Getting Ready to Wash

Yesterday was a work day at the little house in the city. I began the day by calling Attila via Skype, just after 5 a.m.,just to say good morning. The call was a little ray of sunshine, very brief, very pleasant.

Next on the agenda was a hot cup of coffee, which I sipped as I read my email and perused the news on the computer. This was followed by a light breakfast of orange juice, toast and peanut butter, which is a handy meal, lacking in imagination, but fulfilling the nutritional needs of the morning.

After changing into work cloths, an old pair of trousers and a ragged twenty year old t-shirt, I stepped into the bathroom and surveyed the project. It was my intention to begin gutting the bathroom.

It was a long, hot day. I worked hard, hauling out the debris as I dismantled the existing structures; drywall and tile board, nails and screws, all of it went out to the back porch to be piled neatly against the house, ready for a trip to the landfill site. I clean as I go along, for me that reduces the feeling of chaos, and lets me feel in control. It also means that after taking a break, I return to an organized work space to begin again. I like a clean and tidy work space when I am working in the physical world.

The bathroom at the little house in the city, the black areas on the back wall are mould! Almost there, only the insulation on the external wall to remove, then the flooring, then we rebuild.

The plumbing in the tub gave me a bit of puzzle. To remove the sheets of tile board and drywall, I needed to remove the plumbing fixtures.

I soon discovered, through my own flawed work flow, that turning the water supply OFF was a good idea. I had begun by attempting to remove the decorative plate around the hot/cold water handle. This was difficult because the screw was tucked up under the handle, which I had not thought to remove first. I used a nail file to unscrew the screw, but as I did so the screw pushed out the water handle in such a way that it turned on the water. So I turned the water supply off at that point. I later figured out that if I had removed the plastic water handle first, then I could have used a screwdriver to do the rest of the job. You live and learn. As it was, I had to research the removal of the plastic handle, which turned out to be an extremely simple thing to do, as it was shown on the video tutorial I found.

The tub tap was another mystery, which I did not solve. Why? Because the tile board and drywall were so rotten around the tap that they crumbled away as I worked. I could lift the sheets of tile board and drywall away without any impact on the tub tap.

The tile board was interesting to work with. It was glued to the drywall, and if I pulled on the edge of the sheet of tile board, slowly allowing my full weight to hang from my arms, the tile board would simply rip away, and detach entirely, from the drywall, leaving behind the dried glue. So the tile board came off first.

The only problem I had with the tile board was in the area behind the toilet. There it was a solid sheet, floor to ceiling, with a small hole drilled through it where the water supply to the toilet came through the wall. It was installed before the toilet was installed, and needed to come out in a solid piece, but was anchored into position by the water pipe coming out of the wall.

I tried pulling the top end of the tile board down, bending it down, hoping it would break, but it was amazingly flexible, so that would not work.

I talked with Terra about it and she dropped by on her way to work with her hand held saw. We tried the saw, but it burned the plastic of the tile board and made very little progress, only a few inches were cut before the blade became heated. So we abandoned the saw solution.

After Terra was off to work, I returned to the bathroom to look over the situation again. It looked pretty hopeless, getting that tileboard out from behind the toilet!

In frustration I grabbed the area we had sawed and attempted to rip it, like paper. And what do you know! It ripped, with some difficulty, but it ripped. So that is how it eventually came out, in small pieces ripped away a bit at a time. It took some doing and some time, but I got the job done. The ripped edges of the plastic were EXTREMELY sharp, and I ended up with a lot of cuts all over my arms. I had a look at the cuts this morning and they seem to be healing nicely, so no harm done.

That left the drywall. A previous renovator had replaced the drywall on the bottom half of the wall. The newer drywall was attached with screws, which I removed manually with a small, very small, screwdriver. After removing the screws it was just a matter of lifting the drywall off the wall and taking it out to deposit on my pile of debris.

The top half of the drywall was the original, and was attached to the studs with nails. This drywall was removed with a pry bar, in small pieces. The protruding nails were removed with a hammer.

I worked all day in that tiny space, taking frequent breaks. There were times when the sweat dripped from my brow like rain falling. Both my hands were engaged with the project and unavailable, so I was grateful that it was dripping to the floor, rather than into my eyes.

By late afternoon yesterday I had removed almost all of the tile board and drywall, nails and screws. I swept the floor, washed of the surfaces of the sink and toilet, reconstructed the tub tap and turned on the water supply. Although I seriously considered continuing, an inner voice said no, enough for today, “you are not as young as you used to be, stop before you begin to make errors, and possibly hurt yourself”.

I prepared an egg and cheese sandwich for my dinner, poured myself a glass of orange juice, and sat down in front of the fan. After calling Attila to say hello, I struggled to stay awake.

My repose was not peaceful, as I awoke several times in the night, feeling very oppressed by the heat and humidity. By 4:30 a.m. this morning I decided to rise and open every window in the house. Then I called Attila to say good morning, and here I am drinking my morning coffee and writing my journal entry.

Today I would like to remove the insulation from around the tub, and use aqueous oxygen to kill whatever mould and mildew that remains around the tub.

I will be needing to wash! Tonight, after 7 p.m. when the cost of hydro is greatly reduced, I will turn on the electric hot water tank and heat up the water to wash my hair and have a wee soak!

Bathroom renovations mean limited facilities for the duration!

Worldly Distractions


18°C (16C at the country house)
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 13 km
Temperature: 18.4°C
Dewpoint: 17.9°C
Humidity: 97%
Wind: SSW 11 km/h


“Pleasure is a by-product of doing something that is worth doing. Therefore, do not seek pleasure as such. Pleasure comes of seeking something else, and comes by the way.”
A. Lawrence Lowell
1856 – 1943

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What a job you’ve done! Congratulations.


I’m aching all over just from reading what you’ve accomplished. I have a bathroom that needs demolition and then rehabbing when you are done with yours…..


Thanks Wendy! It is one of those jobs that feels really good, when it is done! It looks worse and worse, and then will begin to look better and better. I am hoping to have the shower operational for September, although before would be better!


LOL Bex! I hope that this is my last bathroom reno! One night a few months ago I had a bad dream. I dreamed we bought a THIRD house that needed renovation. I remember thinking that we had lost our minds, and was relieved to wake up to owning only TWO houses that needed renovation. Someday I hope we finish here at the little house in the city, move here and have NO houses that need renovation! Might happen. Could happen. The universe works in mysterious ways.