Wednesday, November 28, 2012

All Day Long

Somewhere in the world there are houses in which people decide to fix something and it takes only a little while and everything goes perfectly.  My house is not one of those houses.  But really, where's the fun in that?

Last Saturday Charlie and I decided to replace the yucky vanity in the back bathroom with a nice new one.  He said, "You know this is gonna take all day long."  I said, "I know, but finding out why it will take all day is the joy of it."

I already knew that the shut-offs under the sink don't really shut off the water, but Charlie wanted to find this out for himself.  I may have mentioned once or twice that my bathroom is 39 inches wide.  The old vanity was 18" deep.  That meant that my 6'2", 200-lb. guy had about 21 inches of space in which to work.  (By the way, I really, really wanted to get a photo of him wedged in between the wall and the vanity with his head stuck under it but he threatened to never again make me fried taters, so I put the camera away.)

The shut-offs proved themselves a miserable failure again, so we headed down to the basement to look for the main shut-off to the house.  By "headed down to the basement" I mean of course that we corralled the animals in the bedroom under fierce protest, hooked the rope of cotton clothesline to the basement trapdoor, and then used the boat winch bolted to the wall to crank the door open.

We walked down the steps and..."Oh dear God, what is that stench?!" I squealed.  Charlie had his hoodie over his nose and mouth.  "Dead rat, I think," he said.  We looked all over the basement for it and couldn't find it.  I'm sure it's back in the dark recesses of the dirt crawlspace somewhere. I sprayed Febreze around down in there, and I can tell you that those commercials for Febreze where the people are surrounded by nastiness and cooing about open meadows are a dirty lie.  Anyhow, we found two water shut-offs.  One of them leads to the outdoor spigot and the other looks like it leads to the other outdoor spigot but actually seems to serve no purpose at all.  So we went outside and shut the water off at the meter.  I earned the daggers look from Charlie by saying, "Please don't drop my channel locks down in there".

Then we came in the house, shut the basement door, let the animals out, and went to the hardware store to buy new shut-offs.  When we came home, we found this:

Louis evidently has some psychic connection with the sink which causes him to know immediately when the water's off and makes him believe he will die of thirst before it's back on.  He could just get a drink out of the giant water bowl in the laundry room, but the water's colder and tastes better right out of the tap.  He sat in the sink patiently waiting for the water to be turned back on.

Meanwhile, Charlie tore out the old vanity, threw it out into the yard (it broke into pieces when it hit the ground), and then asked me if I have a crescent wrench.  I do not.  Apparently that's something you really need when you're working on plumbing.  He called WTB to ask if we could borrow one, but he wasn't home, so we borrowed one from his aunt across town.  By now, it was lunchtime so we ate and then Charlie replaced the shut-offs.

Now we know what's under the
vinyl flooring:  plywood subfloor
He pointed out that right then would be a good time to put up another strip of beadboard wallpaper, since nothing was in my way.  So I cut the strip of paper and turned on the kitchen faucet so I could use the sink as a wallpaper tray.  And no water came out, because of course the water was still shut off.  Duh.  Charlie went out to the meter and turned it back on, I filled the sink and hung the paper, and Louis got his drink.

After that, Charlie carried the new vanity into the bathroom, attached it to the wall, and discovered that the old trap kit wouldn't work.  (I don't know exactly why--it was too long or too short or something.)  We made another trip to the hardware store.  On the way there, Charlie asked me where the new faucet was.  I said something intelligent like, "Ummmm..." and Charlie said, "How did you forget to buy a new faucet?"  Which is a really good question and one I wish I knew the answer to.  I had my little heart set on a faucet with an oil-rubbed bronze finish and the only one the hardware store had was really expensive, so we had to make a 40-minute trip (one way) to a big box store to get one.

It took hours longer than it probably should have, but at the end of the day I had this:

A pretty vanity that's standard height.  (Esther, the previous owner, was 4'11" so the old vanity had been cut down for her.)  Also, a faucet that doesn't drip, a sink that holds water, a pipe that's not clogged, and shut-offs that work.  I also have a wee bit less floor to stencil, since this vanity is a little larger than the old one.


  1. Looking good. I really like the stenciled vinyl that you are doing. I am thinking of stenciling something, most likely words, on the stair risers to the basement. Still thinking about it.

  2. The vanity/sink/faucet, I meant. Louis is extra beautiful.

  3. Nice! It's hard to believe that's the same bathroom!

  4. Chelle, I wish I had stairs so I could do that! I found several photos of words on stair risers on Pinterest.

    Karen Anne, Thanks, I think Louis is extra beautiful too. :)

    Milah, I found a pic of what the bathroom looked like when I moved in. When I finish the bathroom, I'll post it as a before-and-after.

  5. You always crack me up. Poor Louis. Making him suffer so.

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  7. I laughed out loud at your crescent wrench conversation. I had that exact conversation with one of my friends immediately after returning from the hardware store when he helped me fix my kitchen sink. He found it unbelievable I didn't have one.