Master Bath Mini-Update

Ultimately, there will be a major update coming, but this is my attempt at making the shower in our room usable. Our house was built in ’79, so there are a few quirks. (To be honest, every house we looked at here in Small Town ranged from quirky to “was there an actual architect involved? Or did you base this off of a really cool LEGO house you built when you were five?”) One of those quirks is the so-called master bathroom. There’s a large double vanity offset from the main bedroom, and then there is a pocket door leading into a … well, you know how bathrooms used to be water closets? I think I’m getting a clearer picture of why. Actually, our closet is bigger than this. We’ve got a shower stall and a toilet. If you’re tall, you can comfortably prop your feet on the lip of the shower while you’re on the toilet. I think. I’m not tall, so I can’t say if this is true or just conjecture on my part. I have a lot of ideas about the amazing things tall people can do. At any rate, have a before picture.

Claustrophobia? Claustrotastic!
Claustrophobia? Claustrotastic!

I tried my best. The room isn’t actually big enough to take a picture of the shower. Where to start… You may notice the handheld showerhead drapped elegantly on the floor, drawing the eye to the ground-in dirt, rust stains, and mildew. The showerhead isn’t on the floor solely to serve some eyedrawing purpose, though. It’s there because it dripped and I was slowly being driven mad. This didn’t cause any inconvenience when using it, though, because we didn’t. Or rather, I did once, and that’s when I discovered it sprayed water from every crevice in it except the ones it was supposed to. That aside, note that this drippy, ineffective mess is nicely framed by a shower door frame, but lacking the actual door. Clearly something had to be done. If only because I was tired of The Professor and Mini arguing over her bathroom in the morning.

Step one was to remove the showerhead. Not because it needed to come out first, but it was the easiest part. I like an easy win. Makes me feel productive. Then I tackled the door frame. I had an inkling that all I needed to do was run a utility knife around it, and then pop it out. Professor Furious was doubtful, but I took to the internet and this tutorial from Apartment Therapy backed up my theory. And then I was off to the hardware store for supplies.

Weapons of minor destruction.
Weapons of minor destruction.

It was a fairly straightforward process. We popped the top rail off. (Professor Furious kept stepping in to help, even though he was supposed to be working on something else. My only complaint was I had our little sledgehammer on hand, just in case, and I didn’t get to use it.) I ran the knife through the silicon caulk holding the frame to the wall. I’d like to note here that unlike the frame in the Apartment Therapy link, mine didn’t have visible screws. The side supports were totally enclosed in aluminum. Despite finger crossing, this did not mean mine wasn’t held to the wall by screws. In a technical sense that there were screws and they went into the tile, I mean. They weren’t anchored, and I was able to get most of them to pop right out, just by pulling on them. The Professor finally managed to pop off the aluminum bit covering them on the second support, but again with the screws sliding right out. The sides were also screwed into the bottom rail, but I’m not sure that we needed to unscrew them. The bottom rail was the one that gave us trouble. I think it was put on with construction adhesive, and it’s was *under* the rail, so I couldn’t get at it effectively with my knife. I was going to use the mini-sledge to try knocking it out, but before I could, The Professor slotted the side rails back on, and pulled them towards him, levering the rail off. Physics, a sledgehammer… go with what works for you.

I wanted to get a picture of the gunk left behind, but my camera (and by camera, I mean phone) rebelled, and I wound up with a picture of my knee. Seriously, I do not know what happened. But go ahead and imagine just years and years of gunk and terribleness. Most of it came up with the razorblade. I’m going to use the caulk remover on the rest. This hasn’t happened yet, because I’m feeling a bit demoralized about the cleaning aspect, and because the razorblade too off the remnants on the sides so well that I haven’t opened it yet. We got the new showerhead and our old shower curtain up, and huzzah! Usable shower.

2014-09-12 14.23.51
Functional! I’m calling it a win.

