life, mental health, MS, writing

Bathroom Renovation Part 2: It’s a Bathtub?

I am sure there are things that can’t be cured by a good bath but I can’t think of one.” ― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

It’s a bird… it’s a plane…it’s a… tub on my front lawn. I should have sat in it.

Bathtub on front lawn

It didn’t take long to rip out the old slime tub. Happily, there was no damage from the leaking. So, straightforward, right?

Bathtub torn out

The new tub was supposed to be ready on Friday and I pictured myself having all weekend to enjoy it. Of course, there were complications and they had to come finish on Monday. So I had to wait until Tuesday, and the anticipation was killing me.

I got out my new bath pillow, tub caddy and even bought season 4 of Outlander. Bliss here I come…

Bathtub, bubbles, tub caddy, Outlander

And then I got in. And I tried to enjoy it, I really did. The Outlander was great, but it was hard to concentrate on it because I could hear the water dumping down the overflow. It eventually stopped, unless I moved in any way.

By the time the water finally stopped escaping out the very low overflow, I was hardly submerged. Not to mention, I have never been accused of blocking anyone’s view in the theatre at 5’3″ on a tall day, but I couldn’t fit my body into that tub in any comfortable way that would keep at least 50% of me covered.

This is how much water was left when I got out.

Instead of this…
It felt like this.

Ummm… yeah. Awkward.

This is not a tub, it’s a stub.

The problem was, I had been diligent in going and planting my butt in every tub in town. I finally picked one, went with the designer to order it and everything else. It was only once they sent the estimate that they mentioned the tub unit would take 6 months to arrive!

So the designer got on the horn and asked them to recommend a similar tub that wouldn’t take so long. Out of the two options, I picked the one I liked better from the pictures. I didn’t go see it, or sit in it.

TIP: Always sit in the tub. Always. Always. Always.

I have been dealing with overwhelming depression and anxiety for the last few weeks, so the thought of speaking up and telling the designer I wasn’t happy was almost impossible. But the thought of accepting a sub-standard, too small tub after waiting for so long was creating even more anxiety. Good times.

TIP: Hiring a designer is worth every penny.

I tried the tub one more time then I emailed her. I got all trembly and stupid because my MS goes haywire when I get nervous, but at the same time some of the anxiety was alleviated even before she responded.

Instead of swirling in the ugly of ‘should I?’, I moved into action and it helped.

What helped even more was that my lovely designer got back to me right away and said exactly the right things. She got the bathroom place to start scouting out longer, deeper tubs in stock close by. She asked if I would consider tiling because that would give us more options. I had originally wanted tile but thought I wanted to avoid cleaning grout. Truth is, I cheaped out.

I was prepared to swallow the installation cost in order to get things done right, but she’s also getting in touch with the right people to get a refund. I wouldn’t have thought that was possible. Go back and read that last tip again. 😊

So, I didn’t really want to call this part 2 because it’s more like 1.5. But there is no terrible renovation story here, really.

1) She had the foresight to only demo the tub, the rest of the bathroom was left intact.

2) We have a working tub again, for the first time in 3 years. I’m really happy I didn’t sit in it on my front lawn or I might still have a big hole in my bathroom.

3) There is no damage from the old leaky tub, the pipes had just separated from the volume of sludge (read part 1 here) so when the tub had the weight of water and a person in it, the water would leak out the seams and run down the outside of the drain pipe.

4) My designer is taking on the battle for me, dealing with all the logistics. It’s off my plate but I will end up with a bathroom that we’ll be happy with for years to come.

5) Using the tub and handheld shower with no curtain, reminds of when I lived in Paris in 1994. So many fun memories, I had to dig out the pictures.

View from the apartment where I lived free for six months, thanks to the generosity of friends.
I slept on the lumpy red velvet couch in this room. Oh to be 23 again!

