It all started with one sink …

It was a very nice sink for the bathroom that would have felt neglected, if a bat

hroom had feelings at all, after heaps of praise were offered to our spa bathroom in “The Addition”.

Daisy had been in Home Hardware when she saw the sink. With its raised profile, square-not-round shape and sleek contours, it offered a “wow” that this neglected room needed.

Now, alarm bells should have rung in my head. There was no way any home project would cost as much as just one sink and involve just one trip to Home Hardware.

In my 48 years, I have learned that home renovation projects always cost 50 per cent more than expected, take five times longer and require more trips to Home Hardware than can ever be guessed at.

Indeed, the sink was too big by just one inch. It fit into the cutout OK, but the two drawers were in the way.

Back to Home Hardware.

Daisy learned that this sink will only fit one vanity stand … and it cost more than the sink. But it was very nice, too, so she bought it.

Alas, the new vanity was smaller than the old one and – surprise – the floor underneath was in hideous disrepair.

Back to Home Hardware.

We found tiles and thinset and grout and a tile cutter.

Oh yeah … I remember now: the tile cutter.

The instructions simply say you should score the surface and then break. I’ve seen more complicated instructions on tubes of toothpaste; and yet, it is an understatement rivalled only by a No Parking sign in an Avalanche Zone.

“Scoring”, apparently, means you must push down on a ruler to keep it from shifting, while rolling this apparatus back and forth a hundred times. My cheeks were sore from grimacing so much … as for my arm, words fail me.

“Breaking” required the faith of a child … and the vocabulary of a sailor when the break shot out in a random direction.

But Daisy had an idea: it required us to go back to Home Hardware.

A replacement wheel sounded different: it crickled as I “scored” each tile. I was at one with the tile and I felt it releasing its integrity along the very line I was scoring. Breaking that first tile allowed me to understand how Skookum Jim must have felt on the shore of Bonanza Creek.

I gladly turned over the floor-laying project to Daisy since I just don’t have that ability.

But it was back to Home Hardware to buy paint, because the old vanity didn’t come off easy.

Back to Home Hardware to buy a new toilet, because, heck, everything else was new.

Back to Home Hardware to buy new baseboards … a rain shower head … a tube of Threadlocker for the toilet seat … water-supply hoses … a drain kit … ceramic tile sealant … sponges (who knew there were so many types of sponges in the world?).

Daisy would not have been surprised if she had walked into the staff room at Home Hardware and saw a coffee cup with her name on it. She had been there so often (she gets an hour for lunch; I get 30 minutes) that they all recognized her.

When she asked for new valves to replace the leaking ones, the kindly salesman in plumbing told her she probably didn’t need them. Just tighten this one nut, here, and that’ll probably do ‘er.

It did.

Pathetically, we rejoiced at saving $20 on our $1,000 renovation of a bathroom that was supposed to cost $200.