The sinks are sunk

January 3rd, Jillian and I stopped at Home Depot on the way from Kim’s grave and I bought three matching bathroom sinks, two matching faucets, and various other items necessary for swapping sinks out. The sinks sat a few weeks as I gathered myself for the task of installing them, and then I installed the first – an event chronicled earlier in this blog. Since, based on the way the supply lines were valved, it was clear that I’d render that bathroom useless whilst I worked on the other sink, I decided I should put it off until it would just be Kenny and I home, or, better yet: just me. Several opportunities came and went as other things (like the taxes, for instance…) took precedence. Sigh.

This weekend Jillian was going to be out of the house, and I vowed to myself that I would get them done. And now they are.

The decision to put them off, though, turned out to be a good one – getting that first sink to fit the plumbing was definitely a fluke: both of these were off by inches, requiring the drain plumbing to be reworked. This rework, of course, resulted in corollary disasters. It literally took until 0100 Sunday morning to finish the second sink in the kids’ bathroom, having discovered that I cracked a pipe in the trap after having cemented the whole affair together. This discovery occurred well after closing time for any store likely to have replacements. Thankfully: “I are an engineer.” I fixed the pipe with some epoxy putty, and it is certified and verified: leak-free. But: that took WAY more time than I had allotted.

Another time-eater: these new sinks don’t have a clamping feature as the old sinks did – they rely on the adhesive caulk to hold them in place, and adhesive caulk need significant time to cure, and I needed this bathroom back in service as quickly as I could manage. Would not have been a big deal, except for, by the time it mattered, I was tired as hell and every @#$%in’ time I needed to get up from under the sink, I’d forget, reach up, and grab the edge of the sink to pull myself up. I got so good and cleaning up and applying fresh caulk on that sink, that the sink in the bathroom on the first floor looks like it was professionally installed. And, not being half asleep, I remembered not to use the sink to get myself off the ground.

Figuring that I’d seen all of what the high school VoTech plumbers could offer, I planned two jobs for today: the first-floor sink, and the much-hated task of replacing the valves in that bathroom’s toilet – another task whose parts have been sitting around for months awaiting my availability. Well, and this is likely needless to say by now: I hadn’t yet seen all of the wonders this house’s plumbing had to offer. Had I removed the cabinet, it would have been simple. But that cabinet had other ideas, and cutting the pipe to reposition the trap was a piece of cake. Cake made from ground glass and concrete, with plaster-of-Paris icing. There was not enough room to use a string saw and, though the pipe proclaimed itself to be 1-1/2 inches, my 1-5/8 PVC pipe shear wanted to have nothing to do with it. I finally used a bare hacksaw blade to cut it. Good thing I have calluses on my hands like cake made from ground glass and concrete, with plaster-of-Paris icing.

But it’s done. I only have one more plumbing task (that I’m currently aware of) left to do. That’s a good feeling.

As a bonus round, we had been battling stained grout in our master bedroom bath pretty much since the criminals (Bobson Construction) finished their destruction-of-our-home-cum-construction-of-an-addition (honestly: if you need work done on your house, run from these idiots). The grout is very coarse; hardly what you would want in a shower (probably because it was cheap), and it holds mildew like a trash panda holds a chicken bone – you ain’t getting that easily! Until now! While looking for plumbing parts, I found a “Chlorox Bathroom Bleach Foamer” at Home Depot. Holy frijoles! Where has this stuff been?! I “foamed” the most horrid spot in the shower – a compound corner that was impossible to hit with any sort of brush – and it is WHITE again! Nice! I foamed the rest of the shower, and it looks really good! Kim would have been happy to see this – finally – after all the different products we’d tried over the years including Tilex.

During the past few days, I’ve also managed to make significant progress in reducing the clutter in the basement, and in getting my “office” upstairs to useable order. A productive, busy few days. My mood has been… generally depressed …but keeping busy helps me not to focus so much on Kim, and knocking things off that list is a huge relief – especially things I hadn’t really planned on getting done yet.

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