Thursday, March 22, 2018

Tales of the Battle Weary Bathroom and Other Stories

Picture this.

164 year old house. 1/2 bath on first floor, in the kitchen. Literally 1/4 of the kitchen is this little 6.5 x 6.5 powder room.

Now that's okay, especially if the house is short on space... but this house isn't short on space and about 12 ft. and around the corner away is a 6.5 X 9.5 foot storage room.


So my dream, 30 years ago, was to turn the store room into a bathroom.... and add 36 square ft. + to my kitchen.

Happy, casual author on phone... :) This must be a few years old because I had to replace the appliances three years ago!!! 

Well add in lost jobs, college, six kids, weddings, more college, hairnet and nametag jobs galore and all the stuff that goes on with raising six kids on a shoestring budget....

I was going to say "fast forward 30 years" but there's nothing fast about it!!!

We are adding the bathroom... a full bath in that 6' x 9' plus-a-little space.

We tore down walls. And by we, I mean someone else. Like my son-in-law Jon....

Like husband Dave....

And when the floor had to be torn up, it was son Seth...

A real family project! :)

But the install was all hired... I hired wonderful electricians.... wonderful plumbers...  Check out those old wooden beams that frame this old place... and the old 2X4's which aren't really 2X4's... but it works!

and a great wood-man/finisher.... The roughed in plumbing got done... the electric got done, with a new panel box in the basement! Fewer circuit breakers tripped!

This is what construction looked like in 1854. The solid beam marking the house corner braces 12" beams that mark the first floor ceiling and the second floor above.... There's the box for the thermostat for the heated floor. A heated floor up north is a new luxury that just made sense.

Such beautiful construction... and we (meaning I) decided to leave part of that corner beam visible so folks can see it...

This new wall was added around 1950... Look how perfect that wood looks for almost 70 years old??? The electric will be switches for fan, mirror light, overhead light and outlets. We were ready to get started! YIPPEE!!!

And then the tub came in damaged....

I had to send it back.

Only there were no more in stock and while they thought more would come in... they didn't.

So I switched to another tub.

Waited anxiously because now the finish renovator is ready to work.

It comes in!

We happy dance!

We cheer! We yell! We whoop it up!

Nice plumber returns and installs tub.... Shows me that it works and that it's happy and that it's level, a nice whirlpool tub that will be great for Farmer Dave at the end of a busy day in the fields.

Tub cracks.


Spider crack appears in top and spreads...

Tub must be removed.

Home Depot will come and pick up tub.  Will send another tub.

Nice contractor loses a week of work time.

Ruthy sighs... not because of the tub, the tub can be replaced, but all this lost time is lost money for a small business owner and Ruthy understands that small business owners NEED ALL THE LOVE THEY CAN GET.

No one has a replacement tub to fit in stock.

Home Depot doesn't have a fiberglass repair guy....

New tub is supposed to come in by next week....

And that's my story.

And I'm sticking to it.

Because the tub is big, it needs to go in before the tiling and wainscoting can be done.

Project on hold.

Pass the beer nuts.


Reporting to you from the site of the second damaged bathtub, this is Ace Reporter Ruthy the Meisterburger. Returning you now to your regularly scheduled programming!

(note to all... this is because I thought I was soooo organized, but now I know that no matter how organized you are, stuff happens.


And the world won't end, but our sweet buddy Peter is now twiddling his thumbs because our messed up time frame messed up his time frame.  Except I have him building me a window seat for my office... Trying to keep the poor man busy because his next job is about 90 minutes south and there's no jumping back-and-forth from there to here!

Next week is Holy Week. We should have kittens. We should not have as much snow.

We'll see if that prognostication holds true!

In the meantime it's been ridiculously cold here (12 degrees at 3:45 this morning)... but with bright, sunny days which should mean a great maple syrup run, and there's nothing like real maple syrup from the Northeast woodlands!


  1. Murphy's law has abounded! I hope the newest tub comes in and does not give Peter any more problems. I am looking forward to Holy Week in my new church! God Bless!


    1. Oh, Debb, I'm with you! I just feel so bad that we're wasting his time... and we know that if he has to jump to another job, then this gets put on hold until he can get back here.... In the end it will get done and be lovely, but two tubs!!! EEEK!

