The last bathroom…

Weeks ago we volunteered to help Chris (oldest son) and Lorna (dil) with their last big house project. Their primaray bathroom was just sad:


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Honestly, I couldn't love it and it made me want to volunteer…


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The bathroom, when it was in use, looked better than it does in these phots.


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Here's what you shoud know: behind ever speck of tile, there is concrete. Stupidest thing ever in a pier and beam house. We knew that it would require a worm saw (who ever came up with that name!?) to cut the concrete. Worm saws make a huge amount of dust. This is an interior bathroom. What to do?

Steve and Chris thought about using fans to blow the dust out of the front door. I had the idea of masking off a tunnel with drop clothes. I showed up at 7:15 AM today to put up 'the tube."


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There is plasitc on the far side of what you see here as well. And smaller walls in the hallway to the left. It worked like a charm. Look in the photo below and you will see the dust in the air that has been blown out of the house.


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The guys wore masks to protect their lungs. Yay!


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 This is what the tube, or tunnel, looked llike at the end of the day. I was happy to see that the house (outside of the tube) was not that dusty. Steve and Chris used a shop vac to get up most of this dust and then carefully took down the plastic walls.


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Here's Steve, in the concrete/tile-less bathroom. 


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Tomorrow they are taking out the iron tub. The they will build up the floor and go from there. There are many days of work ahead, but this was probably the hardest day. Each and every one of us wants to get this done and then call home improvement projects over. For at least a year. If not longer.

 

I need a 4-letter word…

Yes, I'd like to use that 4-letter word. That word has power! It is a very old word that is still in use (a lot) today. It is both a noun and a verb and can be used in anger or in affirmation. It can be a prelude to a fight or said with a smile and a slap on the back. That word is amazingly versatile. However, even with all of this, I know I can't put that word on a quilt that will be in a book. Can you hear me silently mutter a different 4-letter word?

I'm word hunting.

 

 

Christopher  (who is working on a PhD in literature from the long 18th century, topic: filth) suggested the word 'white' written in black. It's like seeing orange written in blue. It messes with your brain. The only problem with this is that some people might read something racial into it. Moving on…

Faith (5 letters), hope, love, happy… all are too trite and over-used. Chris later suggested the word 'word'. I almost like that, but almost isn't good enough. 'Hello' (seen in the chart above) is nice, as is XOXO. But, again, I'm not completely sold. 

Do you have any suggestions?

UPDATE: What about 'bird'?


 

Where do your eyes go?

When you look at this photo, where do your eyes go first? And where do they end up resting? Click the photo and it should open up in its own window at a bigger size.


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I took this photo while Steve was driving. Pipe trucks always get my attention because they scare me so my eyes go to the pipes. And I like the look of these pipes – the blue, the different sizes. I look at the pipes. But the FedEx logo pulls my eyes over and I end up at the green 'Ex'. 

Made me wonder how it would be in black and white…


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Let me know what you see!

 

After the flood…

Now I know the true worth of a contractor. It's not just how good a job they do, it's how they respond to adversity. Rick Owens may be the best contractor ever. The sink broke Friday night. Rick came over then and again on Sunday evening to discuss what we'd do the next day.

Monday morning at 8:00 he was here with Mr. Plumber. We decided to keep the fixtures (I really do like them) but they are now attached to the water supply much differently. We have been declared water-tight. 

Also here at 8:00 were Miguel and Juan who spent the day taking up the floor in the bedroom. Juan remarked that whoever put the floor down did a really good job :-). It was hard work. The glue scraped up better than any of us thought it would – maybe it hadn't had a chance to fully cure?

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Today, Tuesday, Miguel and Juan got up the rest of the warped flooring…


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Funny that I've never taken a photo from this corner of the bedroom. You can see into my studio on the right and down the hall on the left. The unaffected wood floor is just out of site in both directions.

State Farm has been out and that's in the works but you know what? I'm sure that Rick would have made this right regardless. So, if you are shopping for a contractor, try to find out what they have done for someone else when things went wrong.

I was talking about water things with Rick and did find out that we should have had our very fine tankless water heater flushed out annually. It has been at least 3 years since it's been looked at. Mr Plumber came back and it's now clean.

We're not doing this year, but Keven (Mr. Plumber) told me about a pan that goes under the water heater that has a sensor. It takes batteries or plugs in and is attached to a shut-off valve. If water hits the pan, the water automatically shuts off. Who knew?! Next year we're going to have that installed.

I spent today busy but I'm not exactly sure doing what. Oh! I know one thing I did… I had to buy a new iron. My $89 Rowenta succumbed to our lousy water. It started losing lots of water out of it's base (what is it with me a water?) and then it started spitting brown rocky grains of something. Probably calcium. I gave up and bought a classic Black & Decker. I'm sure I'll kill it too, but it is heavy and not that expensive.

I hope to be able to focus better tomorrow. It's nearly July and I have no idea where June went!

 

 

Of cats and rocks…

Carol posted a question about the rock tiles in our new shower that I showed in this post. I thought others of you might be curious about them as well.

