I can’t quite believe I am about to complain about one of my favourite pastimes ever – shopping. But shopping for plumbing fixtures isn’t quite as much fun as I thought it was going to be. For starters, the majority of it is done from catalogues, since most shops don’t display everything that is available. And, in my opinion, catalogues should be reserved for those mailouts that sell orthopaedic footwear, floral skirts with elastic waistbands, and novelty garden ornaments.
Did you know that there are approximately five hundred million types of kitchen taps out there? Oh sure – they all look roughly the same. Especially in a little picture in a catalogue. But apparently they are all different, and given that I am going to be doing the dishes several thousand times (until I have Pugsley and Newbie trained up to be my domestic minions), it seems like an important kind of thing to get right.
And then there’s the bathroom taps. And the bath spouts. And the showers and the mixers. Did you know that when you plan a bathroom, you even have to choose the plugs? And the drains????
And apparently plumbers arrive on site expecting you to have all these things decided and organised and specified and a wee book made up with diagrams and measurements and manuals of where everything needs to go. It turns out that plumbers are rather expensive. Too expensive to be sitting round our place drinking cups of tea and twiddling their thumbs, Midge tells me. So the last week has involved late nights, stacks of bathroom catalogues, and arguments over whether we should choose the Cygnet or the Parliament toilet seat.
But everything seems more dramatic at 11.30pm when your toddler has decided that the hours of 2-4am are party time, and Newbie has declared caffeine off the menu. In the clear light of day, it’s obvious that unless one of them actually flushes for you and has a self scrubbing function, arguing over their individual merits is a waste of time. Although I’m sure there is a toilet that has all of that….
We have been lucky to have a fantastic friend of Midge’s who works for one of the bathroom fitting companies, who has very patiently fielded about a billion emails from me on should I pay more and get a porcelain enamel bath or is an el cheapo acrylic one good enough (answer: yes, el cheapo is actually a pretty good bet these days as they are less likely to chip and crack and don’t suck all the heat out of your bathwater) and Aaaaaargh, I just can’t choose between these two shower heads, what if I get it wrong and can never wash my hair ever again??? (answer: for God’s sake woman, get a hold of yourself).
But anyway – it’s done. We’ve chosen. We may very well have descended into a closing-eyes-and-pointing-at-a-random-spot-on-the-page methodology, but I can toss the bathroom catalogues and move happily on to my next task.