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the haas machine: October 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Making Due

We have one "official" bathroom. Well, one & a 1/3 maybe. Since we've been remodeling our bathroom upstairs, we've become quite cozy with our 1/3 of a bathroom that we keep hidden in the basement. It's actually kind of a funny how before we started working upstairs, I don't think I used the bathroom basement once. Not once! Mostly because it was a little dark & intimidating... maybe even a little bit scary! Plus, we had a fully functioning bathroom upstairs, so why not use that one? I know, I'm a wimp.

But when we took the toilet & sink out upstairs, that sealed my fate. I would either have to use the basement bathroom, or try & break in to our neighbor's outhouse (they keep it locked with a chain... we live in a strange neighborhood). So I've sucked it up & use the bathroom downstairs, which actually kinda resembles an outhouse (minus the smell). And what about showering, you ask? Well that's another fun adventure. When John's mom & grandma came to visit us (just days before embarking on this remodeling journey), they helped us rig up a (nearly) fully functioning shower. There are some tricky things to remember when showering at our house:
  1. Make sure you turn on the hot water & let it run approximately 5 minutes before you want to shower.
  2. Turn the valve off (so the water actually shuts off) so that the "tub" can adequately empty itself before you actually shower (if we were to keep the water running the entire time, it would flood our basement-- we have a small drain in the floor).
  3. While you are waiting to let the tub drain, kill some time... like 5 more minutes. Notice the many hair balls that need sweeping. Fold some laundry. Gather your showering items.
  4. If you are 5'9" or less, make sure you wear some thickly-soled sandals so you can reach the water valve to turn on/shut off the water.
  5. Hop on in the tub, but make sure all the magnets are stuck to the walls of the tub or you will have a big watery mess to clean up afterwards.
  6. Turn on the water for 10-15 seconds to wet your hair. Shut off the water (for fear of overflowing again). Wash hair & body. Turn on water to rinse. Shut off water. Condition. Turn on water to rinse.
  7. Hop out of tub. Run across the basement to the clothesline we've rigged up for our towels because you forgot to get it ahead of time.
  8. Make sure you rinse the tub, remove hair balls, & squeegee the floor.
This all takes at least 40 or so minutes, so gone are the days when I'd say, "I'm going to quick jump in the shower!" And if I want to shave my legs? Yeah, that's another story. I'll save you from the exact details, but it involves sitting on my washing machine & using our utility sink.

My only worry? That John actually kind of likes this set up! I think he is just starting to get annoyed with it now (& especially since it's getting colder & our basement is freezing!), which is good news. When he's fed up with something, projects happen more quickly.... we're hoping to have the bathroom in working order this weekend, but until then, we'll continue to make due!


This is our lovely rigged up shower & "tub" to catch the water (there are tiny holes drilled in it so that it can drain nicely out to our floor drain).

Disorganization is killing me! Here is where we keep our showering items (notice the thickly-soled sandals!)

The intimidating outhouse-style basement bathroom.
I tried to pretty it up a little bit with some fabric...

This is the valve (in the shower) that allows you to turn on/shut off the water. At least we're saving on our water bill, right?

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Leg Two: Reconstruction

We are presently in the second phase of our triathlon... the reconstruction phase. As many of you know, I like to create lofty goals.... someone wise once told me that when you create goals they should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, & have some sort of timeline). I'm great at making SMAT goals. In other words, I can be really specific about what I want to happen, create some way to measure that goal, attain it eventually & give it a time.... but realistic? Hmm, I've got some work to do on that one.

Usually my bathroom goals go something like this: Tonight we will measure the walls for new trim, return the sink that is too big & buy a new one (we won't buy anything else), return all of the other materials that we thought we needed but don't, put the grout on the tile floor, finish sanding the walls, & paint them. Be in bed before 11pm.

The reality: Spend 2 hours at Menards, spend $125 more dollars on things we think we need, order the sink because there aren't any in stock, come home & realize we forgot to measure the walls for the new trim, measure the walls for new trim, go back to Menards, spend more money, come home again & realize we should eat dinner, eat s frozen pizza (does not equal dinner), realize it's too late to start grouting, take 1 hour to clean up & shower, fall into bed well past midnight.

Well this might be a bit of an exaggeration, but it's not far off. As any one who ever has remodeled or has built a house understands, there is always WAY more to do that you realize. There will always be unexpected things you need to replace. It will always cost you way more than you think.

