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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, the great Port Swiller Manor renovation project has begun.  I returned home in the quiet eve’n (well, not so quiet, as a line of heavy t-storms came through) to find a large pile of debris in the side yard, much of the house covered in cardboard, painter’s tape and dust sheets, and every last bit of the mawster bawth completely stripped down to the under-flooring and two-by-four skeletal walls.  I understand that we get an on-site port-o-potty tomorrow.  Oh, joy.

Ol’ Robbo doesn’t like change.  He doesn’t like chaos, either.  He’s now got both in spades.  It’s going to be an awful couple weeks.

(Oh, and I take back every rant I ever ranted about the gels sneaking into our bathroom to take showers instead of using their own.  I took my own first shower in their bathroom tonight in thirteen years of living here and now understand completely their desire to escape.)

However, we must keep our eyes focused on the end result and ignore the interim.

Which reminds me of a curious thing.  With regard to the transmogrification of said mawster bawth, Mrs. Robbo and I have been sparring gently with the builder over what the new floor plan ought to look like.  Without getting into the details – which would be impossible to explain here without photos, diagrams or a lot of tedious wording – he wants the whole area, which encompasses tub, potty, vanity and closet entrance, to be as wide open as possible.  We, on the other hand, have been lobbying to retain some semblance of the current division of these various parts into smaller, discrete spaces.

Whenever we raise our preferences, Mr. Builder always responds by saying, “Well, it is the mawster bawth, after all, and you two…..”  He never completes the thought, but the argument clearly is implied:  You two are used to seeing each other go potty, so why not let it be One Big Space.

Well, no.  No we’re not.  Nor have we ever been.

We’ve tried to imply this right back at Mr. Builder, stressing repeatedly that we are both very private people.  He either feigns not to understand what we’re driving at or else looks at us in mild surprise.

Are we really so far out of the mainstream about this?  I’ve always been very firmly of the opinion that intimacy, like most other things, is best preserved and enhanced where there are recognized boundaries and limitations.  Evidently, there’s an opposite school of thought that demands we, ah, let it all hang out in front of each other.

No, thankee.

I’m reminded of an old Bloom County strip in which Opus’s girlfriend barges in on him in the loo despite his panicky cries of, “Occupied!  OCCUPIED!!”  In the last panel, Opus appears hastily draped and says, “The Big Casual – fear it!”

I’m further reminded of an old Thatch strip dealing with co-ed bathrooms on college campuses.  As it happens, I had to suffer such an arrangement during my time at the People’s Glorious Soviet of Middletown, CT, so I was particularly amused when “Tripp”, the macho fellah of teh strip, says of said arrangements, “Nothing so demystifies the opposite sex like listening to it tinkle.”

Tripp was something of a jerk in the strip, but sometimes he spoke sooth.  I think this was one of those times.  And of course I completely agree with Opus.

Anyhoo, I believe we’ve struck a happy compromise with Mr. Builder involving a half-high wall screening the potty, french doors sealing off the entire bawth area from the bedroom and a clear understanding between Mrs. R and Self  about respecting each other’s privacy when said doors are closed.  I think it will work.



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June 2013