I first saw pebbles, or small river rocks, used in a shower floor when I visited Linda in Grand Junction. They looked just like smooth stones sunk into sand and Linda loves them. She has sensitive feet and told me that they felt fine underfoot. When I went tile-hunting, that's what I had in mind. Then I found these:


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I left my feet in the shot so you could get a feel for the scale of the rocks. These are river rocks that have been sliced and then glued to a 12" x 12" mesh backing. They are at least 1/4" thick. I liked the fact that they are flat, like tile. I also liked their nearly white coloring.

I knew I wanted the grout to be the color of dirt because it wears better. I probably should not have been surprised that when the rock floor was grouted and sealed, the color of the rocks changed – a lot.


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Luis grouted the floor once (and sealed it) and we used the shower. However, as a little time went by, the grout shrank and got lower between the rocks. Luis came back and added more grout. If you do this yourself, remember that grouting something like this is probably a two-step process.

The grout is now not quite level with the tops of the rocks. Standing in the shower with wet, bare feet is fine. In fact, I feel very secure. This is not a slippery floor.

You might have read at the bottom of the post I referred to above that our cat, Emma, had been peeing in the shower. The essential oils didn't work, the (expensive) odor remover/cleaner didn't work. But Cindy posted an excellent suggestion. She said her sister made tents from aluminum foil to keep her cats off of the furniture. So far, this is working – many thanks to Cindy!


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FYI – I used heavy duty foil which is a little wider than the normal foil. It's not lovely, but it's not awful either.

 

Why do I hear water running?

That's what I was thinking last night as I was moving towels from the washer to the dryer. It was 8:35 PM, I had gotten up from the movie and my sewing, and I heard water. I thought: "Water is running, somewhere. Is the sprinkler system on? Why is the sprinkler on?"

I said to Steve: "I hear water running." And he said "You turned the dishwasher on."

And I thought "I didn't turn the dishwasher on. You turned it on – and you forgot that you did." Honestly, ladies, isn't that what you would think too? So, with the dryer now on, I went to the kitchen. The dishwasher was not on. I felt bad for assuming that Steve was so forgetful and then I thought, "why do I hear water?"

I walked through the living room and into my studio, headed for the bedroom and bathroom. It sounded like Steve was in the shower, except that he was sitting there, on the sofa. Just about then, I stepped into hot water. I speeded up, and rounded the corner as the water was getting deeper and deeper. 

Did I take a picture? No, I did not. If I was younger, much younger, I would have been snapping away :-). You will have to imagine a waterfall, like this:


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flowing out from under the cabinet door under this sink:


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Many things happened in rapid succession:

  • I hollered to Steve.
  • I probably used a 4-letter word. Maybe more than once.
  • I pulled open the cabinet door, knowing that there is a shut-off knob.
  • Hot, hot hot water spilled out and my glasses must have fogged up because I couldn't see anything. And the water was HOT. And I my feet were in lots of water!
  • I suggested (probably loudly) that Steve should GO OUTSIDE AND TURN OFF THE WATER!!! He did. The waterfall stopped.
  • I called, and then texted Rick, our contractor. 
  • I called Chris – 'HELP!"
  • Steve and I got towels and 5 gallon buckets. I was thinking that we'd wring the water out into the buckets. Not a great idea. The water was 1/2"-1" deep and covered the bedroom and half of my studio. 
  • Steve got the Shop-Vac. Great idea! I got the extension cord.
  • Rick called, said he and Juan were coming.
  • Chris showed up with lots of towels. He and I and Steve got busy.


(Sidebar: Steve read this and said that he was the one who got to the bathroom first. He's probably right. Memory is such a funny thing. That would explain why, when I said that I don't remember what I saw under the sink… it's because he had already looked at it. But I know I looked too 🙂 – and I'm sure I suggested that he go outside to turn off the water. I think.)

We had the majority of the water off of the floor before Rick and Juan got here, by around 9:10 PM. All things considered, that was pretty fast.

This is the culprit. The (naked) end of the black plastic hose should be connected to the thing at the top of the oval knob on the left. That is the hot water supply. With the hose off, and the water on, water shot up and to the right like a hot geyser.

 
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We store our toilet paper in this area. It's funny, but as we were sopping up the mess I kept wondering what the little bits of paper were. It was the toilet paper that was dispersed with the water! Weird.

The bathroom and kitchen sink fixtures are top of the line. We got them not at a big box store, but at a local plumbing supply. I love them. However, Rick said that he's seen this sort of problem once before with the same sort of fixture. The connector on these is different. We may be changing our sink fixtures, to ones with an old-school sort of connector. For now, the water is turned off in both bathrooms and (most of the time) to the kitchen fixture.

By 10:00, all of the water was sopped up, Rick and Juan were gone, and Steve and Chris and I had fortified ourselves with a bit of good scotch. All of us had fingers crossed that we had gotten the water up soon enough to save the floors.

Got up this morning to realize that the floor (in half the hallway, our bedroom, and my studio) is toast. I took photos. With the flash, the color is good but it's harder to see the damage.


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The color is bad, but you can see that the edges of the planks are curling up:


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You know, this floor cost too much money to live with it this way. I have no idea how they are going to get it off of the slab (because the glue is more than strong) but there must be a way.

We went to OKC this morning to visit Steve's family. We came home to many, many loads of wet towels.

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I have a blog post already written for Monday morning so you won't see news of this in that post. I will, however, let you know what happens.