The Shower!

It’s a lovely shower.

We did it.  We got it installed.

I have always read these types of handles as BUT rather than TUB.

More photos someday, maybe when we figure out what color we actually want for the walls.


Small Improvements: Bathroom Sink Faucet

Small improvements — that’s all we can hope to make over a weekend (or two).

The old faucet and drain (hell) hole.

So I went out and bought a cheap faucet.  I know it’s not a good idea to buy cheap plumbing fixtures, but…  I’ll leave it at that.

There is a lot to spend money on right now, and I wasn’t interested in making a permanent decision for the sink/vanity area.  And it’s not like it was really, really cheap.  It was Price Pfister, so it’s about as cheap as you can get while still having a recognizable name.  (It has a plastic drain assembly. PLASTIC.)

The first thing you need is to make sure you have tools.  Not just any tools, but the right tools.  And maybe some help.

Meet Sam, plumber’s helper.

According to the enclosed instructions, the average estimated time for installing this lavatory faucet is 60 minutes. This does not include the time to remove the old faucet.  “This estimated time will vary depending on many variables such as the install application, the skill level of the installer, the type of plumbing, the type of tools used, etc.”  Considering my skill level was nil, the types of tools were questionable (“honey, do we have a really big wrench for removing the drain?”), and because of my special helper, I expected this project to take at least 360 minutes.

We spent a lot of time not getting things done.

And it just might have.

The new faucet (and drainstopper!).

(There are various tips I can provide, such as: if the guy at the hardware store hands you a tub of plumber’s putty, make sure it works with the materials in your faucet, such as, PLASTIC.  If not, you’ll inevitably call around to your friends looking for the right caulking to borrow.  (Particular young guy at hardware store doesn’t like his job, I imagine. Find one of the older gentlemen there instead.) Also, sometimes there just isn’t the clearance behind the sink for the drain assembly levers and pulleys and all those little gizmos that make it work, so you’ll end up purposely gouging a hole in the wall beneath your sink so the lever can operate (somewhat) smoothly. Oh and, what the hell? How do big ol’ men with big ol’ hands and big ol’ fingers actually do this easily? I imagine they have craftier tools than our wimpy pliers and wrenches.  Also, if you find yourself holding the flashlight in your mouth while wedged under the sink trying to tighten a nut with said wimpy pliers? Get a better flashlight that can stand independently as a lantern. Thank goodness I finished this project a couple months ago. I’m not sure I could fit my belly under there these days.)


Upstairs Bathroom (Prologue to the Shower Chronicles)

I drew a diagram.  You see, I might be good with words here, but put me in front of a stranger, or even a friend, anyone that is not related to me by blood or marriage, and I start to sweat, my heart starts pounding, I make too many jokes, and my point is far lost.

(Working from home is the ideal situation for someone like me, but it does nothing to improve this condition.)

We will be ordering fixtures for our bathtub soon, so I am posting this diagram here to show to the plumbing folks (hi plumbing folks!).

Free diagramming tool courtesy of As much as I say otherwise, I do love the internet. (Has anyone else noticed how customized advertising is these days? If I look at sheets at Lands End's web site, I see Lands End sheet ads on every site for the next week. Makes me want to disable my cookies and crawl into the closet for the next decade. Or at least disconnect.)

We will be ordering a shower assembly — a nice one, good quality — so that we no longer have to take showers in my tiny office bathroom off the back porch.  (Brrr.)

Notes and questions to consider:

1) The bathtub is far from the walls (side of tub is approx 20 inches from wall).  The faucets are in the center of the room.  We will not be able to attach the riser to the wall. The riser must be attached to the shower ring, which needs to be supported by ceiling supports only.

(Proof that I sometimes have difficulty with words over the phone — I was asked by a plumbing company if I could turn the bathtub around so that the faucets were near the wall. Uhhhh… what? I better draw a picture.)

We're not turning it around.

2) The room has a sloped ceiling on the other side of the tub (non-faucet side).  The angle of the ceiling is such that a 58″ oval shower ring will not fit at 60″ high.  We don’t particularly want a round shower ring because we think it would feel too small — can the oval rings be cut to a custom size?

3) Do  you think we need new waste, overflow, or supply lines?  Our supply lines bring hot water to the right faucet and cold water to the left faucet. We can switch the handles, right? Will our children be forever damaged by reversed handles?

Our gorgeous supply lines. Note the block of wood wedged between the pipes presumably to prevent rattling. Old school.

Updated March 19 to add this photo of the faucets and drain.

Our current faucet situation. It's noisy, but makes an awesome bubble bath.

Upstairs Bathroom (We Wait)


The Upstairs Bathroom

I don’t know what to say.  There are a bazillion things we could do with this space, but we … we are tired. We’ve lost inspiration. We’ve lost the will to pick out a paint color, to dream about toilet seats, to figure out what furniture we can put in here to store our towels and sundries.

Instead, we’ve turned this into a home for our geriatric cat, Kesey.  There are a few disadvantages: we tend to ignore the litter box; we tend to ignore Kesey; we tend to freak out when the kids leave the door open and Kesey escapes because how are we ever going to get him back in there and please Booker, stop torturing the poor cat! (Also, I no longer care to decorate or even unpack that last box from the move.)

Now, at least, there are many advantages.  Kesey no longer poops or pees in the rest of the house.  This means we are no longer racing Booker to see who can pick up the poop first (us with toilet paper in one hand and Clorox wipe in the other; Booker with his mouth at the ready), and we are no longer nervous when we leave an article of clothing (or a backpack, or a pile of shoes) on the floor.  Kesey’s anxiety-caused vomiting is rare.  Booker can’t chase the weak and tired clawless cat, and Zeppo, king of all cats (in his mind), no longer picks on the old man.

The best of all is that Kesey comes to us full of crazy purrs whenever we need to go pee.

[OK, OK, we do have some plans for the bathroom, the first of which is to buy the hardware to add a shower to the bathtub. Won’t it be lovely? A shower in the middle of the room? Our only shower at the moment is in the unheated bathroom in the addition off the back porch, which means we have to undress and dress in the cold, or at least traverse the cold back porch in our towel to get back to the house.  And seriously? I would love to take a bath. It looks really, really relaxing. Please come over and change the cat litter and clean out the tub and when you leave, take the kids with you.  Then I can take a bath.  On second thought, never mind, just come take the kids. Forget the bath; I’ll just sit here and stare.]