Sunday, July 21, 2013

"I will do it myself!" (The DIY Series, Part 1)

I feel like the Little Red Hen a lot lately.  Mostly because when people have asked about my project I say to them, "I've done it myself."  I'm really not trying to brag when I say that; mostly I'm just astonished I have been able to do it myself.   With that said. . ..

One of my favorite children's book is The Little Red Hen.  There are many versions, some I like, some I don't, and only one that's perfect (the one I grew up reading, of course; the one so worn out I tore the book apart and put the pages in sheet protectors so my kids could still enjoy it).  In the story, Hen finds a bag of wheat, and through the book, she's asking for help from Pig, Cat, and Dog, but they don't help.  So she does the work herself.  In the end, they don't get the bread she makes from the wheat that she'd planted, tended, harvested, and ground by herself.  It's a simple parable of reaping what you sow.  

Of course, in my application, I'm not refusing to share what I'm sowing with others, I'm simply deciding to take action and just do it.

Before I started all of these projects, I had spent weeks and months dreading them, wondering when they would ever get done and who would do them.  I felt like the Little Red Hen, except I wasn't asking anybody for help, I was just waiting and asking myself:  "Who will install these socket spacers?"  "Who will scrub this bathtub wall?"  "Who will fix this screen?"  "Who will glue the mirror to the wall?"  "Who will cut the chair rail?"  And on and on and on.  

I felt stuck.  My mind was dark and cloudy and I felt depressed.  Finally, after weeks and months of feeling this way, I asked my husband for a blessing.  He didn't pronounce the specific blessing I wanted (that the fog would lift from my mind), but this blessing became key. 

The day the Captain went away to the field for a few days, I felt an energy I hadn't in months.  Rather than waiting for something to just magically happen, I decided, like the Little Red Hen, to just "Do it myself!"  

And I did.
First off, I repaired three window screens and the screened sliding door.  Then I moved on to spruce up the small bathroom.  It needed a new toilet seat and some towel hooks.  The biggest change came with painting the cupboard above the toilet, which used to be a heavy, dark, despairing color of brown.  Now that cupboard is not so gloomy, the room feels much more welcoming.  I also removed the shower door, re-caulked the shower, and installed a curtain rod with a fun curtain. Believe it or not, the curtain keeps water in better than the door did, and it also allows for more room in there.

Now that the small bathroom was usable, I could start the major work on the main bathroom.

 I scrubbed and scrubbed the tiles, both around the shower and on the floor.  I scrubbed until the mold and mildew and grim disappeared.  Then I sealed the tiles.  I was happy to do this.  I removed the caulk around the tub and then started stripping the peeling paint off the tub. (Little did I know, this would all be moot later on.)
This was mind-numbing.  Literally.  The tub trapped the fumes so even through my mask, I still got light headed.  It took me probably eight hours of scrubbing spread three or four days to get the paint off.  Now we have a tub that's a lovely shade of dusty pink.  Nobody likes it, but I'm not going to change it.  I'll just blend it in.  You'll see how later.

Next, I'm going to refinish the counter.  As you can see, the sink was cracked and gross.  I scrubbed and scrubbed and followed the directions with exactness.  Then I painted it and got this result: 
Pretty pretty!  I love it.   (Also, take note of the mirror-- an old one we've had around for our whole marriage.  It now has a permanent home, as you'll see later.)  I replaced those ugly door knobs with nice brushed nickel knobs. You can also see the new color of paint I put on the walls.
The old paint looked quite pink in comparison, when it's really a light taupe.  Notice the wood tp holder and ugly brass towel bar.  Those are gone.

So, I was just about done.  All I needed to do was scrub the residue of paint stripper out of the tub and caulk it and I would be all done diddly DONE!  

And then. . .

Then I got curious about the soap holder in the bathtub wall.  Having installed a new chrome tp holder, I realized that the soap dish was installed much the same way.  I also noticed that there was no caulk around it.  So. . . (forgive me as I wax Seussical)

So, so, so....

I couldn't let it go.  I took out the soap dish and made the mistake of pinching the wall.

 That little pinch made the wall fall.

Now all I could do was sit down and cry. 
I kept asking myself, "Why, oh why?! 
When I have so much else to do this should not come about. 
When I have so much to do!"  And I did scream and shout.

So now you will see how my bathroom turns out,
Just wait and see, I am no lout.

And I promise I won't wax poetic much longer,
But this bathroom remodel makes me grow stronger.

To be continued. . . .


  1. I really am impressed! And I totally feel for you. We've been doing lots of projects in our basement and it is exhausting. But I can't wait to hear the rest of the story about the shower wall...

  2. Okay - I love the Little Red Hen analogy. And holy cow, you have been busy!!