Chapter Two of the Bathroom Renovation


This was written around the time the work was going on, and is an adaptation from something written for a different audience, so there will be a few odd references, and the date will be incorrect–Ed.

The day after I wrote my last post about the renovation, I went to Home Depot and found my wallpaper border in a book labelled “New!” and the book did look new, too. So I think I didn’t find it on the Waverly site because it was too new, not because it was discontinued, which is a relief. I didn’t really want to buy it until the cabinets were in and I could figure out exactly how I wanted to use it. That same day at Home Depot I ordered the cabinets. The sink base and the cabinet over the toilet are from the bathroom part of the line, and are coming towards the end of this month. The two linen cabinets are from the kitchen part of the line, and won’t be coming until March 22–but they will be delivered directly to the house. I went with kitchen cabinets because they were bigger than the linen cabinets in the bathroom part of the line.

I also got a gallon of paint tinted to match the background of the border for the walls. The scary thing is, when I look at the paint color by itself, I think I would never pick that color to paint walls if I just saw it on a chip. Yet every time I hold the wallpaper sample up to it, it does match. So I am just trusting that it will look all right on the walls. I don’t believe myself to have the best instincts when it comes to color, though I think I’ve come a long way since I’ve started gardening. You do start thinking about color more, and discovering that colors that you don’t like in and of themselves, you do like when they’re next to certain other colors.

It seems I can never buy anything the first time I see it. I also looked at towel bars, toilet paper holders (which are called bathroom tissue dispensers), etc., while I was there, but it wasn’t until I looked at them in several other stores last Friday that I decided the ones I saw at Home Depot were the ones I wanted to get. So it will be back to Home Depot once again, probably on the day I have my ultrasound (yes, I have another one scheduled, and hopefully it will answer The Question) or on the day I have a consult with the obstetrician who backs up my doctor. I will also have to go back to those stores I visited on Friday and purchase a few small things. The one thing I haven’t found yet that I could be happy with is toothbrush holders. It’s a small thing, but we do need four of them, and we have gone through a succession of them in our present bathroom. I don’t want the ones that have cupholders, because we don’t use the cupholder part. I don’t want the ceramic ones because they would break in no time flat, plus they take up an inordinate amount of counter space. I don’t want any type where you can’t wash out the bottom of the holder, where all the drips fall. And I have found out the hard way that you even have to pay attention to the shape of the holes that the handles of the toothbrushes go through. We currently have two holders whose holes are rectangular, and all the new-fangled toothbrushes have round or oval handles, and just don’t go down into the rectangular holes. By the time all those criteria are met, the selection is pretty slim; at some stores it’s non-existent.

Last Saturday was supposed to be our last day to do wash, but we wound up going well into Sunday. By the time the washer and dryer were moved out, it was after supper, and Rundy was up rather late doing the demolition. We had the entrance to the former laundry room taped over with a big sheet of plastic, and as Rundy tore lath, plaster, etc. off the walls and ceiling, he would fill up a garbage can and pass it out the window to Lachlan, who would then toss it into the dumpster. Unfortunately for Lachlan, it was raining that night, and he was sopping wet, even wearing a raincoat, after garbage duty. For February, the weather could have been a lot worse.

Kevin, Ivan’s brother, arrived Monday morning right on schedule, despite the fact that all that rain froze overnight and made driving treacherous. A good part of that day was spent looking over the skeleton of the room and solving various puzzles, like exactly where the toilet would come through the floor, how to vent the fan to the outdoors, and what heating ductwork needed to be repositioned. Our house has a post-and-beam structure, and often where you would think studs would be, instead you find rough sawn planks (some still with the bark on) that were used to support the lath and plaster. These planks are very wide but more shallow than a 2×4, too shallow to attach electical boxes to. So most of the room has to be reframed with 2x4s, or at least built up to that depth. A start was made on that.

Today, they fixed several joists in the ceiling that were sort of hanging there, so that they actually did support the 2nd floor again. They put in some of the electrical boxes, though not the wiring, and hung the door and attached the doorknob. Kevin also sawed the new hole for the relocated heat duct. But in the middle of this, they stopped to replace the kitchen faucet, which decided to fail beyond repair the night before. And our new hot water heater came today.

Meanwhile, I had to get up early today and travel 25 miles to the hospital lab to get blood drawn in preparation for my rhogam shot. I spent the rest of the morning at home, wandering around aimlessly, trying to remember what I would be doing if it were a normal day. The freezer is now the kitchen table, and there are tools parked on the floor as well as an outside garbage can. The living room was in greater than normal disarray, because it shares a wall with the new bathroom and is getting a new outlet as the bathroom is wired, so furniture was pulled away from the wall to place the outlet. The dining room was piled with stuff that should have been somewhere else but couldn’t be, because . . . lots of reasons. I felt like the dove released by Noah that came back to the ark because she found no place to roost.

About 1:30 I went back to the hospital to get the actual shot, this time with Arlan, who availed himself of the chance to practice his driving skills. The parking lot I had used that morning was now full, so we probably spent 15 minutes finding a place to park. Of course that was about as far away from the end of the hospital I needed to be in as was possible, so we walked what seemed like a mile of labyrinthine corridors to get to the place, plus the usual waiting room wait–all for a prick in the hip that took less than ten seconds. From there we had to travel another 25 miles to the Psych Center, to pick up dental insurance forms that I had forgotten to ask Ivan to get while he was at work last week, and then, finally, to the oral surgeon’s office, where Arlan had a consultation regarding his wisdom teeth. Fortunately, Cadie was cooking supper, so all’s I had to do was make it home in one piece.

Next week, I have appointments on Monday and Tuesday, and I take Collin and Evan to the dentist on Thursday. Sometime soon, I will be taking all the little kids to Grandma Purdy’s on the day the old toilet gets disconnected and the new one connected. Hopefully I’ll get a pile of laundry done there as well. No one said it would be easy, and I guess I’m glad we’re doing it now instead of after the baby’s birth, but I do feel discombobulated. I keep making lists in an effort to hang on to my (normal?) life, although more and more I think I will be using them as an archaeologist uses his excavated artifacts, as a way of reconstructing a former way of life, long since buried under dust and rubble.

,