Finally, Shower!

Plans changed once more... and for the second time, it's actually a good thing. (Wow, things are just falling into place all on their own - like a tetris game of all squares.) If you recall, our carpenter was supposed to be over this past weekend so that he and Mike could rip off a bunch of old siding by the chimney and re-shingle to fix an ongoing roof leak in the bathroom.

That didn't happen. He called us in the AM on Sunday and reminded us of incoming inclement weather. (Not to mention the wind gusts up to 50mph.) Not the best time to try and replace anything exterior.

Ok - we'll take this opportunity to PURCHASE THE SHOWER! Can you believe it? After all the back and forth, we were finally ready to purchase the thing.

Mike left me and the kids at home and picked it up himself. He got the last corner base they had in stock - and it was on clearance. (Phew! Another lucky break!) They didn't have the brushed nickle on the glass door as we originally wanted, but Mike said the aluminum was comparable - and on sale and in stock. Fine with me! No more arguments/changes in regards to the shower.

Hole in the Floor, Meet Shower Base
 First thing, Mike laid the base down in the bathroom... you wouldn't believe how tight it is to the opening door. That thing just fits. (Tense moments there for a couple minutes.) Once we knew it would work, Mike cut the hole in the floor for the drain. And then he says, "I may as well put the toilet in there..."

So Mike's bringing in the toilet and getting it out of the box and this and that and he's already to go with it... When he discovers a crack in the bowl. It needs to be returned and exchanged. And then he says, "Do you want me to go ahead and get all the stuff to actually hook up the toilet while I'm there?"

Uh - SURE!

Pack it up, put it back in the truck... Mike was off to Home Depot this time and returned within the hour with a new toilet (Saved $10 by taking it back - it was on sale this time) and all the pipe and materials to install.

That Little Thing on the Floor - That's for the Toilet
By 9pm we had a fully functional upstairs toilet. I thought to myself, "No mis-cut pipes, no leaks, no forgotten parts... Mike's plumbing sure has improved since we started on this house." I didn't mention it to him. We had many a plumbing project go awry in the early days.

So we have a toilet installed, electrical installed, shower started, window installed, walls shimmed, and floor leveled. That's pretty good. Next up, sink and shower plumbing. We definitely need to get the exterior done to fix the leak before we can even think about drywall. And then there's flooring to consider...

It's Electric!

The shower debate continues. Last week Mike told me he wanted to spend more money and go to a local bath showroom for a higher-end corner shower enclosure. I was against it. Throughout the week we talked to some folks and did a little research...

There are two places we could go locally.

One of these, a heavily advertised bath showroom (Simon's) with multiple locations, is not open on Sunday. This means that since Mike works Saturday, each of us would have to go there and look at the product separately. (Pain in the butt.) Or, one of us would have to entrust the other to pick something out. (Not gonna happen - he wants durability that only he can determine by actually "touching" the thing. I want stylish and economical.)

I tried to get a look at some of their products on their website... but their website only leads me to various manufacturer's websites, where I have to hunt and peck for products... The whole process was cumbersome and I tired of it after running into a brick wall at the first ill-performing manufacturer's website.

Forget that.

The other place is FW Webb, a store geared towards professional plumbers. Mike and I have both been there separate times, and each time, found them completely unwilling to service the humble homeowner - completely unhelpful and almost downright rude in fact. In my personal experience going there, I needed a simple baseboard end cap. No one who worked there would take the time to show me where they were. In fact, they made in blatantly obvious that they did not care.

The plumbers who were in there shopping were so much more courteous and helpful then the employees. (Never met a plumber I didn't like - I don't know why they have such a dubious reputation. I've found every single pro plumber to be a really great and down-to-earth sort of guy.) One plumber dude helped me look, and even cornered another employee for me until we got an answer and found the end cap I needed.

And of course, I paid up the wazzoo for the thing.

But they don't have anything on display, they are a supply house. We'd have to pick something from a catalog and order it - this eliminates Mike's ability to "touch" it.

No freakin way.

By Sunday we concluded that the Lowe's shower was the only shower. A plumber friend of ours gave us some tips on how to best install it for sturdy durability and we felt ok with that. Argument over.

With that out of the way, we decided to go and purchase the thing on Sunday afternoon. Sunday morning, we decided to strap the ceiling and walls. (Why work around a shower, was my reasoning.) But, as it usually happens, things took longer then expected. But, unlike it usually happens, that turned out to be a good thing.

Mike originally planned to just strap the ceiling. But while he was in a strapping mood, he strapped portions of the walls - uneven as they were - in prep for drywall. His hammering attracted our carpenter, who just happened to be working at our neighbor's house. The two guys talked for a little while - mostly trying to brainstorm a solution for our continual leak. (The bathroom roof was leaking - or so we thought. When we re-did the roof, it still leaked. We then guessed it was an incorrectly-installed upstairs window. Fixed that. Fixed one leak. The other is still as leaky as ever.)

