Bathroom Detox, Part 1

AKA, the saga of the $500 GFCI outlet

Anyone who has ever renovated a house or a room or even a small cubicle knows that projects like these are not for the faint at heart. One must be prepared for the 3/3/3 rule: it takes three times longer than expected, costs three times as much than you thought and you’ll have to buy at least three new tools to finish the job.

The Cherry Hills West bathroom was no different. But it felt 100x better once it was done. Heck, it felt a million times better once I tore out the moldy, dirty and downright yucky old guts and just stood staring there looking at a blank canvas.

Background: I closed on the house on November 12. On November 13 I got on a plane to go on a long-time-ago planned trip for the weekend. I basically signed my life away and didn’t get to walk in the front door of my new mansion until Monday, November 15. But then I tore that sucker up.

Down came the dusty and moldy curtain covering the caked-on dirt and grimy window. Out came the 1940s mini sink, designed for midgets or airplane bathrooms, not sure which really. Up came the toilet that had the water efficiency of the Ballagio water fountain. And best of all, I got to knock the crap out of the cabinet covered in what can only be guessed to be 1941’s linoleum, which matched the floor, of course.

After two rounds of deep cleaning with industrial strength Mr. Clean concentrate, I was able to prime with two gallons of Killz. Everyone knows that Killz covers pretty much anything with one coat. Not this super grimy mancave. Before I put the contested paint color (why is picking a paint the hardest part?!) up, I had Bob the electrician come in to re-wire. Seems that the original builder – Fisher-Price? – decided that someone in 1941 didn’t need an actual plug in a bathroom. The only outlet in the whole room was a single, non-polarized, non-grounded plug IN the florescent light fixture. You can’t make this stuff up, readers.

There was also no fan, as evidenced by the 70 years of mildew built up in the shower. Bleaching + Killz + 2 layers of paint seemed to get it. But Bob solved that future problem by installing a ceiling exhaust fan, which required re-wiring half the house, including the front door light. Why wouldn’t someone put half a house – two bedrooms, a bathroom and a front door – all on the same circuit? Seems perfectly logical to me. It was all worth the $500 I spent on the GFCI outlet, which is not attached to the light fixture anymore. Now I can plug in all sorts of three-pronged appliances into it. It doesn’t even trip the breaker.

More later. Take a break. Go to the bathroom. I’ll be back in a bit.


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