Monday, April 8, 2013

The Neverending Project

I am not a handyman.

Sure, I can paint walls and wallpaper. In my late teens and early 20s, I worked in a paint and wallpaper store, and part of my duties was to redecorate the display cases and to teach customers how to spruce up their homes. Towards the end of that part-time job, I was hiring myself out to customers, offering to do the work for them, once they purchased all of the tools needed to get the job done.

Until recently, the biggest job I did in my house was to replace the awful dining-room chandelier that came with our home. In it's place, I hung a modern lamp with four halogen bulbs. I also added a dimmer switch so that we could create mood lighting when entertaining guests.

I was surprised that in the rewiring of the light fixture and switch that I didn't electrocute myself or set the house on fire.

From the day that we moved into our home, my wife and I haven't been thrilled with the vanity that came in our ensuite bathroom. Sure, it has a huge soaker tub and a separate shower stall, but the cabinets under the sink lacked on important feature: drawers.

This oversight has caused our counterspace to become cluttered to the point of sometimes not being usable. We've talked about replacing the vanity, but we were going to wait until we could afford to have someone come in and do the work.

Like my old customers who knew they weren't experienced enough to paint or wallpaper their homes, I knew I was a novice at plumbing and carpentry.

Leading up to the Easter long weekend, some friends were redoing their bathroom (having professionals do the work) and asked my wife if we were interested in their old vanity. It was in excellent shape, but they were moving to a two-sink vanity and they knew of Lori's disdain for the absence of drawer space. This vanity had his-and-hers drawers.

Lori agreed. And then she told me.

We loaded the vanity into our van (the counter top, being of marble, weighed a ton) and took it home. And then Lori expected me to dismantle our old vanity and install this newer one.

Which meant that I had to learn about plumbing. About taking apart a bathroom cabinet. About drywall repair.

At the end of day one, Lori decided that the mirror also had to go. So I had to learn how to safely take down a wall-mounted mirror without giving myself seven years of bad luck.

Oh, and by the way, the light fixture had to go. That was to be expected, since we had both agreed we hated the old one and over the years had let the bulbs burn out, without replacing them. We expected that when the last bulb blew, the lights would get changed.

And since I was going to have to paint where I pulled off the mirror, lights, and backsplash on the vanity, a new paint colour was in order (we were getting bored of the green anyway).

Just over one week later, the bathroom is still not finished ("it's just a long-weekend project," Lori optimistically said). The water feeds to the faucet are hooked up, but we've run into a drain problem. We haven't found the right mirror or light fixture. Just after I painted the bathroom (we couldn't agree on a colour so we went for a boring off-white), Lori decided she wanted to replace the towel bar. I yanked it off, repaired the drywall, and repainted, but we haven't chosen a new rack.

The bathroom is not fully functional, and I can see this project running a couple more weeks.

After (but before I hooked the water up)
 I'm not a handyman. But we'll see how this project goes. I've been documenting it with photos and video, and when it's done, I'll put something together that I hope is entertaining and educational.

Wish me luck.

1 comment:

  1. Gosh, Ross - I think you've convinced Marc to never ever undertake a "long-weekend project". I guess we're going to be stuck with the ugly lights and bad paint job that I did.

    If you still haven't finished by the end of April, maybe my dad can come up and help you out. Set my dad and Stan to work and let them have fun!