Talking Tile

Random person laying tile down
Random person laying tile down

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you might recall the flood back in September that ruined our finished basement when my in-laws were visiting.

With all the mold and other nastiness, we just couldn’t leave it.

The contractors we hired to get rid of the flood waters back then dittoed our sentiments.

They recommended we take out the berber carpet and lay something else down, and warned against carpet because we could find ourselves in a similar situation once again.

But with my husband in business school and both of us working, we’ve not touched the basement.

Until now.

This weekend marked three years since we bought our house, so it was almost funny in a way that we found ourselves doing a major home renovation this very weekend, three years later.

After doing research, we opted to tile the basement. Neither of us had ever tiled before. A good friend helped my husband get started, and then I pitched in later on.

Before you tile, you need to lay down mortar, which holds the tile in place and seals it into the floor. Because we were working on an old concrete basement floor, my husband had made sure he got the best stuff Home Depot sells,  stuff that allows the tile to have a bit of flexibility — but will keep them in place.

When laying down tile, you need to place it lightly at first, center it on the mortar, then push and wiggle a little until it’s properly aligned.

As I laid the tile, I couldn’t help but think of how symbolic it was of recovery. 

First of all, it takes a looooong time. Anyone who has tiled before knows it’s at least a week or two of a process. Those who love instant gratification (i.e., me!) certainly will need to exhibit patience as they begin a project like this.

Second, you might have all the desire in the world to lie a perfect line of tiles (“be recovered”), but you need to allow for some “wiggle room,” til each tile is laid just right (“the path of recovery”), using the little spacers as guidelines.

Third, if you get stressed at the process and push too hard, the tile could crack. (“a blip on the radar, a setback”)

Within time, the mortar will seal it into place (“positive habits vs. unhealthy one”s) — but it’s important to note there is some time in between sealing it and wiggling it into place:  time where you can “fix it” if you take control and actually do it.

I don’t know if this analogy will make sense to anyone else, but it really resonated with me this past weekend.

The floor is only about a third of the way done as I blog this post today. We have to finish the rest over the 4th of July weekend. Then we can put grout down, and then we’ll have a tiled basement, which will hopefully help us when we get the house reappraised.

It feels good to do something nice for our home, but also to see the bigger picture of a project like this.

I know my own “floor” was riddled with cracks, but I do feel like each day I’m getting closer and closer to a better-aligned floor, settled deeper into the “mortar,” the foundation of healthy habits.

How about you? Have you ever tiled or completed a really big house project?


5 thoughts on “Talking Tile

  1. This metaphor really resonates with me. I only wish others could understand it in the same way. I relate it to my recovery in that it was NOT something that could happen over a few day, weeks or even months. It’s a slow, long process, and that’s the only way it will turn out right.

  2. Great metaphor – love it! And I can’t believe you have been in that house for 3 years already btw!! Time flies…


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