Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Bathroom Begats

We started the re-do of our bathroom in October of 07. At that time we only fixed and completed the bath and shower side of the bathroom. A year later (December of 08) we finally got around to fixing the toilet and sink side of the project.

The above picture is the before picture. Friday December 26th I did the demo work to get the area prepared for the next morning. I had a plumber friend coming over early Saturday morning to to help with the pipes.

We took apart the old sink and cabinet and prepped the area for the new sink and cabinet. Lauren who was two weeks shy of giving birth to Jackson came in and did the Beadboard work.

We were on such a roll that the Beadboard and sink were installed by 2pm on Saturday. Why 2 PM? I think Lauren held us back a a little. She was perfectionist with her Beadboard and anytime she entered the small bathroom with her big belly I would have to step out so she could maneuver around. Otherwise I think we would have been done around noon.

Sunday morning December 28th was a glorious day. It was sunny and crisp outside. The kids were still on a high from their Christmas. Lauren was glowing and felt great. I was feeling good about completing that bathroom. The Philadelphia Eagles had a game that day against the Dallas Cowboys at 4pm. If the Eagles won (and other teams lost and won etc etc) then the Eagles would be going to the playoffs. I think I would lose some of my Eagles Fan credentials if I don't add this statement at this time: Cowboys suck. Anyway, I was excited to finish the bathroom and watch the game that evening.

Sunday Morning at 10 AM I called my brother Dan to ask his opinion on which type of molly bolt I should use. I told him I was going to be replacing my vanity/medicine cabinet/ light fixture. We chatted for a few minutes and then I went to Lowes to buy his recommended bolts. It was a beautiful day. There was no line at Lowes and everyone was friendly and helpful. I returned with the bolts and a few other needs and I quickly went to work. I explained to Lauren and the kids that I needed to turn off the circuit breaker for the bathroom which also included the entire upstairs. While I worked on replacing the vanity/medicine cabinet/light fixture they would not have Internet service or television since the routers and main cable box came into the house through the upstairs. Lauren quietly occupied the boys with their toys and everything was good.

Taking down the old fixture was a breeze. I used the molly bolts and prepped the wall for the new fixture and cabinet. I hung the new light. I connected black wire to black wire white wire to white wire and green wire to the electrical ground screw. At the rate I was going I was going to be done this entire project by 3 PM. It was a good day. I went down to the garage and turned on the breaker.

It is right after the above picture was taken when I started cursing mothers and asking God to send everything to hell. Every other word or phrase out my mouth was "Son of a bitch." or "God Dammit." The new light fixture would not go on. I double checked my work, the breaker and the switch. Everything was connected the right way. I must have bought a defective fixture.

I went into my bedroom to check to see if I had the receipt so I could return it to the store. I flipped on the light only to find that my bedroom lights did not work. In a slow motion panic I checked all the lights in all the bedrooms. None of them worked. The entire upstairs had no electricity. It was at this time that I started to utter every combination and variation of the word "Fuck".
After checking and rechecking and rechecking and rechecking my work I could not fathom why the entire upstairs had no power. I asked my neighbor for help and he came over and double checked my work. Two hours later and multiple trips to Lowes, replacing breakers and light switches I still did not have power. I called my brother Dan to get his opinion. His opinion was that I was screwed. I called my brother Dennis who knows more about electricity than anyone else I know. He told me he was going to be watching the Eagles game but he could hear the desperation my voice and I may have pulled the "Lauren is pregnant and could go at anytime card.". He came over at 3 PM.
Dennis double checked all my work with all his electrical gadgets. The light fixture was fine and my wiring was fine. He too could not understand why the power was out. At 5 PM we took a break from scratching our heads and had dinner. I checked my Blackberry and updated him on the Eagles game. Everything fell into place for the team and if the Eagles won they would be in the playoffs. I had no TV to watch.
At 6 PM we went back to work. It was starting to get dark outside and we had to hurry so we could still work by the light coming in from the window. We dismantled everything and started over. Black wire to black, white to white and green to ground. I am not sure what caused me to accidentally touch the green wire to the white wire but when I did the light flickered. Dennis gave me the "what in the hell was that" look. He used another electrical testing gadget and we found out that the green wire was also a hot live wire. This same green wire, which is supposed to ground out the circuit, was actually the wire that completed the circuit for the entire upstairs. We fixed the problem and I had power and lights just as the Eagles won the game. We missed the entire game.
Re-doing the bathroom, begat a new light fixture, which begat new light switches, which begat new breakers, which begat new wires, which begat new combination of many curse words. But in the end it all worked out.

Dennis deduced that electricians in the 1960s, who did the original wiring for the house got lazy when it came to the bathroom light and switch. Apparently all the power for the second floor of my house goes through my bathroom.
Now, every time I flush my toilet I am afraid that the lights will flicker.


Patience said...

Looks great! But you probably could have been killed by that green wire thingy.

My word verification:
enedaza (In a Daza!)

Anonymous said...

I knew your house bleeds green

Charity Donovan said...

The "begatting" that takes place during EVERY single home improvement project around here is aging me faster than quads! Loved the finished bathroom though...looks awesome...totally worth missing the game, right????

Unknown said...

You and my husband could never do a home improvement project together!
Cuss words would be flying!

Bathroom looks GREAT! Beautiful improvement!

SciFi Dad said...

it could have been worse... you could have found aluminum wires.

Anonymous said...

Did Dennis actually tell this story?

Maria in NJ said...

What is that wall color? I love it.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Your old bathroom looks like my current master bath. And I like your new one. A LOT.
Please tell me it won't take us that long to re-do ours?!!!?

Multi-tasking Mommy said...

great work!
love before/after photos!

Anonymous said...

Begats into this Dennis Story.

Melinda said...

Well, your bathroom looks great now.

I have to go Google molly screws.

Unknown said...

Remodeling is a lot like the 'If you give a mouse a cookie' thing inevitably leads to another.

Looks awesome though!

I like to know that my husband isn't the only educating his children on the verbal side of home improvement. Bob Villa leaves a lot of that shit out.

eclectic said...

Um, what's a beadboard?

Bogart said...

Eat enough prunes and your whole block will flicker.

Rachel said...

What a handy man! Love the new bathroom!

am said...

Wow, I just looked at your "before" picture, and my badly-in-need-of-update bathroom has the EXACT SAME floor and light fixture.

This leaves me to wonder what the HECK was wrong with the 70s.

New one looks great. :)

kalki said...

Y'all do a serious amount of begatting over there.

(The bathroom looks amazing!)

JP said...

Good thing you didn't install a hyperflush toilet. You'd have been doomed for sure!

Anonymous said...

Keep the Both Thumbs Up!
Bathroom Lights