Thursday, October 04, 2012

The return of handywoman

I've had a rough few days. And, whenever things get rough, I get to fixing things. I used to try to fix people. Gee, that didn't work very well--what a surprise! So I've completely sworn that off (ok, I've completely tried to swear that off.) 

This leaves me with excess fix-things energy. While I've tried to use the fixing energy on myself, there really is only so much navel-gazing one can do each day. I can't lose more than 2lbs per month because I like to eat. And the volunteer organization with whom I am working only gives me one or two cases at a time. 

Which leaves me with excess fix-things energy. So I am in the process of rehabbing the downstairs bathroom. First, we need to define rehab. 
Rehab: (verb, of sorts) the process of redecorating and fixing up the bathroom enough so that it doesn't look like a crappy #$%^-hole any longer, even though I cannot afford to do the complete tear-down-to-the-studs rehab that desperately NEEDS to be performed to fix the leaking bathtub that may fall through to the basement at any moment
Besides the leaking and potentially falling bathtub, let me introduce you to the other problems in this bathroom. We have the always-popular cracked and moldy ceiling over the bathtub. It needs to be fixed in a lengthy process that will probably involve OSHA and Homeland Security. And swearing. I predict that there will be much swearing. 

An accoutrement to that would be the rotted drywall on either of the tub. And once I start fixing and priming dry wall, it's really just a hop, skip and jump to repainting the whole damn room.

There is one lovely facet of my bathroom that deserves its own paragraph: the wall covered with tiled mirrors. (Or would that be mirrored tile?) You're probably familiar with the software concept of feature v. bug, the notion being that one person's feature is another person's bug? Well, for 20 years, the wall full of tiled mirrors was one of my marriage's feature/bugs. He liked. I didn't.

I do admit that it is quite handy to have a very long and long wall full of mirrors. And it did make the bathroom seem larger and brighter than it actually was. Which I now know, as I've ripped those suckers off the wall!

Because I really, really don't like walls of mirrored tile. And I particularly can't stand walls of mirrored tile that are 30 years old, peeling, and framed by scalloped plywood. It's very 1970s. And, while I enjoyed the 70s, they are over.   

Or at least they are over in my downstairs bathroom. :-) So in preparation for this massive undertaking (hyperbole, anyone?) I've had several Google dates. Which brings me to another concern: the dearth of definitive instructions on the interwebs or elsewhere in life. 

Clearly, there needs to be a Big Book of Definitive Instructions. Somewhere. Because I just can't take this Googling around to find instruction, only to have to try to evaluate the different methods various self-proclaimed experts profess to be the best method for fixing my peeling and moldy bathroom ceiling. 

I am not an expert in this area. How the hell do I know who is right? HandyGuy A says swab down the ceiling with bleach twice will be sufficient to kill the nasty mold. HandyGuy B says whoa, Nellie, bleach will NOT kill mold on drywall. Something about tendrils or something. So I must apply an additional rinse of borax. Or buy something especially for mold removal. Possibly from him on his website. 

I thought that perhaps I could combine all of the suggestion, just do everything that everyone said. But apparently bleach and borax are not friends. 

Flustered by the non-friendship, I moved on. But this was only the opening salvo in the instruction search. Do I spackle? And what kind of spackle? Prime prior to spackling? Special primer with anti-mildew properties? And what's the difference between mold and mildew, anyway? Special paint with anti-mildew properties? 

And then there's the whole issue of a skim coat. Now that I've ripped off the mirror tile, I have a lousy looking wall. (Hi Lori!) Do I prime the divots? Spackle the divots? Spread a skim coat on the divots?

Again, I considered combining all of the possible pieces of advice. But I don't have THAT much energy. And we all know that you can't do what everyone tells you to do. You must choose. Take a stand. Make the best judgement you can and move forward. 

Deprived on the Big Book of Definitive Instructions, I will do what any sensible person should do with each of these issues: I will flip a coin.  

On the first round, it was heads. Bleach for all! And I suspect this won't be the last you've heard about my rehab adventures. :-) 


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