Chris is renovating the bathroom off our bedroom, which means there will be both working lights and a mirror in which I can see my whole face at one time. I suspect this could be life changing. You may not recognize me. I certainly won’t.
The bathroom renovation is life changing in other ways, too. Designed at some point between Mid-Century and Shabby Chic, our bathroom is Early Modern Dumpster Fire: wood grain vinyl paneling with matching vanity, rusted towel bars, and a linoleum floor that is glorified contact paper. There are no light fixtures, but there are two outlets in case you wanted to put in a floor lamp.
The bathroom, we now understand, is ruining our entire day before we’re even out of the shower – which explains why some people shower at night. It also explains why some people lie imobile in the hallway for an hour or so after spending time in the bathroom. The hallway is one of the few places in the house where you can lie on the floor and maybe not see anything that needs to be fixed, cleaned, or burned to the ground.
The bathroom takes everything out of us. We stand in the shower and think “huh, mold on the ceiling. I should bleach that again,” and “oh look, there goes another piece of the floor” and finally, “where is my flashlight?” It is exhausting. It expends all our energy, and expands our mental to-do lists like rice in a leaky boat.
It’s a mental to do list because apart from moving out, there hasn’t been much we could do. Until now.
The renovation started because I bought the wrong vanity for the upstairs bathroom. I had found a narrow sink for the narrow bathroom and then accidentally bought the not-narrow vanity to go under it. The sink would have fit if we rolled up towels and stuffed them into the extra space, but we figured since eventually we wanted to replace the vinyl veneered monstrosity downstairs, we’d spring for the right vanity and keep the wrong one for later.
Which brings me to this: why is it called a vanity? A vanity is possibly the hardest working, no-nonsense piece of furniture in the house. It keeps the sink off the floor, and holds extra toilet paper. It’s like naming your Chihuahua “Fluffy.”
The mistake vanity, which I have just now named Fluffy, spent two years wandering in the wilderness of our house before ending up in the hall – where it was in my way every morning between showering and work.
It must have been in Chris’ way too, because one day I came home and our bathroom ceiling was gone, along with one of the walls. I texted a picture of our semi-demolished bathroom to my sister, who responded, “what’s different?”
There is now a toilet in my bedroom and a sink in the yard. Yesterday when I came home Chris apologized for the exploded vacuum cleaner bag. I’m not sure how he could tell it had exploded.
But dust and misplaced toilets aside, the bathroom has stopped ruining our days. Now it invigorates them. My kitchen is filled with IKEA boxes, contractor trash barrels and tools, and I do not care because when you are renovating all bets are off and no one is allowed to judge you. Every day I come home to more progress in the form of bigger destruction so I know we’re still going in the right direction.
I didn’t make a vision board on New Year’s Eve, but if I did one now I would put in something about smashing stuff, and replacing things that never worked with things that do.
Unlike Early Modern Dumpster Fire, Smashing Stuff is super in right now.