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Our contractor said the renovations would take 2 to 3 weeks. Right! We’re approaching the end of Week 4.

The master bathroom is half done. The guys ran out of tiles. We (my husband Jonathan) ordered another box. It SHOULD arrive next week. The medicine chest we ordered has been discontinued. The replacement was installed. It’s bigger in our half- done bathroom than it was in the middle of the store.

The new toilet and sink are in the middle of the living room on the Oriental rug. Last week, one afternoon when I got home, the contractor was leaving with a neighbor I have never seen and our old sink.

“Is it okay if I take it?” she asked.

“Sure,” I said.

How did she know we had a sink to spare? Who is the building yenta?

Our next door neighbor has not wanted discards. Just some peace and quiet. The banging and hammering the first two weeks sent her to her sister’s in New Hampshire . Before making the trip, she mentioned that our bathroom wall–the one being torn down– was an eighth of an inch from her closet. “Make sure there’s no hole into my apartment. Or we’ll all be showering together.”

Every day when we (Jonathan) fed her fish while she soaked in New Hampshire’s quiet, he checked her closet floor. Her shoes were dry. Her luggage, too. No openings or wall damage.

In the middle of Week 4 in the middle of a game of Scrabble—our 21st game without three tiles, a K, a T, and an R, which we think are somewhere in piles on the living room floor—Jonathan said, “It’s great we get along so well.” We have been living in half our normal space. And missing more than Scrabble and floor tiles.

Great, too, we have the same taste. Understated. No doodads. We hate ungapatchka. We love what we picked. And we picked everything quickly. Except the grey paint for our bedroom walls.

It has to pop, but not pop much. It can’t be too pale. Or too dark. We’re regulars at our neighborhood Janovic, collecting grey chips, grey paper squares, and small cans of sample grey paints, which we put on a wall and white paper. Some are too blueish. Some are too white-ish. Some are just plain ugly-ish.

The following are twenty-one of the many greys we considered: nimbus gray, silver gray, gray sky, first frost, grey mist, wintry sky, raw steel, shadow gray, sweet innocence, wedding veil, tundra, sidewalk gray, whitestone, gull wing gray, bunny gray, misty gray, mineral ice, metallic silver, wickham gray, coventry gray, and stonington gray.

We decided (we think) on wickham gray–HC-171.

Within two weeks, the tiling should be done if the tiles arrive. We’ll be showering in our new shower if we have water. We pray our next door neighbor won’t be watching.

And we will sleep in our freshly painted “Just Right” grey bedroom.

We’ve had no major upsets or problems. YET.

Renovations, like most things in life, take longer than expected. And most things in life are not black or white. They’re shades and shades of grey.


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