Hi all, I’m still alive! The bathroom is coming along nicely. We have achieved floor, walls (painted even!), toilet, vanity with working sink, trim work, light fixture (which took 3 hours!), and tub. We still need to hook up the fixtures to the tub piping and put in the tub surround (the plastic walls that get wet), but we’re moving right along and it looks like a bathroom now. For all intents and purposes, it is a bathroom.
Yes, the light fixture. My house was built in 1951. There were no building codes as far as we can tell. The studs in the walls are not a set distance apart, and the wiring is all kinds of screwy. The wiring for the entire upstairs goes through the bathroom light fixture. There was a bundle of 4 white wires, a bundle of 3 black wires and a white wire, and 2 single black wires. Normal light fixtures have a couple of wires and a ground. It took us 3 hours and trying every single permutation of wire configuration in both the fixture and the switch before we could get the dumb thing to work. Part of the time was the time it took for me to run up and down the stairs to the (outside) circuit breaker to reset the circuit or turn it on and off so we could try another configuration. I must have run up and down 10 times on my bum knees before I decided to let Dad handle it and I’d just stay at the bottom of the stairs and yell up to him when the breaker was on or off.
We have had to do everything at least twice – cutting and plumbing to the sink and all the rest. Sometimes it’s our fault, but more often than not, it’s because there are no square walls in this house and nothing is to today’s standard building codes. We did trim yesterday and finally got sick of it. We rented a nail gun, bought a miter saw, and what would have taken us at least 3 hours took us half of one. It was glorious. The right tools make all the difference.
Despite all the frustrations, Dad and I are having a ton of fun doing this. It wouldn’t be nearly as fun if we were doing it with our spouses. Dad gets frustrated quickly and will get super annoyed which is hard for Mom to take. Hubby doesn’t play well with others when he’s working so I wouldn’t get to do anything because he has to do it all by himself. No, Dad and I are having a blast. We work well together and both are used to the way the other works. There is a lot of cursing (which Mom doesn’t care for), and I think the kids have learned a few new words from us, but that’s OK. it helps with the frustration and pain that both of us are feeling. I am the floor person and I have trouble getting up and down. My ankle hurts when I’m down there, too. Dad and I were hit by a car 20 years ago while walking across the street, and it shattered his hip. It got put back together, but it’s been stiff and painful ever since. He has arthritis in both hips and knees as well. He’s not the floor guy.
Mom has been infinitely helpful. Not only has she contributed some great ideas when Dad and I were stuck, but she has been doing my housework for me while Dad and I work on the bathroom. She’s way better at it than I am, too. She’s keeping us caught up, which is more than I could ever do. She’s also kept an eye on the kids for me. I can focus on the bathroom with Dad until neither of us can walk anymore, and she takes care of everything else. It’s nice to have a wife around!
Hubby has even gotten in on the act. He didn’t feel the least bit guilty about not doing the bathroom for the last 3 years, but now that Dad and I are working on it, he feels a little guilty so he comes up once in a while to help. And boy has he helped! He put the toilet in and did the final put together and tightening of the under-sink plumbing after Dad and I had figured out how it needed to be hooked up. He also hung the ceiling light after Dad got it hooked up properly. He did the final hanging. He’s stronger than Dad and I so the tightening thing was really helpful.
Mom and Dad are going home this weekend. I’m hoping the bathroom will be done by then. If not, it will be things like touch-up painting and that sort of thing that I can do myself. I have had a blast having them here and I’m glad that we’ll be going to visit them this summer, too. I love seeing them and so do the kids. Hubby even likes them and hasn’t minded having them around. I am so lucky to have parents that are willing to come help me at the drop of a hint.
Anyway, that’s the current update. I’ll have pictures and more updates when it’s done. Thanks for your patience!