushed nickel, rather than wood veneer.

We put it in the trunk and head out, with a stop for gas amid a small cloudburst. It’s not so much that it’s pouring down sheets of rain that’s bothersome, so much as the drops are small enough to be blown about by the wind. Even in the very middle of the shelter that extends above the bank of pumps, the water is spraying about. There’s no point in wearing a cap to protect my glasses; the water will find them as it swirls about me.

Ironically, by the time I’m done and return to the driver’s seat, the rain has let up. Isn’t it always the way? We head in an unfamiliar direction to try and find something different for lunch – or at least, somewhere different. The place we find – called Nacho’s Pizza, and yes, they have both nachos and pizza, although not nacho pizza, as far as I could tell – makes what turn out to be enormous calzones (Daniel will probably not be needing dinner tonight, although I will still offer to pick something up for the boys) and a substantial gyro burrito for myself. So that’s our meal for the day.

Once home, we’re met at the door by one of the team, who appears to be cutting tile or mixing adhesive – I’m not sure, but it’s a task that requires fresh air (I can speak for the adhesive; it has a slight odor of ammonia that occasionally leaves me wondering if I’ve forgotten to flush) – and instructs us to enter through the garage for now, rather than the front door. The reason becomes clear as we make our way through the kitchen and into the part of the front hall we’re allowed to walk on.

I’m guessing that the hose he’s using is blowing hot air on the cracks between each tile in order to hasten the drying process; that may answer my question about the adhesive, as they’re only really using one kind. It’s just that the standard air-drying process is preferable, but just not feasible in high-traffic zones.

So, that’s how things are being done around here.

I’d like to think you’d appreciate how things are starting to take shape, and I’m sorry that you’re missing out on the whole thing. Then again, that’s why I’m writing you about it; so you could take a peek at it all. Of course, if you were able to read my letters, you’d probably also be able to let your spirit hang around the place, and check it out for yourself at any time, so… maybe this is wasted effort on my part.

Still, if you could keep an eye out on us, that’d be great.

And wish us luck, if you think of it, honey. We’re still going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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