Sweat Equity: How we spent our autumn vacation… again! Week Two

Sweat Equity: How we spent our autumn vacation… again!

The Bathroom Renovation

Sunday, September 8, Day Eight

A beautiful sunny day! After breakfast Attila and I got busy. I headed for the city and the big box stores with a list. Attila worked on framing in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, and installing the drywall around the opening.

Then, after a quick lunch, we jumped in the car and headed out to Terra and Lares place for a visit. They have a wonderful view from their house, overlooking a vista of open water.

I washed laundry and hung it out to dry on Terra’s clothes line. There was a stiff breeze coming off the water, which really helped to dry the clothes while we were there.

Terra and I sat chatting for a bit, felt chilly and moved to the back yard, which is protected from the wind coming off the water. We had a lovely visit, Terra and I.

Attila and Lares headed for the bush on ATVs to cut firewood. They came back a few hours later with a load to be stacked. As Attila stacked wood, Lares and his brother proceeded to install a metal roof on the new wood shed, that Lares recently built.

After gathering in the dry laundry, and folding it, I found Attila, and off we went home to continue on our bathroom renovation. After we arrived home we ate a lovely supper of herbed fish, boiled new beets, boiled new potatoes and corn niblets. Right after our meal Attila was back in the bathroom mudding drywall and planning out the vanity plumbing for the next day.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Another early morning, quick breakfast and right into the bathroom renovation. The vanity was brought into the bathroom for measuring, and discussion. It fits very nicely into the bathroom. We chose a vanity, and a sink, that are only twelve inches deep. The water tap will be installed to the left of the sink. Since the sink is so small there is no backsplash, which could create water problems as water splashes up when washing hands etc. We decided the that a backsplash is necessary behind the sink.

Attila finished installing the rest of the drywall around the vanity area, and finished caulking around the window.

The drywall around the vanity is installed, the caulking around the window is done and drywall mudding has begun.
DSCF3323 mudding and caulking

We spent the afternoon shopping. First we went to the building supply store in town to return a variety of plumbing hardware pieces we did not end up using. Then we filled our cart with PVC window trim, more caulking, window edging and other bits and bobs for the plumbing. Then we headed to the big box stores in the city to search out the materials we could not find at the local store.

We found a large rectangular tile that will serve well as a backsplash for the sink, at a big box store. Then we revisited the Restore and found a perfect globe for one of the ceiling fixtures, used, for $2.00 and a whole bag of screws and such like. The inventory changes daily at the Restore, so you just never know what you might find there!

One last visit to Winners to look for a shower curtain. Terra and Lares have a lovely shower curtain that is heavy gage and does not “float” around as the air moves while having a hot shower. I wanted to buy one just like it, but there were no more. I tried four different stores with no success. Then we visited Winners, and found a heavy gage shower liner that will do nicely, at a very reasonable price.

As far as materials are concerned, I think we are on the home stretch for the bathroom! Everything is new, either brand new or new to us. I am shocked at how many bits and bobs are involved in successfully installing a bathroom which is up to code!

What I am looking forward to most is having my first shower in the new bathroom. We are still several days work away from that goal!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Attila did more mudding and sanding this morning, then painted most of the walls with primer. After that dried he applied another coat of paint, in preparation for installing the tub surround. While paint dried Attila is busy with fiddly bits, like the layers required to finish the window, and the plumbing for the vanity. He likes to work on a lot of things at the same time, so he is in his element.

Attila offered to spend time temporarily installing the fixtures in the bathroom, so that I could have a bath. It was a tough decision for me, should I agree to what might be a significant delay in getting the tub truly functional with an installed surround and framed window; or should I bite the bullet, spot wash at the kitchen sink, let my hair do whatever it is doing while waiting for a good wash, and see the project through till this evening, when I might be able to take a more relaxing bath, in a finished tub. Either way, it is a gamble, so I opted to forging ahead with the tub surround, hoping to take a real bath at the end of the day.

