Tag Archives: home improvement

The Bathroom Miracle

Right now, there are not one, but two cabinets in my bathroom.  Cabinets with actual doors that close and hide your embarrassing bathroom stuff like dandruff shampoo and tooth whitener and facial hair removal kits.

It’s a fucking epic miracle right in my bathroom.

See, for the past 15 years that we’ve lived in this house, the bathroom has had the original, 1950s sink.  It’s not even a pedestal sink.  It’s just a sink hanging off the wall with all the rusty pipes hanging down like wrinkly balls slipping out of the bottom of some old guy’s too-short shorts.

The sink is tiny and low; it only reached mid-thigh on me and I’m only 5’6.  IT Guy almost had to bend double to wash his face.

The bathroom itself is tiny.  You can sit on the toilet with your hands in the sink and your feet in the tub.  There is no room for anything crazy like cabinets.  We had open shelves on the wall above the toilet to show off all our grooming supplies to anyone who used the bathroom and a rusty old medicine cabinet, but that’s it.  You couldn’t even store an extra roll of toilet paper in the bathroom.  If you were unfortunate enough to run out of toilet paper at a crucial moment, you would have to yell for someone else in the house to come to your rescue by retrieving a new roll from the hall closet and delivering it to the bathroom.  If you were really unfortunate and ran out of toilet paper when no one else was at home, you had to do the penguin waddle of the toilet paperless with your pants around  your ankles to the hall closet yourself.

But no more, friends!  No MORE!

Maybe my New Year’s resolution to focus on abundance and fixing up what I already have instead of being stuck on what I don’t is working.  All I can say is that in one afternoon we fixed one of the things I have always hated about this house.

On Saturday morning, we went to Home Depot to get new switch plates and outlet covers for our newly painted living room.  While we were there, I noticed a big display of bathroom sinks and cabinets in the front of the store.  Home Depot is having a big bathroom remodel sale.  I’ve been looking for a sink with a cabinet that would fit our tiny space for a long time.  It’s only 27″ from the wall to the toilet and most sink cabinets are 30″ wide.  If they are smaller, they tend to be pedestal sinks or look like they belong in an RV.  But today I spotted one in the display that was actually pretty and it looked like it was about the right size.  I took a picture of it and then came home to compare the measurements with the space.  I was astounded to realize that it would actually fit.  AND it was on sale for almost 50% off it’s original price!  I could actually almost afford it!

IT Guy and I went back today and bought it.  Then we bought a matching wall cabinet, a new medicine cabinet and a new light fixture, for good measure.  I was almost skipping from excitement as we left the store.

It was 3pm in the afternoon, though, and I realized, sensibly, that we probably wouldn’t be able to install the sink right away.  It would probably be sensible to wait until next weekend.  Right?

IT Guy wasn’t up for sensible.  Once we got home and he determined we didn’t need a sledgehammer to get the old sink off the wall, we got to work.  I was so excited that I wanted to disconnect the plumbing and pull the old sink off the wall myself.

Look at me plumbing and stuff!

24/365

The old sink is now decorating my yard in homage to my West Virginia heritage

We had a few snafus and had to take a second trip to Home Depot (seriously, is it even possible to do a home improvement project without at least two trips to Home Depot?) but by 10pm tonight, I had a new sink with a cabinet and a new wall cabinet in my bathroom.

Miracle.  A fucking miracle.

My toilet paper has a home.

Sometimes it really is the little things in life that make all the difference.

At the bottom of a paint can

I’m sorry, dear readers.  I didn’t intend to take a blogging hiatus, but I’ve literally been at the bottom of a paint can since Thursday.

I had this great idea for my New Year’s resolution.  Instead of focusing on what I don’t have and what’s not working, I’m going to focus on what I do have and taking care of it.  I decided to think about the word “abundance” and to try and see all the abundance of my life.

Part of that is taking care of the things I already have.  Instead of complaining about my messy, broken down house, for example, I resolved to start fixing things – maybe just little things – one at a time.  I started by taking the mantel clock in for repair.  I have a lovely mantel clock that used to be my mother’s clock.  I love the chimes.  It hasn’t been working for, oh, 5 years or so.  It has just sat in the center of my mantel in the center of my living room in the center of my house – not telling time, not moving, not chiming.

I looked at it and thought, “How can I expect my life to get unstuck when I literally have a stopped clock as the centerpiece of my house?”  I took the clock in for repair.

Then I bought a new futon cover to replace the old, stained one on the basement futon.

Then I looked at the paint in the living room (and hallway and stairwell and upstairs hallway.)  It hadn’t been repainted in almost 15 years.  The walls were pock marked, scratched, scuffed and dented.  The paint was dull and dingy.  It was time to do something about it.  I was resolved!

I was also clueless.  I don’t know if painting a house is like childbirth where you forget how bad it is the second it’s over (because if you didn’t forget, you’d never have another baby or paint your house again.)  That must be it.  It’s the only explanation.

I mean, I knew I would have a couple days of hard work ahead of me, but, really, I was clueless. I thought we’d be done by Monday – or maybe I’d just have some trim to finish. Nothing major.

HAH!

First, there was two days of trying to pick just the right paint.  I’m so bad at those kinds of decisions.  Then it took me 5 hours just to wash the walls because they were so dirty.  Then the spackling and the patching and the sanding.  The sanding made a god awful mess and I had to wash the walls again.

I really wanted to quit, but I couldn’t because I had done this

Subtle

and this

9/365 - the weekend's chore

to ensure that I wouldn’t quit. (I know myself very well.)

There was nowhere to go but forward, so we forged ahead, IT Guy and I, our paintbrushes and rollers in hand.

Saturday, we painted until well past midnight.

365/10 Now, that's a light!

Sunday, my mom and John came to help.  My kids wanted to help, too.  They all helped prime the walls, but then it became clear that the best way my mom could help would be to take my children away to her house.  So she did and IT Guy and I painted well past midnight on Sunday.

The first coat looked streaked and blotchy. “Let it dry,” said IT Guy.

(See the blotchy?)

The walls were still streaked and blotchy on Monday morning to my utter dismay.

IT Guy had to go to work, so I was on my own for the second coat.  I admit that I cried at this point, but then I painted.  I painted for 8 hours then I had to go teach dance.

My mom and John returned with the kids and with IT Guy’s help, they painted all the door trim and baseboards, but didn’t finish.

Tuesday, I still had to paint.  I had to do all the windows and doors. (Note: I have a small house, a house small enough that it has no business having this many doors. 9 doors!  My next house will have no doors.  None.)  It was sometime during this day that I accidentally painted the dog.  I’m actually impressed I made it 4 days before I got paint on Penny.

I finally finished at 3pm.

47 hours of painting time in 4 days.

I’m exhausted. My knees, back, neck, right elbow and wrist are aching.

But it looks great.

See?

From this:

To this:

It really does look so much better.  The house feels refreshed and clean.  Hopefully, it will last 15 years or so because that’s how long it’s going to take me to recover from this little home improvement project.

On the other hand, my bedroom really needs to be painted and so does the kid’s bathroom. Oh, and the downstairs bathroom really needs a major makeover. .  . . .

Why couldn’t I have picked “Wallow in Sloth” as a New Year’s Resolution?