When the foundation was replaced, it caused a lot of problems elsewhere in the house: big cracks in the dry wall on the first floor, heaving between the bricks in the hearth, landscaping a la Death Valley, gaps between all the woodwork and the walls and floors. One of the more annoying results was that the floor of the small powder room off the kitchen now slopes up at so dramatic an angle that we had to have the door reshaped: a big wedge sliced off the bottom, and another big wedge installed at the top. It turned out that, because the foundation wasn't level, the previous owners had put shims under the joists under the floor in order to even it out, before installing some hideous and slippery beige tile flooring. So now, in addition to being ugly, when you walk into the bathroom it's like walking into the Mystery Spot—whoa! the laws of gravity defied!—and the only solution is to tear up the tiles, remove the shims, and put in new flooring. It would be a top priority if there weren't 732 things already in top priority position.
The main bathroom (the one on the third floor) suffered too. Ever since the construction, the faucet in the tub has leaked. Our best friend Larry the plumber has had at it several times already, trying to figure out where the problem is, but it appears to be deeply rooted in the, um, bowels of the bathtub, and resistant to discovery. In the meantime, we noticed that a damp spot kept appearing on the bathmat. We have elderly animals so this is not mysterious; a trip through the washer with some hot water solves this problem. But then the spot would reappear. And then it started reappearing even when when the cat was outside and the dog was diapered. And then we noticed that the grout between the tiles in the floor was looking kind of bubbly and yellow. And then we noticed a big drippy wet spot on the ceiling in the room below—and a pile of papers and photos on the desk below the spot that were (ew!) damp and moldy.
All this is annoying and frustrating, and part of the constant hemorrhage of money we enjoy as owners of a historic property. (Deciding between Puerto Vallarta and Tuscany for vacation this year? Never a problem for us! We're buying a new sump pump instead!)
The other night, though, when I got up in the middle of the night to use this same bathroom, insult was added to injury. The toilet seat broke when I sat on it. Henry says it cheered him up a bit; this, at least, is something he can fix. But I'm starting to think about Poltergeist and The Amityville Horror, and to wonder about our sanity.