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From now until November 30, 2008, stay at Quintet and get every 2nd night 50% off.  Give us a try!

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I’ve always liked stand-alone clawfoot bathtubs, and now I get a chance to own four of them!  Since the bathrooms aren’t big enough to have both a tub and a shower stall (a glass shower stall probably doesn’t fit the house anyways), we needed to also outfit the tub with shower curtains.  Simple, right?  Normally, a tub in a modern house/apartment is tucked in between two walls, so all you need is a straight rod and you’re done.  In our case, the free standing tubs needed L-shaped rod since there’s no wall on one end.  Thus began my endless quest for that perfect L-shaped rod.

The construction guy first put up some some white paint-coated aluminum tubes with a right angle connector, but the corner was too sharp that the curtain couldn’t really make the turn smoothly.  Also without a vertical support, the rod was droopy and would fall off eventually.  I went on-line to see what Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware were selling and discovered that their designs, while good looking, were very unusable — you’d need a vertical rod that is affixed to the ceiling to support the L-shape, which means you can’t pull the curtain all the way through.  Nowhere in their product descriptions did they explain how you’re supposed to cope with that problem.  However, in several of the L-shape curtain rod discussions I found on-line (yes, you can find anything discussed on-line!) said that you need a vertical support or the rod will invariably droop down the road.  I was then convinced the only way to do that is to make use of a railing with under-track (normally used with fabric curtains) and run a wire through above the track for vertical support.  Quickly, these new under-tracks were ordered and nailed to the wood strips on the bathroom wall, and then we found out that the ceilings were too weak to hold up the support wires; without the support wires, the under-tracks cannot hold up the weight of the curtains.  As a result, these 2nd batch of rods dangled in mid-air for another few weeks.

Finally, I found on taobao.com, the eBay of China, that there’s a manufacturer in nearby Zhejiang province who can custom make steel rods.  To be on the cautious side, I ordered one first to see if this version would work.  Initially, the construction guys looked at the 6cm expansion nails that needed to go into the walls and said that the old mud’n’straw walls cannot support the nails.  I kept pressing them to come up other solutions, and finally the construction boss said he’ll try to find 12cm nails and maybe those can hit the bricks deep inside the walls.  I ignored the uncertainty in his tone and boldly went back to order more curtains rods.  This is how things work here — you need to leave them with no ifs and buts and they’d magically find a way to do it.

When these 3rd generation rods were nicely secured on the walls with those super long nails, I almost cried out of joy.  They don’t even need vertical support rods!  Even the construction boss admitted that it was a lot better looking than the previous two versions (these guys normally have NO sense of esthetics).  Before this struggle to find the perfect rod, I always deferred to Don or the construction guys for finding solutions.  Now I do feel that I am the owner of this house and I have control over its destiny. 

The construction was supposed to be done by 7/20 but by 8/1, it didn’t look like it was anywhere near finished.  I have to admit that I’ve been in La La Land and thought somehow things will just finish by themselves.  So I cracked my whip for the first time and threatened the crew to have the rooms be ready for furniture delivery by 8/9 or else.  I also made an project open item list to keep track of everything to bring up to the construction boss.  For the entire week, I never saw the crew worked harder.  The fabrics were put up on the walls, wooden floors were sanded, and walls were painted.  The place was buzzing with machines, people — the way it should’ve been last month.  And then I went to work on scheduling the different deliveries — first the bed frames and desks, then the antique tables and chairs, the mattresses and the appliances, and then finally the bedding and curtains.  Some of the items were so big and heavy that I swore that they were to never leave this house again!  There were even sweat marks on the hallway walls to prove how gruelling moving stuff up the narrow staircase was.

There were more things to buy and get into the house.  Trash cans, teapots, cleaning supplies, trays and boxes, LCD TVs, DVD players, satellite boxes, arghhh~  standard items are easier to find, while deco items are scattered and harder to find, since we wanted stuff that bring in some Chinese elements but also work with the art deco styles of the house.  Don cautioned against Chinese-kitch.

Short-term goal is to get the rooms into a photo-ready state so we can finish the website!