  2. Reporter Ruthy, I'm sorry about your broken tub adventures. You are so right, stuff happens! I hope a perfect tub will find it's way to you soon.
    A window seat sounds wonderful.
    Do you make your own Maple syrup too?

    1. Andrea, we made maple syrup a few times, but it's a huge job and so we decided to focus on stuff we're good at... and we buy NY or Vermont maple syrup locally... We've got a lot of good NYS syrup producers now, so that's lovely!

      The window seat was on next winter's agenda... a built-in window seat and bookshelves in the office. My young buddy Christina and I painted the office in the attic last winter... and we were THIS CLOSE to having it neat and clean, but then we kind of needed it for storage for part of the year... so now we're proceeding with half the project because how nice would it be to sit in a cozy, sunny window mid-winter and read a great book???

  3. Ruthy, my upstate friend, you have no idea how thoroughly I understand your renovation woes. And your tub was my kitchen sink. And powder bath vanity. The vanity is still a work in progress. But isn't it a great feeling to be giving new life to something most people would consider old and worn out? Not worth saving. I love the idea of keeping part of that beam exposed. That's character.

    And 12 degrees?!!!! Eyeyeye... We're enjoying 70's. But then, I'll still be sweltering in October while you're reveling in a blessedly crisp fall.

    1. Mindy, I hear you loud and clear. Your job was monstrous.... so this pales by comparison. Five years ago we added the family room and had everything re-roofed.... THAT WAS A CRAZY CONSTRUCTION ZONE year, and then they messed up the roof and had to come back and re-do half of it... and they did it, and didn't even really argue... because the crew chief on the job had a drug problem and didn't check work. That was bad, but thank heavens the room contractor realized what was going on and checked the roof before we got to winter.... and he took them up on the roof and showed them the holes... so a whole new crew, new tear-off, new roof.... which extended the construction time (with 7 little kids running around, summer, avoiding nails and thrown debris...) So this is minor comparatively, I was just so excited to be getting it done! BIG GRIN AT THE VERY THOUGHT OF IT!!! A real bathroom, like normal folks have! :)

  4. Sorry for your bath remodel woes. We are about to remodel two bathrooms so now I am really scared! We rented an 1850 farmhouse in anew York some years ago. The bathroom had been added on. No heat in the bathroom! 50 degrees max in winter.

    1. Carrie, that's part of the reason for the heated floor... It's cold up here, mid-winter! And a cold floor is a shock to the aging systems, LOL! And honestly, I made sure everything was in order, that all the workers/craftsmen were on board. That everything was here except the tub.... and so it begins, LOL! In the end it will be great... but just so you know, the best laid plans don't always go according to those plans. Aye Caramba!

  5. I feel like I just watched an episode of fixer upper, and I love it. I'm so happy you are finally realizing your 30 year dream! Carry on oh fearless one! I can't wait for the final pictures!

    1. Tracey.... I love Fixer Upper SO MUCH!!!! They're just so stinkin' adorable, and now I have to go to Waco and shop at the silos and buy baked goods....

      I love Chip and Joanna!

  6. And this just has to go into a book so you can write it all off for tax purposes -- research, you know!

    1. Absolutely! Someone, somewhere is going to get FICTIONAL problems with a renovation, and I might just be writing that story now!!! :)

  7. Nothing is ever as easy as it looks on paper!

    But the bathroom will be beautiful. And worth it.

    And just think - you get a lovely window seat!

    1. See, this is the Pollyanna side. I love that side! I love it so much!!! And I can be patient. I've already waited a while, right?

      But the guilt of holding up the guys... and the poor plumbers are probably SICK OF SEEING ME!!!!!

      I'll make them cookies.

      I did tell them they could coyote hunt here. Think that will assuage their angst over multiple returns???? :)

  8. I'm so sorry for the second tub disaster! I sure hope it arrives soon. And hope you stay warm and don't get too much snow!! Crazy spring weather.

    1. It is crazy spring here, for certain. And the new tub is on its way from wherever.... and hopefully will arrive here soon???? That's the hope. And Peter just called me, he's coming by tomorrow to work on the window seat... so that's good, right?

  9. Renovations never seem to go as planned. Sorry all the woes but a great report, Ruthy, and one of these days this adventure might play into one of those fabulous stories. Blessings as we head into Holy Week.