It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over

And so the saga of the bathroom remodel continues…

So after 6 weeks,  you’d think it would be finished, right? Oh no…it’s never quite that easy. 3 of the 4 walls had gotten done, except I still had to touch them up because I reused an old roller, which I am vowing to never do again. It’s not worth it, unless someone can tell me they’ve found a roller that really truly doesn’t shed after it’s been washed. But one thing I can’t abide is the residual gunk that sticks to the walls from the rollers, and now you’re left with the ‘gift’ of texture you didn’t plan on. So going back to get rid of it, means that when you lightly (and I truly do mean lightly) sand it off, you mar your semi-gloss finish. Yep, a spot for a little touch up. Many of them.

Or perhaps there was that spot on the side of the shower where I peeled off the painters tape and waited a smidge too long…and some paint came up with it. Got to sand and spackle THAT spot over, then touch that up too.  (At least I used painter’s tape!)

The last wall to be painted was the one behind the sink. It took forever to chisel out the old caulk on that last bit of wall space. The sink is set into an alcove, so it was caulked in on 3 sides, and the back wall was like concrete. I had to rotate between using a razor blade and a paint scraper to get it out. We were also a little challenged in coordinating schedules with the electrician to get the wiring done so that the sconces could be mounted.

Then of course there was the “paint the ceiling” adventure. Did you know that when ceilings have only the popcorn texture, unless they are painted, they can be a mess? Yep, get them wet and the popcorn falls right off. So when you actually paint them for the first time, the first coat of paint becomes like glue but initially ACTS like water. Let me explain.

Most people don’t own paint sprayers, nor do they hire someone to spray paint their ceilings (although if they were smart, they would do one of those two things.) They roller paint them. If your ceiling has never been painted, the first time it’s done you need to be very careful, as the paint will merely moisten the texture, and if you roller back and forth like you do on a wall, popcorn will just fall right off the ceiling…on your face…your shoulders…the floor…you get the idea. It’s a mess. (Handy tip #1: Use Glidden’s pink ceiling paint. It dries white but it makes it SO easy to see where you paint. The stuff is AMAZING.)  I did know that I needed to be careful but I expect because I was doing a bathroom ceiling, perhaps the popcorn was maybe a little extra touchy in a humid room I ended up with several places where it came down in spite of my cautiousness. Off we went to find a tube of popcorn touch up. (Handy tip #2: Get the stuff in the tube for a small area, not the spray can. Way easier to use, according to hubby who has done both.) That added a couple of days to the whole adventure, by the time he patched it up, we let it dry for 24 hours, and I was able to get the spots touched up.

Then got the electrician in to do the wiring and add the mounting boxes. No problems there. We got all the rest of the work done, painting completed, mounted the medicine cabinet so truly all that was left was to put in the lights. It was a Sunday evening, around 7 PM and I’m thinking “why not, let’s do this. We’ve installed light fixtures before. White to white, black to black, ground to ground”. Meanwhile Karma was laughing herself silly at me, it’s just too bad I couldn’t hear her.

We got the first light fixture out, wired it up and prepared to mount it, only to discover that it could’t be mounted to the box because the box was oriented straight up and down, and in the “12” and “6” positions are 2 solid plastic pieces that were exactly where the backs of my mounting screws needed to be. Without getting into detail, I’ll just say I have a clever husband who was able to solve it, but we sacrificed a bit of sheet rock in the process…on BOTH sides of the medicine cabinet. So…3 more days for patching and sanding sheet rock to make it sufficiently smooth, then tape off the cabinet, paint, wait for that to dry and then mount the new lights.

You’re thinking I was done, aren’t you?

Nope. In an effort to be eco-conscious, we ordered LED bulbs. I wanted to make sure they were bright enough as this would be where I put on makeup, and I’ve not used LED bulbs before so we went with fairly high lumens of output. They were bright alright so we said “hey, let’s get a dimmer switch for it!” So we headed off to the store, picked up a dimmer and installed that. Tested the dimmer by starting to dim the lights and they went from on to instant off. Huh? Looked at the lights I’d bought….I bought non-dimmable LED’s. Sigh. Back to the store. Got the dimmable LED’s this time, and they work beautifully. All that remained was adding a small cabinet for towels and a few decorative items on the walls, and some new valances. Doesn’t sound too bad, right?

And…3 months later, I can’t find the cabinet I want for the towels, let alone the towels I wanted in the right color. I’ve searched every combination of key words online for the cabinet, and everything looks too cheap, is too big, or to expensive. You know how it is when you have a particular look that you want? You don’t want to settle for “good enough” or “make do”. So we’re at the point of probably having hubby make me a cabinet in the spring. The towels are an entirely other story. Since I couldn’t find the color I wanted, I decided to dye them the color I wanted. Surprisingly, they are almost exactly the right color, although they didn’t dye as evenly as I would have liked. Fortunately I plan to use them as decorative, folded up accent towels to add color more than anything, and since this is our master bath, hubby and I are probably the only ones that will ever see them. Note to self: Use the washing machine, remember that the thread on the towels doesn’t dye.

