On Renovating Bathrooms & Sleeping in the Basement

Since last week’s post was a throwback to early house renovations, and because, coincidentally, this week my dad is in town once again to help work on our house, I thought I’d offer a shout-out and a post from 2010. Thanks, Dad. (And let’s not tell anyone you’re sleeping in the basement again this time, okay?)


When we bought our house (and up until three days ago, actually) the upstairs bathroom looked like this:

In case you can’t tell, the most notable feature of this bathroom is the slim four or five inches between the toilet and the tub. As has been noted previously, the hubster and I are both extraordinarily tall. This posed a problem.

As in, sitting on the toilet required your feet to be in the bathtub. Ahem.

So J devised a plan to move a wall a few feet in one direction, pull out the toilet, swing the tub around, replumb all of the old cast-iron piping, and, well, a partridge in a pear tree. J is very handy, and I’m patient, so we dove on in. This weekend, our first dad came to visit to help with the demo work and reframing in the new wall.

I suppose that driving almost ten hours in a car in order to do some back-breaking labor (I’d say ‘literally’ but you wouldn’t believe me, though I saw how it took three of them to carry the plumbing down the steps) is a commitment to community of sorts, or you could say it’s just being a good dad. Either way, it’s admirable.

But there’s more.

We had a grandmother in the picture, too, so the spare bed was occupied, and an air mattress was obtained for the parents. (Like that passive voice?) Unfortunately, it was discovered around 2 AM when their rears hit the wood floor that the air mattress had a slight leak in it. Upon refilling it, they were on the floor again in an hour. The stepmom crawled into bed with her mom, and my dad had to find another place to snooze.

I knew none of this.

So I got up, chipper as always, and was standing in the chaotic small kitchen, getting the coffee ready, when my dad comes trudging up the stairs from the basement. From the basement, which is unfinished and musty and, though the best place to pick up our wireless internet, not a very pretty space.

His hair was sticking up a bit as he gave me a hug. “I bet you’ll blog about this,” he said.

Let me back up a second. Our housemate, Adam, recently brought an old couch and a few comfy chairs to the house and put them in the basement. (Adam, having grown up without a basement, finds ours very appealing. I am not joking about this. He apparently didn’t watch the same scary movies I did as a kid.) We now know that Adam’s love of our basement was divine providence, or at least the couch’s appearing in our house a few days ago was, since we don’t own a full-sized couch. We have a loveseat, but a not-very-comfortable one, and my dad wouldn’t have fit on it.

So the man drove 10 hours to do some difficult work in a hot-sweat-dripping-off-your-forehead house and had to sleep alone in a damp basement on a hand-me-down couch.

That’s worthy of a blog post, wouldn’t you say?

That’s community.


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