My husband loves the reality television shows about Alaska. He pointed out to me one day that a means of survival requires a dependence on the good will of neighbors. Neighbors are essential and crucial to get repairs done or get help when you need it when you’re in the Alaskan frontier. I’ve never been to Alaska, but, in theory, I think it would be great if we all used our skills and talents. Bartering seems to be a thing of the past, yet seems so ideal were we all at a standpoint to survive. Now, I know this wasn’t a matter of survival, but it was the Alaskan way of neighbors that struck me with this, and when someone says, “Hey, I need help…” actually having the abilities or talents to make a difference makes a person feel like there’s a real purpose in life even if it’s not that big.
I was contacted recently by a friend who needed a little assistance. About a year ago, a bathroom project was started and was not completed. With family coming for the holidays, having the bathroom finished was ideal.
Since my friend doesn’t have a fully stocked hardware store nearby, I picked up a bunch of items at my local hardware store and was fortunate to have the right things on hand. I loaded up tools for the job with the hope I had everything I needed.
The toilet had not been put together or installed. The vanity had been put together, but didn’t have a faucet installed. The fixtures in the shower weren’t installed either. I actually didn’t expect everything to take as long as it did, but I’m a slow perfectionist, and I wanted to make sure they had everything together. I knew the friend wanted to learn too, and I struggled between wanting to teach and wanting her to have a running bathroom. I know the latter was probably very important, and I only had a few hours to make it happen.
The friend had hand picked each and every thing in the bathroom, and it was SO CLOSE to done. She worked with a budget and had a vision of the look she wanted. She was able to keep the previous shower pan which was great. I was amazed at her vision because, once everything was installed, it was easy to see how her ideas all pulled together in such a great way.
She had put together the vanity prior to my arrival. When I arrived, the vanity was in the kitchen (beautiful pick, by the way), and we used a furniture pad to slide it to the bathroom. This is a technique I use frequently due to spinal injuries. It makes doing what you want to do so much easier. It becomes challenging to move heavy items, and I love that I keep furniture pads on hand. I can’t tell people enough what a difference it makes in my world, and they have come in handy so many times for items you wouldn’t expect.
I installed the faucets she picked out and a toilet she had chosen. I picked up a new kind of toilet seal (instead of the traditional wax seal) because I used it once in a problematic area, and it was spectacular. It also allows you to reset the toilet if you need to do so. Since I hadn’t initially seen how the tile was installed, buying this one item was worth the cost just in case there was a height adjustment with due to tile. I knew it was something that would also permit the toilet to be reset if needed which is great if you are new to toilet installation.
The vanity needed a P-trap, and, for some odd reason, I actually had extra water lines at my house that worked in her vanity. I still have no clue as to why I had so many, but there were two that were the perfect lengths. I was fortunate that one of the P-traps I picked up fit perfectly, and the stars were aligned regarding the vanity and the plumbing. Sometimes, a person buys a vanity, and the back has to be cut or a shelf has to be cut to fit the plumbing. In this case, she decided to discard the flimsy back of the vanity and the shelving was perfect.
She wanted to do the caulking, and I gladly handed the task over to her. I hate caulking. It’s just something that I can’t stand doing, so I’m more than happy to have her do it. We had to trouble shoot some of the shower problems because the attachments weren’t evenly sticking through the tile, and there was no give to make things even. She went to the hardware store and found some longer screws to make it fit. Another problem encountered was that things were missing from the packaged toilet to install the tank. She found a replacement kit at the hardware store as well so the toilet could be completed. I had purchased a universal water line for the toilet, and it worked with great success. I figured the universal water line was a safe bet since I wasn’t sure what her measurements were and knew it would be adaptable.
In the end, I installed the toilet and the new vanity with the faucets and P-trap. She finished up installing the handles today. We both installed different pieces in the shower. I think she did a great job in her selection of materials. Once the vanity was installed, all the colors pulled together. She was also very good with the spacial relations. Although she might not feel like a handy person, something tells me she’s going to be installing some new plumbing soon. She is permitting me to use her photos of our work, and I just wanted everyone to see her style. I’m so happy that the bathroom they waited on for a year is finally finished. I see they parked the toothbrushes on the vanity as of this morning!