Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Pink Monstrosity: The Walls

There is a lot of reflection I could do on the walls in our bathroom, but that takes digging deep into my memory because the walls were a nearly 12 month project. It appear that drywalling, mudding, and installation of tile on the walls and ceiling have been the most difficult projects to complete in our bathroom. Not that we didn't have ANY idea what we were doing. We remodeled our kitchen in Indy with help from both of our dads, so we understood the mechanics of drywalling and mudding, but lack of experience with tiling, and the less than square walls in our 60 year old bathroom got intimidating. And when our son arrived and the mudding was still not complete, there was very little chance for the project to get done. So tile sat in the garage and then the utility room waiting to be installed. Paint sat in a closet waiting to be put on the walls. And the project never got going. Yes, we were busy. Our children constantly remind us how difficult it is for the two of us to work together on a project with a toddler and baby around. Our daughter does alright keeping busy and out of trouble as long as she is within listening distance, but our son is a completely different story. And since a three-year-old cannot and should not babysit a one-year-old, someone has to watch them while the other one works. It means that ANY project that we start takes longer than before kids. Don't get me wrong; they are absolutely worth it, but it is something us DIYers don't always take into consideration when we start plans for a project.

So how did we get anywhere on our project and why did it take so long? There is a single answer for that: my father-in-law. Anytime my husband would get frustrated with the lack of progress in the bathroom (and that happened frequently enough) he would ask his dad when he wanted to see his grandchildren again. Sure enough, my in-laws would make the trek from Michigan and my mother-in-law would play with our two children while my husband and his father would work on the bathroom. On a couple occasions, he came alone to help us finish the tiling. And our debt to my father-in-law grew. As the last year progressed, I couldn't help feeling guilty for all the time he was spending covered in dry wall mud and thin-set while helping us finish the walls and complete the white tile. The guilt was made worse by every visit when they would arrive at the house only to discover that we had not made any progress since their last visit. My father-in-law spent hours measuring, cutting tile, learning how to effectively put tile on the ceiling (in my defense that was actually his idea), and figuring out exactly how to install that silly corner shelf I insisted on having in the shower. But eventually it got done, and we took over from there.

Near the end of the school year, determined to get something completed before yet another visit, we finally grouted the walls. I can't say the job is quite complete yet. I plan to go back over the walls and fix any problems that might still be there, but it got us that much closer. Of course, as usual, I was frustrated because grouting was another project that took me away from grading that needed to be completed, but I was so glad that we got it done. I just wish that we had read the directions before we started which would have saved me the frustration from trying to figure out how to get our ceramic tile shiny again. Apparently you need to buff it with a clean DRY cloth to get it that way. Yeah, I should have read up on that one first. But with grouting nearly completed, paint on the wall, and the cabinet now white instead of puke purple, the bathroom was looking less like a construction zone and more like a bathroom. Success, however minute, is still success.

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