Only 2 bathrooms, a bedroom, 2 hallways, and great room with 12 foot ceilings left to go.

Projects One-O-WTH

We’ve all done it. Started projects with the very best of intentions and plans, right? Scripted them to within an inch of their lives, laid out everything to the nanometer, knew exactly what we wanted, where we wanted it and when we wanted it, so that when we did it, it went as planned, and then we all lived happily ever after…I’m sorry, did you just  hear my snort of derision through the computer? Because if you’re anything like me, the end of one project brings about a strange euphoria that somehow erased much of the pain associated with it, so that you’re foolishly willing to take on the next one. When my husband let me know he was planning to go out of town for several days last month, I thought, “aha! here’s my chance to take a couple of days off work and paint our master bathroom! I hate the mustard color it is now, why not get it done?” And into full scale planning mode I went.

First, selecting paint, which as anyone with a half of a brain knows, is painful. I mean, we’re long past the days of merely light blue, or light green. Nope, there are now thousands of colors and shades to choose from. It’s positively mind numbing, and while the ability to get the little sample jars is certainly a help, it’s not without it’s own drawbacks, but more on that later. For now, I get the little cards in the colors I think I want which is a pale turquoise. My husband and I talk over which we like, I went back and get the sample jars in a couple of colors, and get them on the walls in the bathroom in a couple of spots so he can see it before he leaves town, and in different light during the day and at night. We agree on one of the samples, and I’m thinking nice, we found our color! (I should have known it was too easy, I got a little cocky there.)

Next, a light fixture. Currently we have light bars over the top of our mirror and detest them. You know the ones…4 light bulbs on a metal holder, which resemble the ones that are found on the sides of theatrical mirrors. I really liked one a friend had, found it came from Menards, internet check says one left on clearance. I’ve got a good feeling…and the next morning I run up there to get it. The one left is the display model, so they have to remove it from the wall for me, but it’s worth it to get it more than 50% off, right?  While they were taking it off the wall it was raining so hard we couldn’t see across the parking lot, and a neighbor told me later that his wife reported their widows actually sucked inward during the storm! I didn’t recognize the storm going on outside as on omen of destruction or the voice of doom, as it were.

Husband leaves town, time for me to get to work. Out comes the spackle, I start fixing dings and divots, scraping old, old, old paint off the woodwork. (Lesson #1 for everyone…do the free world a favor. USE FRICKING PAINTERS TAPE AROUND WOODWORK FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PEOPLE. I don’t care if you like the blue or green. Really I don’t. I DO care that as the new owner of your former home, because you were a lazy ba***rd I have to scrape 3 layers off my lovely oak woodwork.) (Lesson #2, if you spray it first with Pledge Multi-Surface Cleaner, and let it soak for 3-5 seconds, then scrape with your razor blade, it helps to soften the paint. Don’t ask me why I tried this out, I haven’t a clue, but it works.) Finally it’s time to paint. Get the light down, paint the walls around our sink and the ceiling over it. I wanted to do that first so I could get the new light up right away, then I wouldn’t be without a light in the bathroom for more than a few hours. As I bring the new light fixture into the bathroom, I realize my next problem.

Remember I mentioned that the old light was a light bar, therefore it’s very lightweight, and mounted on the wall with two screws. The wiring merely came out of the hole in the wall. No mounting box. Lovely new fixture needs a mounting box. Sounds simple enough, right? Just call the handy dandy electrician down the street to put one in? Which I did…only to find that the lovely little pipe I could see next to the hole in the wall where the wires came out would mean that the mounting box would be mounted to the right of center…and subsequently all light fixtures thereafter would be too. So now we get to have him split the wiring and put up sconces. Sigh. So back up went the old fixture until husband can get home and I can break the bad news that a) we ‘get’ to spend more money on rewiring and b) we ‘get’ to buy more lights.

Continue painting….and why am I not getting the same lovely warm fuzzy about the color that I did about the sample? As I studied it, it didn’t look at all the same to me. It didn’t look anything like calm and restful. Not even close…it looked more like 1968 turquoise! Now I’m starting to feel my WTH moment begin…what happened? Remember earlier  when I said I’d come back to the samples? Well, the paint samples were in eggshell…and the paint I bought was semi-gloss. It went on a completely different color in semi-gloss, and suddenly was intense! I thought maybe it was me, but figured I’d better wait for my husband to validate, so I held off any more painting until he got home from his trip, which I felt awful about since my goal was to present him with a finished bathroom, not one still covered in paint swatches. He agreed, however, it was too intense and we went back to the drawing board on paint. Hopefully I’ll finish before his next vacation.

Oh yeah, and the caulk has to be chiseled out too.