Monday, 7 January 2013

Toilet Talk

I promise this is not about throwing up or pregnancy related.

At least not completely.

our home sweet home
(the white door in the middle)

When we settled on this house as 'The One.' We were considering its location, general upkeep, size, room placement, garden placement, proximity to transportation, room for improvement, etc.  It has new windows, a new roof, new boiler, damp-proofing: all big investments we didn't have to make.  Perfect.

However, it also has a kitchen and bathroom that haven't been touched since the 70s, a different off-white or tan carpet in each room, potentially dodgy electrics, and textured wallpaper, too-short blinds (visible in the above photo) and faux fireplace in the living room.

These things didn't bother us too much (with the exception of the dodgy wiring).  We get a chance to make it our own space.

As our schedule was a bit tight, we planned to move into the house as it stood and make plans after living in the space for awhile.

This sounds great in theory.  In practice, I was newly pregnant, sick as a dog and squatting in someone else's house.  Or so it felt to me.  It was our furniture but I was staring at, and living with, a stranger's questionable design choices.  The bathroom alone was enough to make me sick without the help of hormones.

avocado with a side of cork

I decided pretty quickly that the bathroom was going to the top of our list of projects.  This decision might have been slightly influenced by the abnormal amount of time I spent with dear Kermit here but there are other contributing factors to back up my prioritizing.

Let me take you on a short tour of this peculiarity.  Hang onto your hats.

Hello, my name is Cork. 

The 'Romantic Roman Ruins' tiling really classes up the joint.

The wood panelling pulls the room together. 

Before you say, "It's not soooo bad."  I would like to inform you that the box on the wall is the alleged 'power shower.'  It's gravity fed (read: campground shower trickle), choked with 30 years of limescale, and took us a month to figure out how to get the water to reach a barely acceptable temperature above freezing.

It was so painful, I took baths for the first month.  I would sit huddled in the water like a child, splashing water over my body in order to rinse and trying to see the humour of the situation instead of crying uncontrollably.  I contemplated getting one of those white 'granny' attachments for the bath taps to at least get some semblance of pressure and heat but I couldn't find one with a long enough hose.  I started bathing every other day in an attempt to avoid the pep talk I needed every morning to face the bathroom.

Pete bravely stuck it out.  Facing bracing showers at 5am with no complaint (although we did move a portable heater into the room in an attempt to produce an environment that would live up to the sauna-like interior.  It didn't work.), it was Pete who finally discovered how to finesse some warmth out of the water.

It still has no pressure and is situated in such a way as to necessitate a slight back bend in order to really use it properly.  I don't need to tell you that at almost 25 weeks pregnant, back bends are becoming increasingly more impossible.

However, lest you think it's all misery, the wall opposite the shower features an enormous mirror so you can watch yourself shiver and wriggle.  Comic relief built right in.

I show you this now because we are in the midst of collecting estimates on the remodel.  We have the design sorted and have the fixtures picked out and on hold.  With any luck, when it's done it will be the nicest room in the house.

And before you ask, we didn't contemplate DIY.  I'm pregnant and Pete works in an office with computers. My father-in-law is a builder but he's in New Zealand and the skill isn't genetically transferable.  My father builds theatrical sets but he's in Cleveland and we need this to hold for a bit longer than your average two week run.  So we are hiring people in to do the dirty work.  We are not ashamed.

While hiring someone in instead of doing it ourselves will provide less fodder for funny/ridiculous/incredulous anecdotes, it will hopefully save our sanity.  In a relatively short amount of time we will be at the end of our sanity ropes and up to our necks in diapers and despair so cutting down on the craziness can only be for the good.

It will also be really nice to take a proper shower on the rare occasion I find the time.


  1. I forbid you from feeling guilty for even one minute about hiring someone to do your bathroom. I'm not pregnant, Nye is practical and I was still hire someone to do everything in the house in a hot minute if I could afford to. Fuck DIY.

    (also, pretty house!)

    1. Solidarity!!

      Yet another thing the internet has created shame over. We will demo it ourselves for thrift (and not a little satisfaction) and we plan to do the kid's room ourselves. That only requires wallpaper and paint. I think we can handle it.
      Cue a post in a few weeks about my inability to paint a straight line or getting paste out of carpet...

  2. I still love the cork.

    I do not love bad showers. The only thing worse is a bad mattress.

    (If you ever need a nice shower - pop over here!)

    There is a reason that people work as people who do DIY. I hope you find someone good. Yay for amazing showers.

  3. At least you have no chance of ending up on Disaster DIY if you hire pros. There is no shame in not doing it yourself. Consider it saving another person's job. :)

  4. I have had the privilege of showering in there! Nevertheless, I am glad you are going to be able to make the bath "yours." Blessed relief!

    1. ...and that shower is why you are never coming back, right? I kid.

      We're having a demo party. I might video part of it. I'll have to bring you in as a testimonial/tribute interview.