Note that I didn’t go for another handheld showerhead. The stall is small enough without the hose for one hanging into my personal space. Also, I didn’t put up my pretty curtain, just the clear liner. I want as much light coming into this little cave as possible. Plus, I can see homicidal killers coming. I mentioned being demoralized about the cleaning. Y’all, this shower is not going to come clean. I tried this stuff my mom loves called Krud Kutter. Nothing happened. I tried a paste of borax, washing soda, OxyClean, and Dawn, that I globbed on and let set. Then I scrubbed and scrubbed it. A slight lightening on some of the less tenacious dirt happened. My next step is CLR, but that stuff is extremely chemically considering I’m more of the “Let me tell you how to clean your whole house with vinegar and baking soda!” type. I think I’m calling it a draw. We’re getting estimates to renovate the bathroom. Basically, I want to pull out the shower, bump the wall out a bit and put in a proper soaking tub and shower. I’d also like to make it so the sink is actually in the bathroom. It’s all quite a ways off, but it’s my plan and I’m clinging to it.

Tiny Flowers

I had a post planned about the little updates we’ve been making on our “master bathroom,” but it’s not done yet. I’m down to the pain in the ass cleaning bits, and I think I’m going to have to pick up some CLR. I’m giving borax and washing soda paste a shot first, though. So that’s coming. And you’ll see why I used the sarcasm quotes up there. Here’s a hint: claustrophobia.

We’re planning on working on the yard this weekend. Ideally, we want to have it dog friendly by Christmas. Child friendly would also be good. Mini Furious is making friends, and I feel like there will be children running around here before I know it. Right now, our backyard is overrun with goat head burrs. Also known as puncture vine. Also known as Satan is real and invented half the things in West Texas. These things can potentially flatten a car tire. They definitely flatten bike tires. They go right through shoe soles. The burrs, which are also the seeds, can lie dormant for twenty years. The recommended method for dealing with them is a flamethrower. However, there is a burn ban in effect, and I don’t want to be the one to accidentally set West Texas on fire. This is a serious thing. Wild fires out here can be nasty and spread ridiculously quickly. It would probably be okay, but I don’t want to take that chance. So this weekend is gloves and pulling weeds and probably profuse cursing. At least we’re supposed to be getting a cool front, so it shouldn’t be too hot. And the tumbleweeds, which are the other thing growing in our yard, haven’t dried out yet, so their thorns aren’t too poky.

Until then, have a picture of the one decent growing thing we have: some little desert roses in a planter box by our back door. I’m actually sort of proud that not only are they blooming, but they seem to be filling out. Plants and I don’t usually mix well, so this is a big step!

Arty enough?
I got a new phone, which pretty much means I got a new camera. Be prepared for lots of artistic vision.

Buying a house is a web of lies. For arcane reasons our closing date has now been moved back to the 31st. Okay, not so arcane. Our mortgage dude found us a far better loan option, but it came with extra hoops to jump through. Of course, I found this out after reserving the moving truck. And our lease here ends the 31st, anyway. So we’re renting our own house for about a week. And hopefully no more than a week. This is me breathing deeply and calmly.

Well there's breathing involved, anyway.
Well there’s breathing involved, anyway.

But it’s fine. It’s all going to be fine. I refuse to be stressed out by all of this. Really. But did I mention the black widow that had the audacity to crawl out into the middle of the living room floor last week? I’ve been seeing a bunch of spders around the house beyond the little black and grey not especially scary dudes. Professor Furious and I go back and forth about spiders in the house. I feel that if they’re not especially venomous, and stay off my bed, Mini’s bed, my desk, and the couch, they can stay. He is of the terribly mistaken opinion that all spiders are fine, and if it is an especially venomous variety, we should just not touch it and everything will be okay. Unfortunately, this is a hard concept to convey to the cats and child. He scooped the black widow up in a jar and released it outside somewhere. I called the landlords and asked for an exterminator. Luckily, our landlady is on my side here and got a dude out the next day. (Seriously, there are things I would change about this house in a heartbeat, but our landlords are fairly awesome about getting stuff done.) Happily, the spiders I’ve been seeing in the house aren’t brown recluses or hobo spiders as Google had informed me. This is because the brown recluses were hanging out in the garage along with another black widow. I would like it noted that I didn’t ask the exterminator to just burn everything to the ground. Truly I am a woman of restraint in the face of difficulty. As it was, I merely stood in the kitchen flailing my arms and trying not to cry. Like an adult.

In the end, the spiders were dealt with. The exterminator said we might want to wear gloves and long sleeves when moving the boxes in the garage, but otherwise we should be fine. Professor Furious has kindly pointed out that brown recluse bites don’t always necrotize, and that at any rate our new house will most likely have scorpions, which should take my mind off of the spiders. Useful man to have around, my husband, especially if you like nightmares about spiders and scorpions fighting for dominance of your house.