Now, the plan is to re-shingle around the new wood stove chimney, where they're guessing now that the water is coming in. Needless to say, Mike will be visiting the HD this week for more shingles, ice and water, and lead. (Know what I hear - $$$$$$$$$$$$. Oh well, it's almost time for tax returns anyway.)

After that conversation, Mike finished up the strapping and decided that he wanted to just keep right on going. He cleaned up and started running the electrical.

Mikey Helping Out
Nothing too tough about the electrical in this small bathroom space. We're re-using the same two vanity lights from the old bathroom and the same recessed light from the old bathroom. Things are just getting moved around a little. The vanity is going to be on the opposite side of the room - and since we already have the mirror, Mike was able to position the lights accordingly. (I think they look stupid, they're too high up and so is the mirror. Same problem I have in the downstairs bathroom. Mike is just too tall! But oh well - this is only a semi-permanent bathroom anyway.)

Of course, we're adding a fan with light and an outlet next to the sink. Mike installed both yesterday, even cutting the hole for the vent to the outside. By dinnertime, everything was working. Lights, fan, action!

Needless to say, there was no time to go shopping. But that was a good thing. Check plenty of items off the to-do list and, nothing spent for once! Everything we needed, we already had in stock.


And Another Thing...

Did I mention we completed shingling on the new window side of the house?
Well - we did! (Despite our big air compressor kicking the bucket and Mike's parents having to deliver us the small one he left at their house...)

Looks nice, doesn't it? Makes the rest of that blue goo back there look really shabby.

Joist For Fun

We seem to be moving right along with this bathroom project - after completing the window installation on New Year's Eve, Mike moved right along to the ceiling. Within two evenings of work, he's completed and installed all new joists.

Check that one off the list!

New Year, New Window

Well the holidays are over and the house is all cleaned up of all holiday decorations. So, in honor of this newfound cleanliness, what we do but start tearing stuff apart again?

Sunday Mike started in the old bathroom soon-to-be new bathroom by going downstairs and completely leveling out the floor. (When we put the vanity in there - not to install, but just to store it - we couldn't help but notice that it was leaning drastically.) Mike removed one of the old beams underneath and created a new one, carefully shimming and leveling as he went.

Monday we made our list - checked it twice - and went to the Home Depot yet again. (And this time we kept our distance from the shower department.) We bought the first round of construction materials - rafters for the ceiling, strapping for the walls, a new window, electrical boxes, a bathroom vent/fan, a fan duct, and a whole buncha LED christmas lights that were 75% off. (Two guesses who picked those out - chaching! $6.99 for a 17' long outdoor LED icicle light set is a dang good deal in my book. I bought four!

When we returned home, know what time it was?! WINDOW TIME!

One of the things I despised most about that old bathroom, (and I use the term lightly because I despised many things about that bathroom) was the window.

Here is a photo of the bathroom in what was probably its best, cleanest state. Note the location of the window in proximity to the toilet. IT'S RIGHT THERE. Know what's right outside that window? Our neighbor's house. Our neighbor who likes to come over a lot and walks right past that window to get to our driveway. No me gusta.

So I always had to have a shade covering the window... which made the room incredibly dark and even less appealing.

To keep things easy, Mike wanted to simply replace the old window with one of the same size in the same location. I said, "No way!" And after a bit of discussion, (since there is no other wall that the window could go on and no possibility of totally rebuilding the bathroom) we agreed on a smaller window of close-to the same width. It would be placed at the top of the old window frame and Mike would rip off the exterior old siding and replace with shingles. (Since it's such a small wall, time and cost expenditures would be minimal.)

Now onto - WINDOW TIME!

First, cutting the hole. Mike removed the old siding and even older shingles underneath the siding. Then, he removed the old window.

Next, re-ply. Mike put up new plywood on that entire side of the bathroom. (Which isn't very much room at all - we had enough plywood in stock to take care of it easily.) Then, he stapled up tar paper over the entire wall.

Now, time to cut a new hole. Mike cut and framed a space for the new window, which as you can see, has a bit of a different location then the old one. Keep in mind that to the left of the window, on the outside, is where our chimney is. We couldn't go any more to the left. So, since the new window was winder then the old window, we went right and left the chimney with plenty of breathing room.

And finally, by the end of the evening, the new window was in! We couldn't be happier with its location. You'd have to really make an effort to look through this one to see someone in the bathroom. (Although for showering purposes, we will still likely put up a shade.) But it's still enough to let in lots of light... probably more then that dirty old window did, even at twice the size.

Next up - new ceiling rafters, wall shimming, and exterior shingling on the new window wall...