Little did I expect, almost three months ago, that an occupational therapist’s simple suggestion to have safety grab bars installed in my bathroom, would lead to a search rivaling that for the elusive Titanic in the middle of the North Atlantic.
My specific needs were straight forward and simple: two 18” bars mounted on tile in the shower and one bar located on drywall next to the commode. At this point you’re probably thinking - How difficult can it be to find someone with basic mechanical skills to drill some holes and securely anchor the bars to the tile/drywall? For a brief moment, I was even tempted to have a go at it myself until I realized that a power drill in my wobbly hands could turn into a lethal weapon. So I decided to do my bit to stimulate the economy and hire a local tradesperson.
First, I turned to the carpenter doing our modest remodeling who agreed and even bought a special drill bit to do the job. After a half hour of trying to drill one hole, he gave up and called in Mr. Grab Bar for consultation. This specialist took one look at the job and concluded the reason the drill wasn’t working was because they used the same thicker floor tile on the walls and any further attempt to drill might result in the tile cracking. Even though we eventually found that claim to be false, my carpenter asked not to continue the installation.
I next searched online and in the local Yellow Pages where I was surprised to find how many snappy company names my search would find, names like: Mr. Grab Bar, the Grab Bar Guy, and Get a Grip, along with the more mundane sounding, Grab Bar Specialists. With all those installers to choose from, my search should soon be over. That was over a month ago. Meanwhile, I'm still depending on the-none-too-reliable suction cup number that may loosen and unceremoniously deposit me on the shower floor.
The Grab Bar installation business must really be booming because most of the companies took my recorded inquiry but never bothered to call back. Fran and I also visited a kitchen/bath showroom which seemed promising until they planned to charge us what I’m sure what was one month’s building rent for the job.
Before total surrender, I decided to try Mr. Grab Bar’s nationwide 800 number where I spoke to a friendly young lady who assured me a local representative would call me shortly with more information. Sure enough, a different local Mr. Grab Bar called and an appointment to install the bars has been set for May 1st. Now let’s hope Mrs. Grab Bar doesn’t plan something else for that day. Keep your fingers crossed!
Update: 5/2/11 Success! Mr. Grab Bar (Chris) arrived on schedule today and successfully installed a total of four permanent grab bars; three in the shower area and one near the commode. Problems with the thick tile were avoided by drilling the anchor holes into the grout lines between tiles. The bars are super strong and make showering much safer. The suction cup bars I had been using were in the trash by day's end.