Thursday, 24 January 2013

Trickle to a Flood.

   Well Christmas holidays passed with much eating, drinking and friendship. All is well at least until I heard Shannon who was down in the cellar say "Ken, you better come see this."

    Probably a really big spider, I thought as I walked to the head of the stairs. We have quite a spider farm down there. Once a year we saddle up and make the big spider drive across the plains of bare floor joists with our corn brooms in hand to wrangle the mustangs under the light of the bare bulbs......... damn, no spider, just water puddling on the floor.

    I knew this day would come and like an unwelcome visitor it's arrival could not be at a worse time.

    The water came from the main bathroom directly below the toilet. The floor under the toilet was slowly moving, more like collapsing from years of moisture damage. Over the course of many years the toilet began to resemble the leaning tower of Pisa. And as is the case with that landmark, I had been performing make shift fixes in an attempt to prolong it's use and delay the final solution.

This is the Final Solution

   There are two toilets in our house so I really just wanted to put yellow barrier tape around the toilet like they use at crime scenes and deal with the problem at a later date. It was the holidays after all.

  My plans of procrastination were flushed away when Shannon reminded me, "Brent, Denyse and their three daughters are coming on Friday afternoon." They planned on staying a few days. It was Wednesday afternoon.

  Shannon looked at me, I think she was actually trying to hide a smile. You see she had been waiting for this day. The day that leaky toilet would be fixed forever. "Ken, you have to do something" she said. "Ok, does panicking count?" It was all I could do at the moment. I started to get that feeling of dread I get every time something in this house needs to be fixed. Our house is like a loose thread. You pull on it and lots of stuff starts to unravel. No fix is ever straight forward.

  I tried to shut off the tap behind the toilet that supplies water to it. You guessed it, can't turn the tap.
The only way to shut off the water is at the main supply valve. We ended up cutting off the cold supply pipe to the bathroom and installing a ball valve on it. Something I wanted to do for years, I also did the hot water line too. Two threads cut off, I thought with a smile.

   Shannon and I lifted the toilet off the floor and set it outside. "Nice planter", I said. "No way mister", she replied. I commenced thread pulling by removing some floor tile around the toilet flange. I kept working away from the flange trying to uncover all the damaged subfloor. This led to the the point where the flooring meets the wall which is also tiled. Threads........threads.......threads.......

  "Shannon, how would you like to take all the tile off the floor and walls and...".
It was like the Tasmanian devil came into our bathroom, a whirling cloud of dust and noise. Tiles and grout and dust filled the air. I couldn't bring the pails fast enough to catch the refuse.

  Next out the door was the old sink and vanity. Then came down the plaster and lath on all the walls. Out goes the tub. By the next morning the bathroom was bare studs and sub floor. I repaired the floor around the flange. Todd helped me rebuild the plumbing supply and fix a few other issues in our plumbing that had been in need of updating.

  Of course all the wiring was wrong as well so Alexandra's boyfriend Jim ran some new circuits and set up a temporary light in the room so the guests could use the toilet. By Friday afternoon the old toilet was set back in the room and ready for use. I admit the washroom did look like something from the hillbilly hotel but it worked.

Friday night I had a dream that we were visited by Mike Holmes from HGTV. It went as follows:

 Mike pulled up in front of the house in his truck. I walked up to the truck he rolled his window down and I said "Hi, you're Mike right?"
  "Yes, I read on Shannon's Facebook page that you were having a problem with your washroom and I want to help.", he said with a smile.
  "Ok, come on in and I will show you what we have so far."

"Hey Shannon you'll never guess who is here." Shannon came down the hallway and gasped. Mike explained how someone had shared her Facebook post and here he was to help.

"That's great", Shannon said. "Will you be taking your shirt off?" she asked. (dreams are strange)

Mike laughed and turned his attention to our bathroom. "Holy shit what a mess!, he cried.

  "I guess you will have your crew coming soon with all the equipment?, I said.

  "No, I have just what you need," he said with a smirk.

Mike walked out to his truck reached in the truck bed and took out a cooler and a BBQ. He put charcoal in the BBQ and lit it. Took some steaks out of the cooler, offered Shannon and I a beer. I was confused to say the least but it is a dream after all.

I took a swig of beer and asked Mike, "So, what's next? Tell me your solution."

Mike looked at us and said, "I am going to make you both very happy and it will only take a minute."
I was confused to say the least.

He handed me a book of matches and gestured towards the house then turned to Shannon and took his shirt off. Then I woke up. I wish he would have finished those steaks first.
  The house still stands and our guests had a great visit and we greatly enjoyed their company. After their departure I went back to work on the room.

 New soaker tub with HGTV approved wall covering.

 Greenboard for moisture resistance.

 Where it all started, new flange will be placed on top of finished flooring.

We now have one fully renovated bathroom which we finished (minus vanity doors and top) just in time for more visitors that arrived this week.

It only took 25 years.

Thanks for reading


  1. Ken, you are a great storyteller. Sorry about your bathroom woes but I'd say that after 25 years of waiting Shannon is more than entitled to a new bathroom.

  2. Thanks Carol, and I surely owe Shannon one of your bathing kits.
    I'll be placing an order shortly. Cheers

  3. I liked the hillbilly look,it didnt matter if you missed the toilet