Like most tales this can be traced back in time to one significant event. In my case, my saga begins with the overflowing of the toilet. Our toilet backed up into the bathtub one sunny day and then overflowed and left two inches of water on our bathroom floor; trickled down into the kitchen ceiling below then into cabinets where food and dishes were stored, and on and under the new laminate flooring we had just months before put down; and down into the basement below the kitchen and all over laundry waiting to be washed. Its delightful splashings on the way down also soaked portions of both the hallway wall-to-wall carpeting upstairs, and the wall-to-wall carpeting in the dining room (next to the kitchen). Yes, I cried. My husband moaned. We cleaned up the bathroom to prevent more water coming downstairs and then began the intense cleaning in the kitchen. There was dirty toilet water all over our dishes!!!! (I’m still horrified.)
Luckily for us, I have a friend who works for an insurance company in her country and said, “Um…your homeowner’s policy should cover that.” Before the last strains of the angels singing the “Halleluiah Chorus” faded away we had an appointment with our insurance adjuster to come see the damage. This wonderful woman heard our tale of woe and scribbled on her clipboard that we would be getting a new bathroom floor, new kitchen cabinets, new kitchen floor and ceiling and intense cleaning of the carpeting in the hallway and the entire downstairs. She also told us that the work we did or do will also go toward our deductible. (I love that woman.) The new work was also contingent upon the plumbing being repaired, and Hubby had taken care of that.
Hubby said since we were getting new flooring in the bathroom we should really replace the bathtub before the flooring goes in so we don’t ruin it. I conceded. I conceded before we realized that the tub we had was cast iron. We removed the wall (tileboard and rotted drywall) around the tub, and then lifted the tub out of position. Yeah right. That was the plan; however, hubby and I couldn’t move it at all. Plan B, after talking to the contractor and some friends, was that hubby don gloves and goggles and try to smash it with a sledgehammer. My job during this was to keep the kids away, keep the door closed and sneak in to take pictures.
Hubby smashed away and you can only imagine the noise as well as the tiny flying shards of porcelain shrapnel in the air. About twenty minutes into the project hubby emerges from the bathroom covered in sweat and porcelain dust, dirty and bleeding (from the shards of porcelain) and says we need a new toilet. I am thinking that he meant because the old one would look weird next to a new tub. He informs me he accidentally hit it on the backswing with the sledgehammer and we just need a new toilet. (Migraine, anyone?)
So….bathtub destroyed, we carry out the larger pieces that are amazingly still heavy, and uninstall the toilet and carry that out. We work for hours sweeping, hauling, sweeping, hauling, and sweeping until finally the bathroom is looking beaten up, bruised and empty. It’s a sad sight.
We buy a new bathtub and toilet quickly wearing out our new DIY store credit card, and install them almost effortlessly after what we had just been through, then find out we need cement backerboard around the bathtub if we’re going to tile. Back to the DIY store. Hubby buys the cement backerboard and screws and we cut and install that. And, hey, did we choose tiles? Back to the DIY store for tiles, mortar and grout…and also a new faucet for the bathtub.
I showed hubby how to screw some wood into the wall to hold up the first laid row of tile, and I put up half the tub surround tiles. Hubby did the other half and then I showed him how to grout. (I showed him, because, after all, I was the one who saw it on tv!) I did half and he did half and then he was nice enough to wipe it down and clean up himself. We put in accent tiles around the bathtub itself and around the faucets (that’s cheating). Hubby installed the new faucets. After we finished in the bathroom the flooring people invite us over to choose the new flooring. We do and think “YAY”. We go home and hubby decides that we should just go ahead and tile the rest of the bathroom walls too. I roll my eyes and tell hubby to knock himself out. He does. We also had a weird empty space behind the tub. Hubby builds a “box” thing and tiles that too. (We use it to hold clean towels and a candle for my bubble baths.)
Eventually, the walls are tiled and then the flooring guys show up but say “we didn’t have enough of that flooring you chose so we brought these”. Oy vey! Hubby, kids and I go to the van to decide on new flooring. We pick one and they bring it right in the house and put it in. They also install the baseboards. Finally!
The kitchen is stripped as much as needed and hubby and I take out old ceiling tiles. The next day the contractors come in and install the new ceiling tiles. The cabinet man comes, measures and a couple days later brings new cabinets he built himself to install. A couple days later the painter comes and paints them to match the others I’ve already painted.
Two weeks or so after all of that the carpet cleaning people come and clean my carpets. I am amazed. Four months, eleven hours of laundry (it was a pile of comforters and bedding), three and a half hours of cleaning, plus removing the old kitchen ceiling tiles, and repeatedly removing the toilet and reinstalling it for the flooring people later – eventually everything is done. Finished….and the house begins to feel once again like a home. We even came out $68.00 ahead.
During the four months we were enduring the bathroom and kitchen fiasco we also had men outside waiting for parts/building/waiting for more parts/rebuilding a sun room on the back of our house. But that’s another story. Did I mention that the bathtub is leaking next to the parts Hubby had to fix and is leaking onto the new kitchen ceiling tiles? THAT, too, is another story!