Big news! We’re leaving Small Town! I mean, if you’re reading this, then we’re either close friends or family and you knew that because who else reads this blog? Anyhow. Professor Furious has a new job and so we are trying to sell our house, and find a new house. Did I mention we are trying to find a new house from half-way across the country, with cats, and we’re going to rent because I doubt we could get another mortgage right now, but also because we have no idea if we are going to be in New Slightly Larger Town for a year or a decade. Also, Slightly Larger Town has a housing shortage. HAhahahahahahaha…. I want to burn everything to the ground.
Don’t get me wrong, I am SUPER excited about leaving Small Town. In retrospect, it was a bad decision to come here, and frankly I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. But oh well, this is real life and not a video game where we could go back to our last save point and try again. No matter how many times I wish for it. But we’re moving to a bigger place that is, in turn, the suburb of a much bigger place. Y’all, I’m going from overpriced produce rotting on the shelves at our teeny “grocery” store to Whole Foods and Trader Joes. I mean, the Whole Foods stuff won’t be a lot cheaper, but at least I won’t have to throw out half a container of grape tomatoes because they’re moldy. Haha kidding. I just don’t bother buying fresh fruit and veggies.
We’ve lost out on multiple places, and I’m fairly certain it’s because we’re not there in person to fill stuff out and be like “Look at how we are a nice, young family of professionals.” (Maybe ignore my hair and his earrings…) Our already limited choices are more limited because I love our cats and won’t give them up. But seriously, that would only add like… two houses that we can’t really afford anyway to our list, so I really can’t even blame the cats.
So I’ve turned to making graphics to work through my frustrations. I’m thinking of attaching this one to our next rental application. Think it will help my case?
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am not a Minnesota girl. This will never be a thing for me. Never is this more apparent than when it gets cold. By gets cold, I mean cold by my South Texan standards, not Minnesota standards. The fact that these are two wildly different things is pretty much the crux of my problem with living here. We had our last outside practice on the hockey rink today. It’s getting colder. It’s getting darker earlier. Soon our hockey rink will actually have ice on it. Not exactly conducive to roller derby. But let’s talk about it getting colder. It was about 48 tonight, with the wind chill pulling things down another ten degrees. I knew it had gotten cold, but I hadn’t realized how cold. I really should have been wearing more than leggings, a tshirt, and a hoodie. Really really should have. (But not as bad as Spunky Nugget, who was out there in a skirt with no leggings or tights at all.) It was a little frustrating. Monday night was warmer. Not super warm, but warmER. And I skated, no problem. Tonight, I felt like I was too busy being huddled over for warmth to do anything. I couldn’t get my knees bent, and my fingers were doing that so cold they hurt thing. But I worked on snow plows as best as I could, because I’m still not good enough at them. And then Ida Funk made me skate as fast as I could back and forth. It didn’t feel anywhere near as smooth as it did Monday night. Then I ended practice with one practice double knee fall and didn’t kill myself. Not the worst farewell to the rink, but not exactly what I had in mind.
My knee pads have this super annoying habit of slipping. Usually it’s just the right, but tonight it was both. Very disconcerting, since every time they slipped it left a new line of cold on my leg. When I fell, they were pretty much where they needed to be. I’m goin to tinker with the velcro again. I had sewed on some extra, because there wasn’t enough to close. Now they close, but barely. I want to throw enough on to have a good grip on it and pull it as far over as I can. If I’m still skating come August, and I plan to be, I think I will be investing in some ProDesign custom pads. Possibly before then will be new plates for my skates (Sure Grip Rebels). They’ve got the stock nylon plate on them, and it was creaking ominously by the end of practice. I’m hoping it was just the cold, though. Ooh I just realized that my self-imposed “no using my Gumball stops on the rink” thing is now over! I know they’re meant to be used and a little abused, but I didn’t want to tear them up on our rough concrete.
Last bit of gear news, I need a new bag to haul these pretties around in. I’ve been rocking a duffel bag I got from Wal-Mart ages ago and probably didn’t pay more than twenty bucks for. While it fits my gear fairly well, it obviously wasn’t meant for derby life, as the strap is starting to rip out from the bag. So I need something that will hold size 8 Rebels, my helmet, and triple X 187 pro knee pads. (And then wristguards, elbow pads, and assorted stuff including a first aid kit.) And preferably work as a carry-on, because i’d really like to take my gear with me to Texas at the end of the month, and then to Hawaii when I visit my parents in May. And is cheap. And comes with a unicorn. And rainbows fly out and de-stink my pads before I put them in. Is that too much to ask for?