We swapped out our sink and toilet
a while back when we were repainting. The sink took about nine days
to get exactly right. First we removed the old pedestal-style sink
and put a coat of spackling on the wall to fill in some water damage where
the shower had dribbled over the years. Since we dug pretty deeply
into the wall, a second coat of spackling was needed. Of course,
this was right after it had just started cooling down for the winter, so
it took a full day for each coat of spackling to dry. In the meantime,
we're brushing our teeth in the kitchen sink.
Now that the spackling is dry, we can finally
paint the wall behind where the sink once was (as opposed to where it was
then: On the front porch). The cold once again slows us down.
We had previously put three coats of paint over the entire rest of the
bathroom in just about as many days, but the paint stays wet for a couple
days at a time. We don't even apply a third coat we're so sick of
waiting for it. (It will be behind the sink anyway. You'd need
to get on your hands and knees with a flashlight to tell, and if we caught
anyone doing that, they wouldn't be invited back anyway.)
But wait, here comes the plumbing!
The faucet, sink, drain, and countertop were all purchased separately,
so it turns out even Jimmy Carter can't get these to work out their incompatibilities.
First of all, the granite top is too thick for the drain to make it through
it low enough to expose any threads onto which the nut can bite.
So I get a new drain. Now, even with the new drain and the sink fully
clamped down, it wobbles on the top. The gasket is too big and spongy.
So I get a new gasket, and finally the Goldilocks portion of the story
Now I'm going to hook up the faucet.
Problem: The fittings on the other end of the hoses from the wall do not
want to connect to the ones on the faucet and vice versa. I have
two sets of hoses, so I know what the ends need to look like, and I figure
I'll get something that's a compromise. Home Depot has about a million
combinations, but not the one I need. The proverbial monkeys on typewriters
are nearly finished with Shakespeare in the amount of time I waste going
through them all.
I go to a plumbing supply store, and the
guy there grabs a male-to-male adapter, and says, "There." Not only
are my plumbing problems solved (why didn't I think of that?!), but he
may very well have resolved the issue of gay marriage in this obvious metaphor.
I go home, hook the hoses together (which means things are now twice as
long as they need to be, but at least they work), and now I can get water
into the sink! But not out of it.
See, I have a drain, but it empties into
a bucket at this point because I still don't have things connected to the
sink trap. The whole new arrangement has moved the bottom of the
sink several inches forward, so I have to either spend some time and elbow
grease taking a hacksaw to rigid PVC pipe or I can get a couple flexible
lengths of accordion type tubing. I opt for the latter. It
works although it looks like a Habitrail on steroids.
Actually, somewhere in the midst of all
of this, one of the hoses breaks, and I have to replace it, but no one
would believe that part of the story because it reads like overkill.
I think Mark Twain was the guy who said the difference between fiction
and reality is that fiction has to make sense. Whatever the case,
my bathroom is the Twilight Zone.
Anyway, now we can finally anchor the sink
to the (dry... at last!) wall. That takes an extra day because the
original anchors fell down inside the wall when we removed the old sink,
and the hardware store is closed by the time we are ready for this step
and need new anchors for the bolts. The next day everything is firmly
in place and we are caught up to modern living with indoor plumbing and
Then comes the toilet. Whereas at
least we had a backup sink in the kitchen and, at worst, a garden hose
in the planter out front, we have only one toilet. This makes sense
in a house built in 1925 because, in spite of the fact that safe and effective
birth control methods were decades away and the average number of children
in a household was several times today's standards, no one ate anything
except cheese. At least that's my theory.
We anticipate that we're going to need
to get a hotel room (or learn to use a bucket), but whereas the sink took
us nine days, we get the toilet completely installed in under two hours.
I have a shiny piece of porcelain on which to sit and ponder this discrepancy,
and I still haven't figured that one out.