A Day in the Life…

Writing 101 assignment, Day 14: Recreate a single day

Saturday, October 3.

11 am. Hubby and I decide it’s time.

We’ve been planning an overhaul of the downstairs bathroom for almost a year. The new cabinet and toilet have been sitting in my kitchen (in boxes) for about a month, waiting until we completed more urgent projects (like repairing areas where leaks occurred). The floor is a bit soft; we’ll have to replace some of the plyboard.

He removes the toilet that refuses to work properly. We find that the previous owner (PO) never installed a wax ring. Now the soft floor makes more sense.

For those of you not prone to replacing your own ceramic thrones, the wax ring fits under the toilet and prevents water from escaping. Without it, water had been slowly leaking for years.

First person to spot the new place for the toilet gets three points. (Don’t worry, it’s not permanent. We’re going to pot a mum inside it and put it in our neighbors’ yard. They’re going to be thrilled.)


We remove the mirror and pull the sink top from the cabinet. It looks pretty good in these pictures, but it’s actually falling apart and still smells like smoke inside. (The PO left a lot of tar and nicotine behind.) It was white; I painted it chocolate when we moved in, hoping to forestall the bathroom remodel until we had settled.


We pull the cabinet out. That thing is darn heavy. Note the “Danger, Construction Zone” sign. Guess whose handiwork and you get another three points. Ignore the spelling; he was in a rush.


We find decent white vinyl underneath the gross stained vinyl.


It’s important to score the sheet rock heavily before demolition; this allows a clean break and causes less mess.


The boy is thrilled to hear that he MAY kick holes in the wall. Just this once.


See that grey pipe? That has to go. It (and its fittings) have caused seven leaks in the last year. We’ve re-piped most of the house but waited to replace these until now.


We pull up the top layer of vinyl to find the PO’s lack of wax ring use has caused a really nasty mess. The toilet leaked under the top layer of vinyl. UGH.


This is the moment we bring the kids in for a look. And an object lesson.

Hubby says, “The guy who used to live here decided not to bother with a $5 part. Because of that, the floor is damaged. We have to spend a LOT more than $5 to replace the floor. The directions for installing a toilet say to use a wax ring, but he decided not to follow the directions. His decision to ignore the rules is costing us a lot of time and money.

When we don’t follow the rules, it affects someone. Sometimes it affects us. Other times it impacts somebody else. And SOMEtimes, we don’t feel the effects right away. This guy actually owns his own contracting business, so he knows how to install a toilet properly—he just didn’t do it.

We know a lot of people, and many of them ask my advice about who can fix their house. After this, I’ll be letting them know that they should not use the guy who built our house. So, even though he made the decision to ignore the directions years ago, that choice will start to affect him now.”


The kids peer at the damaged floor.


“You know how we always talk about following directions and we make you correct anything you don’t do properly? This is why. We want you to know how to follow the rules and directions in small things as a child, so you’ll be able to do it with the big stuff when you grow up. Does that make sense?”

(The floor in the below picture was so saturated, it crumbled when Hubby pressed it. I wonder…if the floor had collapsed while someone was sitting, would that cause a toilet-phobia? Is that even a thing? I’ll have to look that up in the DSM-V…)


Our girl nods. “So when I grow up and build a house, I will remember to put the wax ring on before the toilet.”

This is not exactly what we were looking for, but yes, that’s an important step when constructing a home, so we’ll call it a win for now. Next time they have to re-write spelling words in a legible manner or pick up the trash after forgetting to close the lid (to keep out the dogs), there will be another “wax ring” discussion.


Hubby cuts out the rotten sub-floor (above), then reinforces with 2x4s (below). Note the vinyl (above) is gone (below). That was me. The installers used staples all around the edge. In order to remove the vinyl, I had to pull the staples out with needle-nose pliers. All fifty-million of them. (Slight hyperbole. Slight.)


He cuts a new piece of plywood. I think it looks like that game everyone is playing…Cornhole.

Great. This is what I’ll think of the next time someone suggests a toss tournament. Because…ha ha ha cornhole. When you eat corn it doesn’t always…never mind. Stop looking at me like that.


While the floor is open, Hubby drops down into the crawl space to replace the pipes. I push the pipe through the holes and he connects it.

As we work, one of the kids uses the bathroom upstairs and flushes the toilet…re-pressurizing the pipes. Thankfully, it’s clean water, but still—Hubby gets soaked.


We install the new piece of sheet rock.


I start layering the plaster.


I use fiberglass mesh tape to cover the gap on the wall and paper tape in the corners. In the corner on the right, you can see a trick I figured out when we had to make repairs in the boy’s room: remove the old paper tape first. This leaves a cavity the exact size needed, requiring less plaster work.


The key to seamless plaster work is several layers, wider each time.


Hubby installs the final floor covering before we put in the new vinyl.


Done for the night. I’ll sand tomorrow, then add one final, wider layer.


Our son re-purposes the commode box into a submarine, complete with hinged top, gun turret and front window. Of course.


So, there’s our day. In under 24 hours, we pulled out and replaced the damaged wall, flooring and pipes.

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. —Dr. Seuss

How was your day?


All photos: Casey Alexander


About Casey

Adoption = my life. I'm determined to give my kids the chance they deserve. Adoption isn't always easy. I promise, you're not alone in this. Join me at - we're in this together.

Posted on October 4, 2015, in Bath, Blogging101, DIY, Home Renovation, Writing is fun, Writing101 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Nice work on this post and a redoing your bathroom.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow! And you even had time to blog it all!! What an amazing life lesson! I think I may use it. 🙂 Thanks for this!


  3. Fantastic read 🙂 informative at the same time as making me laugh and ‘yuk!’ all at the same time 🙂 What a busy day you had saturday! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice work there -plumbing, plastering and life lessons. couldn’t ask for more 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I like how you took the bathroom project and made it a life lesson.

    Liked by 1 person

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