I felt like Norm Abram

We can’t all be like Norm Abram of This Old House, but we can do some handyman work from time to time given the need and opportunity. In view of the cost of renovation and remodeling, we should all be so lucky as to have the skill to do any improvements all. It can save a bundle and be fun at the same time. It could be for yourself or for friends and family. No doubt if you help them out they will return the favor in kind. There is always something that breaks down, erodes, goes bad, or otherwise needs attention and help.

Recently, a patron of the library where I work was looking up do-it-yourself books on home bathrooms. Now that is a thankless job I thought. Putting in a new toilet or faucet is tough work and meant for a plumber. What could he be thinking? I asked him what was up. He replied that the shower needed new tile, that was all, and did I know how to do it. He was bound and determined to execute this self-appointed task.

I gave it some thought before answering. YouTube! The source and knowledge font of all of life’s most vital information. The modern encyclopedia. Why not? We sat down together in a special reading room and I pulled out my trusty laptop. I was able, with some quick searching, to find numerous videos on choosing and installing bathroom tile. You simply had to select what you wanted and have the right tools to cut it to size. Grouting is pretty standard, but you can choose the width and the color. It seemed eminently doable to me. He was also keen to replace a few of the fixtures in there, so we started reading reviews online and stumbled across a funnily named site called “Rate My Toilet” that helped with picking the right one for his space.

We were both destined to add to our handymen resumes. I wasn’t sure about the patron, but I was game for some remodeling action. I agreed to lend a hand if necessary. Maybe he would turn out to be a pro after all and get my own dated washroom in better shape. The tile in my shower was beyond repair. It would take more than a dousing of bleach to fix it up.

After viewing a couple of hours of these DIY videos, the two of us were primed for action. I also helped the patron find some appropriate tiles on the Internet that were readily available in a store nearby. We ordered by email since this fellow had done all the measurements. There was a customer service button so you could ask questions and get help. How easy was that!

The tile purchased, the patron returned to the library to show me the goods a few days later. To signal approval, I nodded and asked him about the pending installation date. How about now, he quipped. Yes, how about now, I piped in. Norm Abram to the rescue. We trotted over to his house a block and a half away, and upon entering I spied a set of pretty impressive tools. He had designated a space in the garage for cutting and trimming, but the grout was on hand in the bathroom for final detailing.

The job went well I have to admit and I am on board with remodeling any time. Don’t take me away from the library during working hours, however, as my boss was not impressed.

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