It all starts so innocently: “I bought a new faucet for the guest bath,” Laura said. And I had vowed to start finishing more projects.
We have the world’s smallest guest bathroom. It’s off the landing on the way to the basement and it used to be a closet. It’s 2 1/2 by 5 feet. Yep, that’s 12 1/2 square feet. It has a ten foot ceiling though. We need two bathrooms in the house, so we have to keep it. I call it the punishment bathroom. It had very strange foil wallpaper, made up of images from antique soap boxes. I understand antique soap ads in a bathroom, and I’ll even agree that foil wallpaper has its place. But the two together, well, at least you had the toilet there in case the nausea was overwhelming.
Speaking of the toilet, it was crammed so far in to the wall that you couldn’t clean behind it. Given that it was there starting ca. 1988 (it had a date stamped in the tank) and given that we have two boys, a certain urinary aroma has lived in there for awhile.
I write this all in the past tense, because it is all gone as of today. You see, installing a new faucet meant drilling a new hole in the counter. (The countertop’s color and texture, by the way, could be best described as albino elephant’s ass.) Sure, why not, I thought. I don’t start classes for a couple days, I can do a couple of household projects. It was mother’s day too, so I felt obligated. Turns out, when I got the hole saw about halfway through the countertop, the entire underside blew out in an avalanche of rotten soggy particle board.
So the next thing I knew, I was headed to Menard’s to find a new countertop to cut. I’ve had a new toilet sitting in the garage for awhile to install there too, so I thought I would install that as well.
I started thinking of what the result would be on the way home. When I pulled in the driveway, I said no, quite clearly. I’m not going to start another project only to do a half-ass job and leave it halfway completed, in a “just for now” state for the next five years. I have a beautiful kitchen that I totally remodeled and only have to finish the trim and paint and that’s been that way for four years. In our other bathroom, I installed a new toilet and pedestal sink and some stick-on floor tiles (just for now) and the walls are half torn apart and that’s been that way for a couple years.
So I went into the house and told my wife that we’re going to be doing this the right way, start to finish. And now I’ve torn out just about everything and tomorrow will have to tear out the floor as well: it’s several layers of just-for-now stick on tile that someone else put there and then decided to paint over it with a 1980’s peach color. After a serious water issue last summer, the subfloor is rotting.
Today I pulled out all the trim, wallpaper, and the toilet. Tomorrow, the floor. And I’ve managed to keep up with my work as well. The bathroom is small enough so jobs don’t get too tedious. Doing physical work in a focused way is also good brain therapy. It seems easier to switch to teaching work. This disgusting bathroom is a blessing.