Talk about a tangent. Anyway, all is well that hasn’t ended yet. Wait, that’s not how it goes. 😋 Right now, we’re in limbo but with a mostly functioning bathroom until I pick and order a new tub then wait for it to arrive. All of us spoonie warriors are experts at the mental limbo, it’s where we live our lives. I got this.

As far as the mental health, I gave myself a few days to rest and read and nothing else, now I’m back to pushing myself to get out of bed and accomplish one minor task, which usually leads to a bigger one.

For example, I really didn’t feel like writing this blog post so I told myself to just upload the pictures. I started with that, and then the words came. They didn’t want to when I just tried thinking about it.

TIP: Don’t swirl in your anxiety, take action.

❤️Amanda

life, writing

Bathroom Renovation: Part 1 – It’s a Go!

At the end of February, it will be ten years since we moved into our house. We have been oh so responsible in dealing with the renovations, starting with the very unsexy updates of new gutters, roof and windows. Having three kids and both of us being allergic to debt means we’ve taken things slowly.

Previous owners did some updates in the 90s – sadly, they had a love affair with brass – and a fresh coat of paint before it went on the market made it a nicer house than we ever thought we could afford. Our starter home was a 2 bedroom, 1 bath that we updated ourselves, adding two bedrooms within it’s very small footprint.

We called this house, just a few blocks over, our starter house on steroids. 💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻

But this is where it gets disgusting. The previous residents were college boys, so you can imagine that maintenance and cleanliness were not of paramount importance. If you own a jacuzzi tub, you know that it requires regular use and cleaning. Otherwise, a whole new world starts to colonize the pipes.

Our old house had a tiny blue bathtub, so I was excited to have a deep soaking tub with jets. But there was no way in hell I was getting in without a decent cleaning.

I had no idea what I was in for.

The sludge that oozed out of the pipes the first time I turned on the jets was reminiscent of the black slime of childhood nightmares. Chunky, glutinous snakes, hibernating and growing for years, spurted into the tub like ogre vomit, over and over again. I had to empty it in buckets so it wouldn’t clog the drain.

My sensitive stomach had an intense workout as I repeated the process 47 times. That may be a slight exaggeration, but not by much. I ran those jets with bleach several times a day for weeks before I could bring myself to get into that tub. Even then, I had to NOT think about it very carefully to be able to relax and enjoy a soak.

MS fatigue and the neck injury that causes me crazy pain and headaches made me overpower my squeamishness and revel in the comfort of Epsom salt baths. Until the damn thing started to leak – in the opposite corner of the house. Water started dripping down through a pot light in the basement.

Awesome.

That was three or four years ago. Luckily it was only the tub that leaked, not the shower. Those slimy snakes must have been so big, they damaged the pipes. Ugh.

For the past couple of years, we’ve tried to find someone that would take on the renovation the way we wanted it to go. Meaning, a separate tub and shower fitting into a minuscule space. Strangely, not one of the six contractors we had in, wanted to take on the job. It may have to do with the fact that we’re not prepared to spend obscene amounts of money to make it happen. So, we’re replacing the current fixtures and calling it good.

Having to clean the tub before having a bath is a first world problem.

So, we hired a designer to deal with the project and I just got word that we’re starting this week. Yeehaw! I love me some demo, so I already started removing some tiles. Years ago, I replaced the sad brass light fixtures and faucets.

A tip for new homeowners: the savings you get from the ‘big box stores’, is not worth it when it comes to quality. They may carry the the same brand names but it’s like buying your fixtures at the dollar store. Renovations cost a lot, time-wise and money-wise. Spend your money wisely and buy quality.

BEFORE PHOTOS

Goodbye brass! The final frontier… Soooo ugly!!!

Hopefully once they get started, it won’t take too long to put things back together. We all know how that goes, though. Fingers crossed for quick and on budget – no surprises. 🤞🏻🤞🏻🤞🏻

I’ll keep you posted…

❤️ Amanda