While we are renovating the only fully finished bathroom in the house, we have been trying to use it for as long as possible. Living in a construction zone is fun up until a point, that point being when you reach for your toothbrush and realize it’s covered in plaster and drywall dust it’s time to come up with an alternative. Or for instance, when something else unexpected happens.
The unexpected pipe found in this post wasn’t the only unplanned thing that happened during this renovation. The existing tub in the bathroom on the main floor was cast iron. And as I learned, it would be almost impossible to move it along with the wall, in fact the only way to move it at all would be to smash it into tiny pieces. Derek went ahead with the smashing this time. Remember this house had basically been vacant aside from all the hoarded crap that remained inside. This was the most movement that had taken place in this old house for a very long time. Derek had to be careful not to drive directly down on the tub, but there are really only so many ways to sledge hammer a cast iron tub. He managed to break it up very well. Even the small pieces were so heavy to carry. Cast iron is an insane material. The things they put in houses like this one were meant to stay there—forever!
We began carrying out each piece. We used sturdy boxes when we could, being careful not to over fill them and making them more difficult to lift. When we were done I had to pee. Derek said, “By the way I kinda nicked the toilet and a little piece fell off. It’s probably not a big deal, it should be fine.”
Me: “Alright, but it shouldn’t affect it?”
Derek: “No, not likely.” I head into the bathroom and sit down. I didn’t even notice anything I thought to myself. It’s funny sitting here I think, as I can see directly into the spare bedroom. I started calling it the “ensuite bathroom” because you could pass freely through the bathroom and bedroom. Okay. I stand up and flush the toilet. Water begins pouring out from under the seat and I frantically scurry away from the toilet.
“Ahhhhh Derek!” I yell. I run out of the bathroom as water floods out and all I have on are some beat up vans laden with holes.
“What?” he casually responds.
“A little nick?! What happened? There’s water everywhere!” I shout.
“Oh nooo, I didn’t think that would happen,” he says.
I literally cannot be more unamused. We mop up the water and he shows me where the problem is. A fairly large chunk had fallen off from underneath the bowl where the water comes out. I suppose what he meant by “nicked” is he hardly touched the toilet with the sledge as he was maneuvering in the bathroom and a piece of the porcelain came off. We had planned to move the toilet upstairs, downstairs to replace the hundred year old toilet in the basement. Plans change. While there was no working toilet in the basement we had to make due. We duck taped the toilet so that we could still use it, keeping flushing to a minimum. Flushing was for guests only. Ew. Another added expense, although small in comparison to pipe relocation, we went to our local Habitat for Humanity Restore to purchase a used toilet for the basement.
We had the plumber install the toilet downstairs. The floor is pretty rough where the toilet is, it’s basically just a wood floor built on top of the concrete floor and it’s unfinished. The plumber wouldn’t guarantee it’s proper working condition which is unsettling, but it appears to operate as it should. Fingers crossed it continues to do so.
Earlier I said that there is only one fully finished bathroom in the house because that is true. There happens to be a “bathroom” in the basement. But our basement is an unfinished basement and so is it’s bathroom. There has always been a toilet in the basement. One of those toilets that kind of hangs out in the open with no enclosure of any kind. When my grandfather was older he began to enclose and create a second washroom. He never finished. There is now a shower down there, however, the joists are exposed and there was no shower curtain. We used the shower curtain from upstairs and hung it there instead of throwing it out or getting a new one. There is a working sink as well.
So at this point Derek began showering in this space. I couldn’t bring myself to do it, as I have irrational fears of spiders, basements, open cracks I cannot see into and a lack of general cleanliness. Also even though it is getting into spring now, the basement is still pretty chilly. Though Derek has found a solution to the cleanliness factor—flip-flops.
I have just been staying at my parents’ house part-time using their shower and laundry facilities. Derek has his own personal laundry service these days while we also wait to have our “new” washer and dryer (courtesy of Derek’s parents Joanne and Gord) connected. I pick up his laundry and deliver it when it’s ready.
It’s also become a running joke to refer to my parents’ house as “Skrydstrup Grocery”. Because we have been kind of scattered throughout this process. If we have run out of something or forgotten to pick something up we head over to get whatever it is from them. Once I called my mom and she answered “Skrydstrup Grocery, how may I help you?” and she knows me well because I was calling to ask if she had any hummus in stock. I responded in kind saying “What are your hours on Sundays? Will you be open if I stop by in the next 10 minutes?” And so on.
Don’t tell my dad this but sometimes his hoarder tendencies help us out. There is also a Skrydstrup Hardware shop. It’s more like a library though, you can go in a check things out and then return them when you are done. I have found that this is especially useful for gardening supplies as there is always an inordinate amount of gardening tools even though my parents’ backyard is used more for storage these days. Oh well, good for us I guess. It works for the time being.
You have to laugh during these times when things keep going wrong and your mind is on faucets, tiles and bulkheads.
Hope this reminds you to laugh if you’re going through your own renovation hard times. Talk to you later!