Primer coat of paint applied, when it dried Attila will begin installing the tub surround!
DSCF3327 primer before tub surround

The five tomato plants in the garden have yielded quarts and quarts of ripe, luscious fruit. The yield is high enough that eating the tomatoes fresh just would not keep up with the supply. I peeled and quartered a few quarts into a saucepan. Since it is extremely hot and humid, the hot plate was set up on the back porch, and the tomatoes brought to a boil and cooled in the great outdoors. When they had cooled they were poured into a mason jar and refrigerated for a spaghetti sauce, to be made later in the week when the weather cools down.

We have a yellow jacket nest in the foundation of the house, just at the front corner, at the driveway where we park the car. They are a small and angry nest, very active and aggressive. Attila sprayed the next at night, but it is too deep within the foundation to reach with spray. I have devised a little plastic tunnel to place over the entry to the next, which will be lined with paper towels soaked with wasp spray. I am hoping that they will perish upon exit and entry. Tonight I will tack the tunnel over the entry point and see what happens tomorrow. My homemade device may or may not work, but it is worth a try.

My homemade yellow jacket tunnel of death.
DSCF3326 homemade wasp tunnel of death

Yellow Jackets are our next unwelcome housemates that need to be evicted. We rid the house of chipmunks, mice and now we are working towards evicting all the Yellow Jacket wasps. We will be using trial and error methods until we succeed.

I got my bath!

The tub surround is almost on! When the last panel is installed, Attila will temporarily install the faucet and tap handle, so that I can take a bath!
DSCF3331 tub surround install

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The vacation progresses.

The bathroom is taking shape, slowly but surely. At the end of the today, this is what we are looking at.
DSCF3339 tub surround almost

Attila spent the day mudding and painting in the bathroom. There is still much to be done.

To be installed still:
medicine cabinet
roof vent for fan
ceiling fan
ceiling light
one small section of drywall
window trim
tub fixtures permanently installed
ceiling trim
new heating vent

And we need to:
paint floor
paint walls

By Saturday, our last full day here, it may be possible to take a shower! I truly hope so!

The sink and vanity still need to be installed. The roof vent for the fan needs to be installed. The rest of the drywall, one small panel, needs to be installed. The tub surround needs to be caulked. The window trim needs to be installed.

He also dismantled an Ikea child’s bed that Luna and Janus had donated to our little house. The Grandbabies haven’t slept here since, so it is not really needed here, in this tiny house. However, Terra’s new house is huge, and she does have quite a few visitors, so we decided to re-donate the bed to Terra. Attila delivered it to Terra’s house in the afternoon.

The weather was hot and muggy, truly ugly weather in my book. We have not been cooking indoors the last few days due to the hot weather. While out “go-fering” on the bathroom project, which is how I am spending my vacation, I found my ideal propane BBQ. It is a Napoleon BBQ, small, with a side burner. The side burner is a must, so that we can easily cook outside when the weather it hot. I have “champagne taste, and a beer bottle budget, as they say. The Napoleon BBQ cost $599 on sale. I stopped to look at it again.

As I was heading for the check out counter with my small purchase for the bathroom, I bumped into a row of propane BBQs that were on sale. And there, in a stacked box, was a small BBQ with a side burner for $139. It wasn’t a high quality item, but I knew it would work for us, possibly for a decade or more. I asked a clerk for help getting the box onto a cart, and then into the car. Then I headed home with my shopping list complete, a laundry tub for the basement and a propane BB@.

The rest of my day was spent in the back yard assembling said BBQ, it took hours and hours to build it from the box. When I was finished Attila immediately used the burner to fry potatoes, onions and peppers, and at the same time BBQ a few hot dogs. Now we can cook outdoors when it is hot. Attila loves to cook, no instant food for him, not if he can help it. This will make him very happy for many years to come.

At the end of the day we headed out to Terra and Lares house for dinner and a visit. Dinner was delicious, Terra makes a terrific macaroni and cheese! And then we watched the light show, lightning! There was a storm warning in effect, so we sat in the cooling evening, enjoying the breeze, the crickets and the flashing skies. The storm didn’t arrive in full force, so we had the show without the consequences.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Attila painted the floor area where the vanity was to be installed, installed the vanity, the sink, the sink faucet, the sink backsplash, the medicine cabinet, and hooked up the water supply.