For me, I know that I need to be more OK with what we get done. Sure it's great to create goals-- I just need to be more realistic with what we can get done (& still go to our jobs during the day, take time out to feed ourselves real food, do ministry, & make sure our dog isn't getting into all of our garbage cans because he's retaliating from lack of attention).

That being said, enjoy some "reconstruction" photos!

Here is John with his very first window that he installed all by himself! I'm so proud of him! (& he's very proud too)

Finally! We get a glimpse of what it's going to look like. I love this tile...

Here is the corner by the bathtub.

And this is the view into the bathroom from the hallway.

And the view of the hallway from the bathroom. Poor Hartley wants us to be done with this bathroom & bring him on a walk already! If only he could help us grout...

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Demolition Pictures


The lovely asbestos tiles, which were under the laminate flooring. We had to pry these both off the floor before we could start tiling.

John working at prying up layer #3 of the flooring (we originally weren't going to mess with the floor that much, but had to because it was warped in some areas)

John finishing with layer #4. After he was done with this, he decided to pry up another layer, just for fun (so 5 total layers of flooring!)

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Marriage Triathlon: Bathroom Remodeling

Saturday August 7th: John & Gillian, meet Menards-- otherwise known as the $100 club. A place where you can spend big money, & visit numerous times in one week. A place that reminds you of your growing to-do list of projects that need completing. A place that is wearing off the numbers of your prized REI Visa card. Menards meet John & Gillian--deeply in love, eager home-owners. They enjoy the many facets of completing a task near perfection & challenge each other's persistence to finish said projects. They enjoy good design, which is not something they find all too often with their quaint 900-square foot home nestled near downtown La Crosse.

The challenge? It's a marriage triathlon: Bathroom remodeling!
  1. Leg one: Demolition
  2. Leg two: Reconstruction
  3. Leg three: (near) Perfection
Leg One:
It all started when I (Gillian), in preparation for my new mother-in-law & grand mother -in-law's first visit, was doing a bit of "touching up" along the window in our treasured 1950's style bathroom (think aqua tiles). I somehow managed to bump the small shelf that acted as a soap holder & much to my dismay, it fell completely off the wall, along with chunks of wet, crumbly something. Even worse, there was a medium-sized, middle class family of mold enjoying the warm, moist climate.

For the time being, I cleverly covered the mold with some plastic wrap & duct tape. It did the trick until we had more time to investigate what to do... nearly a week later, we found ourselves roaming around the daunting aisles of Menards, picking out tile, figuring out what grout would match, discovering there were not 1 or 2 kinds of mortar, but hundreds! And like we've ever done anything like this before? Heck no!

John, in all his brilliance, spend hours researching & chatting with the Menards' employees, & we finally gathered all the materials we would need to start the project. We really had no idea what was ahead of us, but as we started tearing out the tile, we noticed that it was very easy. Too easy... the entire wall under the window was soft & rotten. OK, so we need to replace the wall, too, not just the tile. Then we found the window to be a probable cause in some of the leaking.... I guess we'll replace that sucker, too.... & this went on & on... (& is still going on & on, I might add).

We had no idea that when we signed up to remodel our bathroom that we were in fact signing ourselves up for our very first marriage triathlon. It's amazing what comes out of you when it's 11pm & you've had your arms elbow-deep in mortar for 14 hours & you can't remember what you've eaten all day & you smell like a wildebeest & you have to spend at least an hour cleaning up & a good 45 minutes showering (because you have a rigged up shower in the basement that is tricky to use-- more on that later) before you can even think of going to bed. Why don't they put this in pre-marital counseling? :)

In all seriousness, our marriage is doing very well! We figure if we can still like each other after this project (we still do), then we can tackle anything that comes our way. Here are some sample pictures to indulge you... some before pics & ones during "leg one!"

This is the nasty moldy bit that was discovered after I knocked the soap shelf off the wall!
And once I kept scraping, this is what we found... more mold!

The lovely cracked white laminate flooring that just had to go!

We actually kinda liked the tiles... well they grew on us anyway... sad to see them go!

My prized bath tub, full of all the junk we tore off the wall!

The nasty wall in full demolition stage
Now I'm off to work more on the bathroom! It's our big push this week... more posting to follow!

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