Sister from another mother & Besties

This week, my Hooman Bean and her Bestie managed to finally have an evening together after months of trying, and Bean reported they had a wonderful time beside an outdoor fire, watching stars and searching the sky for meteors, the Orionids.  Bestie is young enough to have been my Bean’s daughter or even a granddaughter, yet they somehow bonded like sisters over 10 years ago and remain steadfast friends.

This just reminds me of how friendships can be every bit as strong as true sisterhood.  Blood is not always thicker – sometimes it’s the tight bond of friendship that brings two people together as if they were family.

My cousin Smidge, who also lives with us, has a Bestie who lives far away in Minnesota.  My other cousin Pip, who lives in Washington state, has a Bestie here in Virginia who happens to be my other cousin, Kestrel.  The big dollies who live here with us seem to have some sort of group friendship thing going – they are always together having fun.  Nobody ever pushes me away, but I don’t have a Bestie and I wish I did.  Besties seem to have a very special relationship.

If you have a Bestie, be sure you tell him – or her – so.  It’s the friendly thing to do.


Disclaimer: the bathroom is basically finished and usable, but there are a few minor issues yet to be done there, and Bean’s office still boasts a massive ceiling hole and a missing wall panel, not to mention painting.  Worker back today to begin filling in the ceiling.

The inauguration occurred on October 19 when our first guest, UFDC’s 1st Vice President, spent the night and utilized our new bathroom.  She reported this morning that it all works as it should.  That’s good. Bean wishes all the work was completed so she could stop vacuuming up the dust and sweeping up the cement that still drops from the open ceiling on the unsuspecting passer-by.  Yesterday, she found a small chunk of ceramic baseboard tile in the middle of the kitchen that hadn’t been there before.  The impressive rain of debris continues.

Yesterday, the Bean attended her UFDC Williamsburg Doll Club’s 30th anniversary celebration.  They had lunch at Opus 9 followed by a short meeting at the President’s home, had cake, and received special souvenir gifts.  They were presented with a fabulous watch-case necklace containing a remarkable tiny doll, designed and executed by the specially talented Sandra Wright Justice and a darling paper doll, also created by SWJ.  Even the boxes containing the pendants were special, topped with a hand-done calligraphy label (reproduced for all) and a small flower containing a pearl, which is the traditional 30th anniversary gift.  It was, apparently, quite a special event.

Bean says, doll people are the BEST people.

As a doll myself, I certainly like to think so.



This week, it was all about plumbing.  Smidge, out of desperation, installed her own potty in her kitchen.  Yup, she was out of room anywhere else.  She does, after all, have to cram in kitchen, bedroom, dining, and clinic space into one small boxed area.

On the other hand, I have to travel all the way from my breadbox to her place or else use the Hitty’s facilities.  A doll’s life is not easy.

But the hooman Beans will have a new bathroom any second…ok, any day.  The demo is finished, the plumbing repairs complete, a new subfloor with tile laid in the bathroom, and only grout to go.  Oh, that and the pesky necessary appliances, toilet and vanity.

Bathrooms, a necessity of modern, civilized life.  They are everywhere: in groceries, malls, airports, etc.  Even on some street corners.  Bean told me about the booth she saw on a street corner in Seattle.  You put in your money, go into the booth, and do your business.  The pay factor keeps out the homeless and vandals, and helps to keep it clean. Pretty neat, if a bit public, and a definite upgrade from those porta-potty things.

Homes used to have outhouses (as Bean’s grandma did till Bean was 12), then indoor water closets.  A home with a bath became typical, and then two baths, and now a master with two vanities with sinks, separate spa tub, glass 2-person shower, and that important water closet is typical. We just want a basic bathroom with toilet, not too much to ask.

This house in which we live was built in 1915, and we think it’s undergone a number of upgrades since it was built, though we suspect indoor plumbing was always a feature since it’s located within the original planned neighborhood in our city and listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.  It was meant for the well-to-do, though it’s surrounded now by less than stellar communities, a little island unto itself.  We know that the first and third floor baths were added, and we believe the second floor baths may have been separated or added-to at some point to turn them from one bath to two.  Only one has a shower, somewhat newer, and the other a relic of a tub, not even fancy enough to boast claw feet, and currently with faucets that don’t work.  We are excited to know that, soon, both second-floor bathrooms will have mostly useable facilities once again.

This means we can have company who will be comfortable.  Very good stuff.

Under Construction

And don’t you just know, when it rains it … well, it’s not exactly raining, but we are flush with major destruction and reconstruction, and things are falling from above, some of it watery, inside the house.

It started in July when the ceiling of the Bean’s first floor office began to drip ominously.  Personally, I do not work well with water torture, but she just put a bucket under it and called the plumbers.  They said it would be a day and a half before they could get here, so she put a giant tub under it, which turned out to be smart.  The upshot was that the toilet had crapped out (get it? – Thomas Crapper, miss identified inventor of toilet). [Bean said no more stupid jokes.  Sorry.] Worse the cast iron beneath it had to be removed as it was literally crumbling, which would mean the floor would be ruined in the process, and the new ADA complaint commode would not fit beneath the counter, so the vanity would have to be changed out, or at least it’s counter top, so…remodel. We waved goodbye to the old throne as it exited the building.

Waiting, waiting, waiting… everyone is either too busy or dropped the ball or something.  Did I mention this began like any other July 11 day?  Fast forward to October, everyone back on track, and finally the construction person come and spent two days ripping out the vanity and the floor, which was put in back in the day when tile floors were set in inches of concrete.  Yup, real concrete. Seriously thick and heavy concrete.  He broke it up, dug it out, bagged it all in industrial strength plastic bags, and tossed it out the second floor window.  No stray cats were harmed in the process.  Was supposed to be a one-day job that became two. He returned to cut out the 1st floor ceiling and remove a wall panel for access to waste stack. And when the ceiling went, the concrete pebbles that were resting comfortably and fully contained on the upside underneath portion thereof then rained down upon us like a plague.  Warning: do not stomp when walking in this zone or wear a hard hat and steel-toed boots.

Once the bath had been totally gutted except for the free-standing shower that free standing monument to what was (it’s tiled inside and out and raised up off the non-existent floor), plumbers came on board.  They set about attempting to pull out rotten cast iron and replace it with PVC.  And then two separate leaks showed up, so Bean was glad they were around.  The tide will be stemmed.  Now plumbing has gone from a one-day job to two, and a very messy one at that.  Every time they touch anything, more concrete pebbles rain down along with drip-drip-drip from the leaks.  But when they are finished, today, we will have new PVC, no leaks, and we will be ready for the return of a bathroom floor.

One thing of note. When you remove floor tile plus the inches of concrete beneath it, the floor drops.  Significantly.  Bean and Mr. Bean have had to use a step-stool to enter the shower which, instead of being six inches off the floor is now more like 10″ off the floor, but only when there’s a slab of plywood down.  Otherwise, they’d have to dance across the floor joists and pole fault to get in.

Next week we expect the construction dude to sister on some new taller joists and install a new subfloor followed hotly by some tile guys to lay down a new floor and repair the base tile which was damaged.  We also lost the ceramic toothbrush holder on the wall.  RIP old holder – we miss you. We hope to see a replacement arrive with the tile guy next week.  Once tiling is done, the plumbers come back to install a new vanity, countertop, sink, and commode.  O frabjous day!

But those are merely the plans, not necessarily the facts of the matter.  Remember, this all began in July.