Things are beginning to come together int he bathroom. The vanity, sink and plumbing were installed today. The medicine cabinet went in, and part of the window trim was installed. We need more trim, I will have to “go-fer” it tomorrow!
DSCF3343 sink lights

Attila also installed the ceiling light fixture, and completed the installation of the wall mounted lights.

While Attila was busy with the nitty gritty of the renovation, I went shopping, that is Terra and I went shoppiong. Well, not exactly shopping, because what I really wanted to do was to take the very, very large and heavy CRT television, given to us by Luna and Janus, to be recycled. I tried to give it away at the Salvation Army store, but they would not take it and suggested the Restore down the road, where they recieve old televisions for recycling. The Restore accepted it gladly and even moved it out of the car for me, as it was well beyond my capability to get it out of trunk.

While at the Restore I purchased a case of very inexpensive exterior caulking, which we will use to seal the bottom of the siding, and other openings where wasps enter and build nests. Terra, on the other hand, made a fantastic find of a truly beautiful dining room light fixture. It was a real bargain, at $10! She also purchased trim for her living room door. We headed home after that, to see what Attila had accomplished.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The day began with a quick trip to the building center, for more window trim and some light bulbs. Attila finished mudding and sanding the last wall of the bathroom.

The trim on the window was completed and caulked, to seal it well as it is located in the shower! The ceiling trim was installed, and another coat of paint was applied to the walls.

Attila cut the lawn today, for the first time since we arrived. Just in time it was, because we are leaving the day after tomorrow. While the lawn was being cut, I grabbed a bucket of hot soapy water and washed the car and hub caps. The car was very, very dirty!

Attila finished off his evening by applying yet another layer of paint on the walls, installing the shower curtain, installing the shower head, and permanently installing the tub fixtures. His goal is that it will be ready for my first shower tomorrow morning! Go, Attila, Go!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

First thing this morning I hung the shower curtain, and had a hot shower! Oh, the luxury!

I can see that we will need to cover the window while showering, for two reasons. First and foremost, to protect the window from water, which bounces off the body. Second, for privacy. As I stood showering I could watch all the business of the neighbourhood, the window is level with my neck, allowing me a great view. However, if I can see them, they can see me, and I do not fancy making eye contact with a neighbour as I am shampooing my hair.

This is the last day of our vacation. Attila was under orders: no renovating! We ate a leisurely breakfast, relaxed with our morning coffee and decided to visit a nearby provincial park. A picnic lunch was packed.

Just as we were ready to go, Attila suggested we paint the the bathroom floor so that it could dry while we were away. I couldn’t resist, the paint has to be applied in three coats. So, coat one went on just before we walked out the door, so that it would be dry when we got back from our outing.

The day was perfect. The sun shone brightly, the bright blue sky stretched endlessly into the distance and clouds floated lazily in gauzy strips.

We paid our fee and stopped along the roadside in the park, to peruse the map and choose a hiking trail. The first trail we walked was 2 km long. It took us through cedar woods, and along an inland stream.

Looking down on the stream from a lookout point.
DSCF3385 sand dunes

After our hike, we were ready for our picnic. We found a table in the shade near the beach. The wind coming off the water was brisk and cold. There were people in bathing suits, but we were wearing jackets. The view was wonderful as we sat eating our sandwiches.

The view from our picnic table, as we were eating our picnic.
DSCF3474 the beach

The second trail we hiked was 2.5 km long and had some challenging sections through sand. It took us through dying pine forests, which are in the process of being destroyed by a type of wasp. We also hiked up and down and dunes, and along the side of a marsh. We were tired when we arrived back at the car, so we indulged in some lovely Coronation grapes, cool and delicious from our cooler.

After we arrived home I started up the BBQ for hamburgers, and we relaxed in front of the the telly (Youtube), watching an episode of Inspector Linley.

