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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)

TITLE: Toilet, Tub, and Tile, or Vanity?
By Angela M. Baker-Bridge
01/16/08


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Madge tearfully waved good-bye to her sister as Kevin slowly backed the car out of the long driveway. Their three-day weekend had been a marathon of catching-up and laughter for his wife and sister-in-law. Kevin knew Madge hated to leave. Everyone vowed not to let five years pass between visits again.

By the time Kevin drove down the street, Madge dried her eyes, pulled out a notepad and pen from the glove compartment, and turned toward him.

“Okay, I want to start the remodeling with our bathroom and bedroom first.”

“What remodeling?” Kevin asked, astonished.

Madge laughed, “The remodeling of our house, silly. What else would I be referring to?”

“I have no idea, but when did we ever consider remodeling our house?” he innocently asked.

Indignantly, Madge answered, “Try like from the first minute I stepped into Jane’s house. She’s been telling me for the past five years the house was the nicest one they’ve owned, but I assumed she was exaggerating. After all, I’ve been making our new place sound bigger and better than it really is. I can’t believe Jane didn’t tell me it was an outrageously astounding mansion. This makes me mad. Could you imagine if we had decided to get together at our place instead of theirs? Oh well, here’s my thinking...”

“Back-up the truck sweetheart. Our house is great just the way it is, dear. Your sister’s place is too big and pretentious as far as I’m concerned anyway.”

Madge continued as if Kevin had never interrupted. “By ripping out my vanity area and moving the toilet, then removing the bathtub and tile walls, we can build a gorgeous walk-in shower surrounded with massaging jets. I want 12-inch Italian tiles for the walls and floor, done diagonally like on the Home Remodeling Network, and a decorative tile border. I want a built-in seat, frameless glass doors, and heating light. Then,”

Madge went on like that for the entire seven hour drive while Kevin remained silent. He was however, keeping a running tally of the costs of materials and labor, and an approximate timeframe, as he listened.

When they finally walked into their own humble bedroom, Madge commented, “Do you know that you hardly said anything all day?”

Kevin looked at her over the top of his glasses, “You mean you wanted me to talk? Well, I don’t really remember any breaks when I could’ve jumped in, but since I have the floor now, I can share all of my thoughts on the subject in two simple statements… we can’t afford it, and what we have is just fine.”



For the next six months Madge and Kevin lived in a construction nightmare. Since she was unwilling to alter her design or material choices, and he fretted over costs, the unnecessary bathroom and bedroom remodeling became a do-it-yourself project.

Every night after work and every weekend in-between, they shopped, demolished, cleaned-up, measured, mixed, ran out for better tools, cut, installed, or returned mistaken purchases. They worked, waited, worried, and became weary.

One night, Kevin grumbled, “You really think our marriage can survive much more of this? Because, I don’t.”

Madge answered sharply, “Just stay focused on the end result. It’ll be worth it.”

“So, that’s what you’re telling yourself?” Kevin snapped back.



At last, Madge prepared to embark on the virgin voyage of her full-body massage shower into the land of luxury. Lighting candles in her new custom-designed up-scaled bathroom, she squealed, “You will get your turn when I’m done, Kevin, but right now, shoo!”

Slowly Madge adjusted each shower jet. Smiling, she stepped into her long awaited dream. After indulging for ten minutes, she screamed for Kevin.

“Oh no,” she whined as he entered the bathroom. “Look! The water isn’t draining right. See how it’s puddling on the shower floor? It’s actually accumulating away from the drain.”

Kevin inspected the uneven base while Madge sat down on the shower seat. Crying, she noted, “And these tiles aren’t as smooth as they felt when we were fully dressed!”

Reaching for the towel rack, Madge discovered it was too far for her. Kevin had measured his own reach from the shower. Mindlessly, Madge dripped water on the smooth tiles, slipped, and fell.

Kevin muttered, “You couldn’t be satisfied with the bathroom we had, could you. This means more time and money.”



Hebrews 13:5 admonishes us to “be content with whatever you have…,” unlike Madge's vanity over her vanity.

_____________________________

© 01-14-08
Scripture quoted from NIV Bible.


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This article has been read 707 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw01/17/08
Cute story which makes a great point for a common scenario. Good job!
Sara Harricharan 01/18/08
oooh, OUCH! That fall had to hurt! Remodeling can be a real pain when there isn't enough cash or time to see the product through to the end. I liked how you built up to this and especially the ending with her vanity over her vanity...that was hilarious! ^_^
Hanne Moon 01/22/08
Since my husband and I are working on our house I can relate! It's easy to get carried away with wanting what other's have, only to find out it's not all that! LOL The only suggestion I have is that you limit your adverbs. Your readers don't need to be told he's asking "innocently" or she's responding "indignantly" - show them through the dialogue. Your dialogue is great by the way! Keep up the good work!
Holly Westefeld01/22/08
This was a fun, fast-paced read.
It is a sad thing when people define themselves by their stuff.
Karen Wilber 01/22/08
Ooo, Ooo, Oooo - I get the title. "Vanity" as in being vain - as well as where you sit to put on makeup. Love it!

Great story. Very engaging.

Wait until they get their next water bill.
Paula Titus 01/22/08
This is so true to life for us westerners - always wanting bigger and better 'stuff,' you illustrated the message perfectly.
Rita Garcia01/22/08
Love your panache for telling a story and delivering a message with a punch that drives it home.
Beth LaBuff 01/23/08
What fun to read of this couple and her discontentment. The shower "scene" was great. I love your title. You've written this very well.
Dee Yoder 01/23/08
Yes, after all that hard work, it's still not right! A wonderful lesson packed into this story. The newness wears off fast and then you're just left with a...bathroom! Good twist on the topic.
Jan Ackerson 01/23/08
Great pun in the title, and a very apt lesson.

RED INK: I'd work on dialog. Instead of tags, especially tags that indicate mood, trust your actual dialog to show your reader what the mood is. Otherwise, your tags become redundant--and it's a great way to save on words, too, that can then be used for further plot development or characterization.
Loren T. Lowery01/23/08
Man does this ever strike a common chord. I could just hear my wife and I having the same discussion. But luckily, sanity has always kicked in before the first contractor was ever called.
Great job showing this week's topic.
Beckie Stewart01/23/08
I liked your story and found it so sad that the MC was unwilling to listen to her husband even when he was concerned about how the remodeling was hurting their relationship. What difference does it make what kind of bathroom you have in the end. Good story.
Sally Hanan01/24/08
Ditto to what Jan said, but rather than using adverbs, you can describe their body language or facial signs, e.g. instead of saying astonished, you could say that his foot hit the brakes or slipped off the accelerator.