As I cleaned the BBQ and washed up the dishes, Attila dismantled the old vanity, which had been sitting in a heap in the back yard. The rotting boards were pile on the deck for later disposal and the sink stored int he garage until I have a chance to donate it to the Restore for reuse.

After relaxing for a short while, Attila was keen to get a few more small jobs done on the bathroom renovation. Tonight he will finish sanding the last wall and apply the primer paint. He will also apply caulking along the ceiling trim. Me, well I will be fast asleep as he goes to town on his projects. Terra is dropping in for a coffee after she finishes her night shift, and I want to be wide awake so that I can enjoy my time with her. Attila loves to sleep in, so that is how he can spend his morning. He will have earned it!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

We are rushing through our last few hours at the little house, our vacation is over. The renovation lives on, it has a life of its own. This morning I returned some of the materials we had purchased for a ceiling fan in the bathroom. That project will not be tackled this year. There are more parts to return, but I do not have the receipts with me, as they were purchased during my last lone visit to the little house, and the receipts are filed at the country house.

This morning I arose later than I had hoped, and missed a visit from Terra. She came after work, arriving about ten minutes before I woke up, and when we did not answer her knock, she headed home. I was disappointed that I had slept in! However, after working all night, it was probably a better idea for Terra to head home and get some rest.

Attila slept in, as he had stayed up late into the night finishing the sanding and ceiling trim. He spent the rest of the visit cutting the hole for the heating vent, and applying another coat of paint to the last wall. He tidied up his tools, and began to set things aside to be packed into the car for our long drive home. Just as we are leaving, Attila will apply another coat of floor paint to the bathroom floor; then there will only be one coat left to apply before it is finished.

We will still need a new shower curtain rod, the old one is badly worn, and baseboards. It is looking wonderful and bathing is an enjoyable experience for the first time in three years, since we purchased the house!

Well, here it is, white and wonderful! Still a few things to do, but nothing expensive and nothing crucial. It needs a curtain of sorts to protect the window during showers, and baseboards, and one more coat of paint on the floor. These are all “pick-up” jobs, in that they can be picked up and worked on, then put down and left as they are indefinitely. The high pressure renovation is over!!!! Hooray!
DSCF3543 bathroom Sept 15

I am unspeakably glad that the bathroom is all but finished. It ate up all but one day of our vacation. Thank goodness we managed a few visits with Terra and Lares, and one visit to a Provincial Park for a picnic.

The front porch was a non-starter. Renovations always take more time than estimated. The front porch will be the next project, but I am hoping it will not be the intricate, detailed and time consuming work that the bathroom renovation demanded.

So, we have the kitchen partially renovated, and the bathroom totally renovated. We have worked through the last four two week vacations renovating this house. I think we need some time away from this project next year!

The drive home was uneventful. Of course, our resident royalty felt that it was all a grave injustice, being consigned to a cage in the back seat for the duration of the trip. However, when we arrived home, she again strolled out of the cage, took a quick tour of her domain, and then settled in for a much needed nap. Complaining for hours is hard work for a cat!

It is chilly, 13C, and raining hard. Attila and I stopped in town to pick up our mail, and are now unloading our gear from the car. Attila carries it in, I put it away. The only calls we received while away were from the car dealership and Attila’s Mom, she sold her house! Congratulations to her! She will be moving closer to Attila’s brother and his wife and son.

And so ends the two week odyssey of the bathroom renovation. Attila says he feels he had no vacation, I feel the same way. But Attila also says he doesn’t feel he needs a vacation, and I do not feel the same way. I guess I will just have to find a vacation to take by myself.

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Your bathroom is beautiful. I am so envious. The only thing I didn’t hear you mention was installation of a gas vent pipe. Do you need those in Canada? down here every bathroom is required to have a vent pipe to vent out gases to the exterior. That little window in the shower is so cute. I pictured hanging by wire a little stained glass panel in front of it that you could take down or put up… it would give a pop of colour and keep nosy neighbors from peeking in, too. Oh, what a beautiful job you two have done. Big cheers for you!

Joan Lansberry

That’s such a charming bathroom! You’ve done amazing work! I hope you can enjoy living a long time in this house.